Friday, February 19, 2010


A few days ago Sarah asked to see a photo (which doesn't exist) of me holding Jane the day she died. See, I had explained to her that day, when she asked how it happened, that Jane had died while she was in my arms, that she hadn't been alone. In classic preschooler fashion, weeks later she pulled her question out of wherever she'd been seasoning it and sprung it on me while I was helping her brush teeth. Or some equally meaningful moment. Anyway, there is no such picture. But I did take some photos of Jane earlier that morning -- I'm not going to post them here (honestly, people, I can't share EVERYTHING with you), but I didn't want to regret not having a last picture of her.

(After I took my impromptu photos, the hospital social worker stopped by and asked if I wanted a volunteer from an organization that does professional photography after the death of a child. At first I said no -- it just felt ghoulish -- but then I changed my mind. And it turned out there was no one available anyway. Which was FINE. I don't need a [for lack of a better term] death portrait. But so many families don't have the time with their children that we had; this organization could be providing people with the only pictures they'll ever have of their kids. It's heartbreaking.)

So I showed the photos to Sarah this afternoon. She wanted to know if Jane was dead in the pictures and I said no, but that she looked pretty much the same in the pictures as she had after she died. (I figured that was why Sarah had been asking -- she wanted to see if Jane looked any different when she was dead.) So Sarah's all, "Aww!" and making cute noises over the many pictures of Jane on my phone and then flipping to the good stuff -- pictures of herself -- while I'm looking at these photos of our girl from just a few days earlier, when she was awake and alert and herself, and the tears just wouldn't stop. Sarah asked what was wrong, I told her I was sad about Jane, then she said she was sad, too, and we cried a little. And then Sarah asked me to read Tomie de Paola's Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, and I leaked some more surreptitious tears.

After dinner, Tom was putting Sarah to bed and I was doing the dishes and rocking out to the Emotions' "Best of My Love" (shut up; I learned the Hustle in grade school gym. I'm OLD) and the Go-Go's (SHUT UP), and it felt just as good to be doing my embarrassing white girl dancing as I cleaned the kitchen as it had to cry over the pictures I can't bring myself to delete off my phone even though there are backups on the computer.

I guess this is how it goes. Life and stuff. We keep on dancing even after the tears.


Danielle said...

I think of you, Tom, and Sarah every day. More than once a day, in fact. Mostly, I think about Sarah. Your description of her behavior is so very much the Sarah I got to know while working in her classroom. It sounds like she is doing well, which is a testament to how well you have explained Jane's loss with her. For lack of a better word, I would like to congratulate you on your remarkable parenting...Congratulations don't seem appropriate...but please keep up your spirit and faith. Jane is still at Simmons.

artandsoul said...

:) Life and stuff.

You are a remarkable and wonderful family. I, too, think of you all several times a day and read here every day.

And continue to hold you all in my thoughts and prayers.

(now there's a soundtrack)

Brandon and Lisa said...

I have been one of your invisible readers for quite some time now, and just had to pipe in today... I am one of the hundreds of volunteer photographers for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep ( and I am so, so sorry that no one was available to take pictures of your sweet Jane. I'm sure you have your own special pictures and I would, like you, never be able to delete them. I am still praying for your family and will continue to. May God bless you and bring you peace and joy in the coming months. lisa

Rasp said...

I'm glad you can dance even along with the tears.
(I learned the hustle in *high-school* gym.) And I think Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs is just the loveliest gentle book.

Linda said...

For the record, the Go-Go's rock.

Seriously, I'm another invisible reader. I've followed your blog for a while and want you to know what an amazing person I think you are.

I keep you and your family in my thoughts daily.

mommatosena said...

Tia I am glad that you continue to grace us with your words while healing. Dancing with the tears is what you do and the slippery time will eventually be a little less slippery. I don't think you ever need to delete pics of your sweet Jane; Sarah will ask to see them in the oddest places in the oddest times so best to just be prepared. They are there for you too.

Write when and if you feel like it...I will still check daily even if you don't write for months in the hope of a quick update that "we are surviving" what we all imagine to be that a word??

Continued prayers for strength and healing...

AG Ambroult said...

HI Tia, I'm another invisible reader who landed on your blog after hearing Jane's story through a friend. I am struck by how you have managed to keep your sense of humor through all this. With each and every post I have read, I've chuckled AND shed a tear. You really have a way with words, and an impressive "voice". thanks for sharing so much of yourself.

Tasha said...

Just wanted you to know that you're still in my thoughts and prayers. And you will always be.

Gettysburg Mom said...

I'm sorry.