I stood in front of Sasha's grave and placed a box of Pringles with chip fragments and stones from Mont Royal and said hullo. Looked at the trees above and other graves, I was not at peace. One day we talk to doctors in NICU about surgical plans and just over two years later we are standing by her patch of grass. From darkness to light. Risk and fear banished. Sleeping in 1-3 hour stretches until Sasha held her own bottle. Laughing 10,000 times with each of her laughs, cooing over every tiny growth, holding ours breath for catheterizations and anaesthetics and surgeries. Our life orbited Sick Kids Hospital until hope turned inside out to a wish for a peaceful goodbye.

We had 744 days to love Sasha and they were the longest, happiest and saddest days of our lives. It is too soon to be talking to her bones.

Sasha was buried in a new section of the cemetary set aside for Temple Emanu-El members. This Reform shul welcomed our family to Canada and gave 4 brothers learning and adventures. My visits were infrequent during university and then we were married in 2001 by Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld in a beautiful service full of light and music. He turned us slowly to look at each person in the room and recognise them recognizing us on this day of commitment. Sasha reconnects us, her last home was our first community.

Where is Sasha's temple out in the world? She goes with us where ever we go.

Temple Emanu-El's new Rabbi Debra Landsberg is an American who finds our polite disagreements curious and wants to reach out and find all of her congregation's passions. At Yom Kippur she told the story of Bruria who loses her two sons as if losing a valuable left in their care that they must return and it was as if the Rabbi was talking to me directly in the last row. This story resonates strongly with parents of children who die unexpectedly though Sasha's death was not inexplicable.

The loss of any child is an enormity. Their absence is everywhere. Living with a medically fragile is so busy and full of gratitude for each moment that when they leave this energy must continue its journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment