Nightmares and Dreams

So, my 2nd worst nightmare has come true. Judah is dead. That was scenario #1. Done and done. 2nd worst…forgetting. No one talks about him. We don’t have many pictures up. His room is gone. His things are in boxes in closets. It’s such a clean break. He was here and now he’s not. Maya won’t tell people she has a brother. Kali always does. People we meet now have no clue about him. They just think we have the girls. They have no clue how our son has shaped our lives. They have no clue we had a son. I remember meeting Kali’s teacher at the first parent teacher conference and some how things came up and she said we could always try for a boy. I remember there was a pause. My husband and I felt it–for sure. She had no clue. And I didn’t want to start crying, so I let it go. I wasn’t mad at her, but it’s tremendously hard to wake up each morning with a dead kid on your heart. She didn’t know. It’s just the way it is when you only have 2 of your 3 children physically present.

I have no idea how this will shake out with the girls. I know in my heart, that there is very little they remember about him. I don’t blame them, I can’t remember either. I had to take various meds to get to this point in my life, so that I am happy and obese-healthy and not require medication. It took lots of meds, talking and just plain desire to be ‘normal’ again. Desire to be normal. I want to be normal. I don’t want these girls to think I am completely off my rocker. I am slightly cra-cra (as the girls say), but what mother isn’t. I dream the girls will set goals, achieve them and be happy. We can’t stop what will happen in our lives. Cause and effect. We can hope to make the best choices. I hope they choose to remember their brother. Judah loved them and they loved him and that I will never forget.


Reflections, 1994

Forgive me, this is rambling and doesn’t make sense. Much like me, in person.¬† ūüôā

1994.¬† That was the year Kurt Cobain died. OJ was in the White Bronco.¬†Genocide in Rwanda. Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie??¬†¬†It was a big year, now that I am reflecting upon it.¬† I graduated high school and started college, much to the disappointment of my family.¬† Girls were to be married off to some man who would support them and make them into perfect little housewives. ICK.¬† The sourness and my disdain for those senitiments are very much, still real to me. Really.¬† I filled out my applications junior year as all my friends did. I stayed after and typed them up.¬† Seriously, typed the neatest type job I could. Google: typing. I called and got a ride home from my father who asked why I was late after school.¬† I told him I had been typing my application to Southern Illinois University. I said it very lightly, since I knew that SIU had a horrible reputation for partying.¬† I will never forget these conversations with my father.¬† He is not much of a talker, so anything he said was serious business.¬† At that time, he spoke as if he had a set number of words and he had to horde them, so that he wouldn’t run out and have nothing left for 40+ more years.¬† So, he says to me, ‘You’re not going there.’¬† Well, this was damn news to me.¬† I was an average student and loved science.¬† SIU had a great science department and I had to go. I had to get away from home. Later at dinner, we got into this more. I was in a tizzy because he said I couldn’t go and finally he broke down, I could attend the local community college if that’s what needed to happen.¬† I remember being so dissappointed with my parents.¬† I looked at them both. I looked at my dad and said, “You didn’t expect us to amount to much?” (I was referring to us, my older sister and myself.) And he looks at me and said, “No.”¬†

Dinner was over and I went to my room.

My sister did not attend college for long, as she was in the throws of a vicious case of morning sickness.  She was 18, freshly high school graduated and pregnant and unmarried.  (As was my mother, except for the high school graduation part and she was 17.)  So, the track record in my family was pretty shady. Nothing was expected from the women in our family, because the women had never done anything except get pregnant. I get it, the bar was very low set.  I got emense push back about furthering my education. I loved college, I found my groove there. It was great.  I had had one realtionship in high school.  He was a beautiful boy I was totally in love with, we had such great times together.  It was great really.  I refused to have sex with him, because I did not want to suffer the same fate of high school  pregnancy that befell my mother and sister.  That was not going to happen to me.  Not a chance. I wanted to have sex with him and him with me, but seeing how it was not gonna happen, eventually our relationship died out and I was crushed.  In college, I had so many crushes, but no relationships. This made for a sad time. I always had fun with my friends, but loneliness is a cruel companion.   My favorite song was The Earth Stopped Cold At Dawn, Hootie and the Blowfish.  (Back before Hootie was country.)  

Another reason to doubt me
Another teardrop falls
Can’t wait for a friend when loneliness calls
Another kiss in the basement
Pour salt on my tongue
No one cries for heros left unsung
Look at me when I’m talking to you
Look at me in the eyes
Then look away and tell me why…why
Another tasteless movie
Another kiss goodnight
Could be a dark oasis in my life
Another icon smashed to pieces
By yesterday’s romance
Another hated person no more chances
Look at me when I’m talking to you
Look at me in the eyes
Then look away and tell me why…why
Playin’ with a happy boy
A cold place for a man
Familiar faces in a foreign land
The hands kept spinning around the face
But the earth stopped cold at dawn
For a moment, then moved on
For a moment, then moved on…

I look back at those days, how sad I was to not have anyone in my life. How desperate I was. No support from my family, no partner in crime. And that was just the normal “growing up” period of my life.¬† Growing into the person I was gonna be.¬† You talk long hours with friends about what the world means and what we can do to help people.¬† What can we do to harness ourselves for others.¬† What can we do to make the world a better place.¬† Bill Clinton was just elected and it was like the second coming of Kennedy. My best friend and I would have a holiday party and everyone would have to bring a pair of gloves for Coats for Kids and year after year, they did.¬† I felt like we were doing something, even if it was small.¬† Some kids would have warm hands.

I can’t remember the first time I heard about the Dalai Lama.¬† I try really hard to remember, but it fails me.¬† Really it does. And that makes me sad, because with major life events, you want to remember them. But alas, nope.¬† I remembering using any extra money I had to buy books the Dalai Lama wrote or basic Buddhism books. It was fascinating.¬† It was not like anything I had grown up learning about.¬† Totally different perspective. It was so warm, inviting and non-mysterious. I instantly fell in love with it.¬† It was the best thing I have ever done for myself.¬† Understanding what the Buddha was teaching. Understanding not ‘the how’ we came to be, but how we were to go on and live this life we were given.¬† I lost friends and relatives.¬† People are so very close minded and afraid.¬† I was instantly stung but the losses. How could we be happy and friends one second, and then the second this comes into my life, (to give my life meaning and measure, and how essentially nothing had changed), but you were gone.¬† I could not reason why I was always being dumped, dropped–like a dead weight.

Look at me when I’m talking to you
Look at me in the eyes
Then look away and tell me why…why

The thing about it, I reflect back upon, is that I had no ill will towards the¬†‘stay at home mom’.¬† Just the fact that nothing else was expected or even encouraged in¬† my family. Women weren’t expected to produce anything but a home and family.¬† I resented that for a long long time. I am more than a broad mare and men’s property.¬† We all are more than that.¬† I am sad that violence against women is so pervasive in the world.¬† India, Pakistan…..ugh.¬† Malala is a bright light in that world. So, now that I have 2 girls to raise, how will we successfully raise them?¬† What is the definition of success. Happiness. Happiness is the definition no matter if the are stay at homers, doctors, janitors, lawyers, teachers, cocktail waitresses.¬† I just want them to be happy and that happiness is not what you accomplish in life, not in how smart you are, not in how much money you make, but in how you treat people and how you treat yourself.¬† At a very minimum, pledge to do no harm to others (or yourself) and happiness will be in your heart.

I believe the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.

Whether one believes in religion or not,

whether one believes in that religion or this religion,

we are all seeking something better in life.

So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…

The Dalai Lama

My favorite book:

How it began … Judah. and our parenthood.

At nine days of life, Judah showed signs of struggle.¬† He would not feed and spent¬†all day sleeping.¬† Sufficiently concerned, I called the pediatrician’s office to voice concerns.¬† Maya had been 6 weeks premature, and only weighing in at 3 pounds at birth.¬†¬†I had been vigilant ever since and with¬†each of the children.¬† Judah was not acting right for a supposed perfect ‘brand new’ newborn.¬† While on the phone with the nurse,¬†I took Judah’s temp.¬† 94.¬† Pause.¬†¬†I took it again. 94. Judah was ashen and 94 and not alert.¬†¬†I told the nurse¬†I was taking him to the ER.¬† Judah was packed up and rushed to the ER.¬† The ER was mostly a blur. I remember they couldn’t figure out the problem.¬† They told me they were going to do an LP. (lumbar puncture) I stayed in the room, but I probably didn’t have to.¬† Judah didn’t wake up, move, nothing.¬† I knew right then, he was seriously ill. No one, let alone a newborn baby would sit still like that for a LP.¬† That’s when I really began to worry.¬† Eventually they moved him to intermediate level of peds care.¬† He was not there but an hour or two and they moved him to the ICU……he had DIC. Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation…..this is when you bleed and clot at the same time.¬† This is very serious and Judah was critically ill.¬† By the next morning, we had a diagnosis.¬† DCM.¬† Dilated Cardiomyopathy.¬† As soon as the words were uttered, I was lost.¬† I understood everything the doctors were telling me.¬† I have a BS degree in Biology.¬† I understand. I knew I would never see him grow up.¬† I knew there was treatment…but no cure.¬† My beloved grandfather died of this disease when I was 10 years old. And up until I held baby¬†Judah in my arms, I grieved for him everyday. EVERYDAY.¬† He and I were very close and he was my greatest supporter.¬† I could do nothing wrong in his eyes and I needed that, since I was a constant disappointment in everyone else’s. So I was in utter shock, when my¬†days old son was given the same death sentence. I knew my grandfather’s DCM was caused by his over zealous regard for alcohol.¬† I saw the look in the doctors eyes. To have this terrible disease at birth, did not make the outcome any different.¬† He was going to die.¬† Not after me, like nature dictates. In my arms.¬† Of course there was a chance he could get better. But it was only a chance. And I felt that my whole life was leading to this moment.¬† Would it break in my favor or against me.¬† I always always felt like I would never give birth to a son.¬† This was something I just felt.¬† For the first 5 years of our marriage, any children seemed improbable.¬† We¬†even,¬†in the end saw a fertility specialist.¬†I took several months worth of medicine designed to stimulate my egg production.¬† Nothing.¬† We were too poor to go any further into IVF, etc…¬† If the pills didn’t work, we were done. The month after my last set of pills, we got pregnant for the third time.¬† The first 2 pregnancies were lost.¬† But this one….this one was staying!¬† Hooray!¬† At 6 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound produced surprise.¬† A healthy pregnancy was developing.¬† Two healthy pregnancies were developing.¬† WHAT?¬† 2 babies?¬† I was very shocked by this news. VERY.¬† I was considered high risk and so 2 weeks later, another ultrasound.¬† This time I took my husband and my mother in law.¬† One heartbeat had disappeared.¬† One remained.¬† Will this pregnancy stick??¬† I look back on it now and I should have just laid down on the hospital bed then. MAKE THIS BABY STICK. I knew this was my last chance.¬† I had so many ultrasounds, they have their own book. By 20 weeks, the baby had slowed down in growth and my fluid was low.¬† IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction)¬†and Oligohydramnios (low fluid).¬† I had puked my entire pregnancy. Everyday, twice a day, three times a day. In the Doritios bag on the way to work.¬† On the side of the road on the way back home. I never want to see puke again. The maternal-fetal specialist kept asking when I could stay home.¬† I was like ‘Never’, unless she was gonna pay my bills.¬† Finally at 31 weeks, she looked at my husband, “Take her home, pack some things, take her to lunch and go to the hospital.”¬† I was done.¬† Now I just had to lay and wait for the baby. 3 fun hospital weeks (Lord of the Rings marathon, I love you so) later it was done.¬† Baby needs to come out momma, you are doing her no good.¬† Child was supposedly 4 or 5¬†pounds and I wasn’t doing her any favors.¬† 34th week was D-day. So, on January 2, 2007, by way of C-section fame, ¬†Miss Maya Emerson Kirkham entered our world at 3 pounds, 1.2 ounces, 6 weeks early. She was perfect in everyway…well….except she had not one ounce of body fat.¬† Not one ounce.¬† She was so perfectly healthy, that from the delivery suite they took her to the normal nursery!¬† My OB was sewing me back up when my husband told me.¬† I asked if she was OK, since all mothers know, it’s our fault if the children aren’t well……he said she was perfect and going to the nursery.¬† How much did she weigh I asked, since I had been hospital ridden for 3 weeks drinking awful Carnation Instant Breaksfast shakes and my parent’s homemade Christmastime caramels.¬† 3 whole pounds. (FYI,¬†a bag of sugar is 4 pounds.)¬† I have never been so mad in my life. She was supposed to be double that!¬† But she was perfect and I had no reason to complain.

I was so damn happy we had a child. We had a child and it was alive and fine.

Never had I been so happy and so scared.



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2012 London


Hey Jude is one of those songs. It is a classic. It is long song at 7 minutes, 11 seconds. THE ultimate karaoke song. Many consider it to be the Beatles #1 song. It has been chosen to close the London 2012 opening ceremonies tonight, performed live by Sir Paul McCartney. 44 years after its release, it has been selected to help open these games, uplift participating nations (and the world watching) and inspire 15,000 athletes. Now, that is a song with staying power. Sir Paul should be proud of his beautiful song. I will most likely weep and weep and weep as this song reminds me of Judah. I’m sure people will be inspired and infused with energy. I will be emotional and drained when again I am reminded at who is gone and missing. What a sweet and special boy. I love you my Judah. The world would be much nicer and beautiful if you had been in it longer.

Judah I hear you!

I hear you my beautiful boy! 

I plugged my earphones into my phone, placed my locked phone into my pocket, put my ear bud into my ear and …….’Hey Jude’ was playing.¬† I had not turned any music on…it just did it by itself!¬† I was so startled, I dropped my phone as I was taking it out of my pocket.¬† The music stopped playing and the history has no note of the song being played………….Hmmmmm

I hear you Judahman.  I Miss You Everyday, Everyhour, Everysecond.

Hey Jude – The Beatles,