Monday, September 22, 2008

"My First Son"

Two weeks in a row, the NYT Fashion & Style section produces a piece deserving of mention here.

This beautiful "Modern Love" essay is "My First Son, a Pure Memory" by David Hlavsa.

A clip:

So I typed out an e-mail message, brief and plain, explaining: Lisa had been pregnant, the child had died and we took some comfort from the belief that all he had ever known was love. I stared at the screen for a long time.

Then I clicked on the top of the e-mail program and addressed the message to everyone at the college: faculty members, students, staff, people I knew well, people I didn’t know at all. I had a fleeting thought that this might be inappropriate, but then I pressed “send.” It felt like a form of protest.

I wasn’t really looking for a response. I wanted just to get the news out; I couldn’t bear to repeat it over and over. And although my department’s administrative assistant did field a few complaints about receiving something so personal by a general message (“Who is this guy?”), most apparently understood or at least excused my gesture.

AND then came the outpouring: for weeks after, people I barely knew would come into my office, gently shut the door and burst into tears. I heard stories of single and serial miscarriages, pregnancies carried nearly to full term, stillbirths — all the lost, lost children. Grief hauled about, and nowhere to put it down. Some said they had never told anyone; who would understand?

Deacon Greg and American Papist -- both via Amy.

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