Friday, September 11, 2009


Tonight I'm remembering another whose life ended too soon...not as a baby, but too soon nonetheless. Tonight I'm remembering Maile Rachel Hale, lost in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, at the age of 26. She was a sweet, inquisitive, lovely woman and a good friend. We met during a semester-long maritime studies program in college. She loved the ocean, Hawaii (where she grew up), her family and friends, and chocolate. Although she majored in chemistry, she won an award for a history paper she wrote during our semester, and I admired that. In 2001, she was living in Boston, but just happened to be attending a conference at the World Trade Center that September day.

I've learned a lot about Maile since she died, remembering her with others and hearing their stories of her. She wasn't my closest friend from that semester - we were all close, in the way of people who share an experience that can't be explained without having been lived - but our friendship was certainly still evolving when she died. And that's what breaks my heart the most - the lost future. That's what we mourn when lives end too soon. Her future, and our future together, as friends, continuing to learn about each other and watch each other's lives unfold. I wrote something to that effect in the guest book at her memorial service, and it's even more obvious to me now after losing Sierra. The 9/11 anniversary has been particularly hard this year.

I miss you, Maile. I wish you were still here; I know you would have done great things on this earth. I wish you could see me now, still working with the ugly fish you liked to tease me about. I wish you could know that the boyfriend you approved of is now my husband and see our children. Maybe you do know. Maybe right now you are holding Sierra, both of you whole and happy and hoping that I am remembering you with smiles as well as tears. I hope that you are, and I do cherish the happy memories.

Maile's memorial service ended with Dar Williams' song "Better Things." Here's a bit of it:

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on their way.

Here's hoping that the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead,
And somehow happiness will find you.
Forget what happened yesterday,
I know that better things are on their way.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The seasons are very definitely changing here. Sometimes the transition from summer to fall is a subtle one. This year it seems to have happened overnight. Suddenly the air is much cooler, the humidity and mosquitos are gone, and the leaves are already starting to turn. And the calendar says September. Already? How did that happen?

This is a month of contrasts for me...It started with the shockwave through the whole babylost blogging community of the loss of sweet little Jet. That one I didn't even see coming. Next we have September 11. My world was turned completely upside down on 9/11/01...and I'll say more about that tomorrow. Then September 14, Austin's third birthday and our seventh wedding anniversary. Austin is old enough to anticipate his birthday with excitement this year. September 15, one of my closest friends is moving halfway across the country. She has been one of my lifelines this summer, going to lunch with me once a week, letting me talk about Sierra as much as I want, crying with me, saying all the right things, just the best. We'll still talk on the phone, of course, but it just isn't the same. On September 26 I have a reunion for a program I did in college; the people I met there are still some of my closest college friends. I'm really looking forward to seeing them, but if Sierra were still alive I wouldn't be going. And that brings us right up to September 27.

September 27 was Sierra's due date. Strangely enough, it was also Austin's, and I just can't stop thinking about the difference between this time in 2006 and now. How full and happy I was then, how empty and sad now. I should be just about to have a baby, getting ready for her to be here, for everything to change. Instead, I plod along, struggling to understand that nothing is changing, that she is gone and always will be. I feel burned out at work; I should be just about to start maternity leave, but instead I'm working through endless piles of the same kinds of data. All around me people are going back to school, starting new jobs, making changes and I'm just...stuck. Stuck longing for a baby I will never hold again. I miss you so much, baby girl. I just can't move past this right now - how much I miss her, how she should be in my belly, about to be born. I have no pregnant belly, no baby, and it's just so wrong.

Sierra was born on July 3rd - high summer here. We spent all of June worrying about her, all of July and August mourning her. I thought summer was her season, and it is, but the start of fall is hitting me hard. This should have been the season of her birth, the season of bonding with her outside of the womb. I guess if summer is her season; fall is her "should have been" season.

This sounds so scattered...and I really can't come up with any way to make this anything larger or deeper than simply a lament that she isn't here with me. But I'm going to let it stand, because this is where I find myself right now.