[I feel like I’ve had too many death posts of late; I apologize, but it's the order of the day.]
I don’t use profanity; the gemara is very clear about how repellent it is when a person cannot control his tongue, and uses his gift of speech for base purpose. Presumably, the same applies to the keyboard. So I won’t say what’s on my mind.
And there’s nothing meaingful to say, anyway. What would you say?
What do you to someone who carries a baby to term, only to discover upon birth that it is not viable? What do you say when you stand there in the NICU and look at a baby, born yesterday, that will not see tomorrow’s sunrise? What do you say afterward, as the body lies, still, on a table designed for serving up life and joy and celebration?
Forget what you say to the family, to the mother. There is nothing to say; you’re just there.
But what do you say to yourself in order to shut out the image, so that when you look at your own happy children you don’t see those closed eyes, the miniature fist that should be clenched, not lax?
What do you say to calm your mind, so that when you look in the mirror you are not awash with guilt for having been spared this calamity?
What do you say to relax your nerves so that every pregnant woman doesn’t suddenly seem to be a disaster in the making, so that when you finally drift off tonight – eyes closed like the baby, don’t you know - you won’t see visions of what you saw today?
And what do you say to others, to people you meet who waste their breath and time and happy moments on turf wars and pride and who-did-what-to-whom? Or to people who have done nothing wrong, beyond being concerned with a passing, comparatively trivial matter at time when you are enveloped in this?
I know pediatricians, hospitalists, NICU personnel; they see this more than I do. I want to ask them, but I don’t want to know the answer. I know many, too many people who have endured this personally and managed to live life, sometimes birthing more children, sometimes adopting, sometimes not, but finding a way to survive.
I don’t want to know that you can’t learn to live with it. But I certainly don’t want to know that you can learn to live with it.