Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Can't I?

This morning on my way to drop the car off to get repaired, I heard a story on NPR about the flu shot, about how much more the manufacturers had been able to make this year and how widely it is being distributed. I thought about late last fall when Hudson got her H1N1 vaccine—we had to go to two different sites across the city on different dates four weeks apart. Both times, she cried, hard, but not for long. Today I thought about how vaccine days are one of those times when a parent is most a parent—having to endure watching your child in pain, maybe even holding her arm or leg still for the shot, but knowing that it is for your sweet baby’s own good. That is love. I would do anything to be taking Hudson in for a flu shot this week, holding her arm still for the nurse, comforting her when it was all over.  I cried the rest of the way to the dealership.

When today’s mail arrived, included was the annual Friends of the National Zoo calendar. Last year’s calendar was a staple of Hudson’s afternoon fun. I kept it on a bottom shelf in the kitchen and she would pull it out and leaf through it, tearing a page every once in a while just for fun and putting the small pieces of torn paper in the trash. I remember when we joined the zoo last fall. We got a coupon for a free stuffed panda bear. On our next trip, I took Hudson to one of the gift shops and got her little panda. She loved it. We kept it in her bed—it was one of two bears I tucked under her arms at night when she went to sleep. We brought it to the hospital, but not until after she was already in a coma. I never dreamed when I made the trip to the ER that I would need it. I never expected to stay longer than a few hours. What I would give for another trip to the zoo, another torn page in the calendar, another night to tuck that panda bear in.  As I thumbed through this year’s calendar, I cried. 

Tonight, I was watching some dumb movie while eating dinner and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” played in the final scene. Not the Iz version we played as part of the memorial service slideshow, but it doesn’t really matter. While I guess I won’t regret choosing that song as part of the soundtrack of the slideshow—it was a perfect song in many ways—it is sad that it is associated with such a heartbreaking memory. I remember one friend who said she heard it on the way to work one day and smiled to think of Hudson. I know I will get to that point, too. But right now, I can only cry as I think upon these words:

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh, why can’t I?   

Why can’t I?


  1. I will never forget the haunting sound of your friend playing it on his musical saw. Thinking of you, as always.

  2. We played the Iz version as our wedding song. The next time I heard it was at Hudson's memorial. It will forever evoke incongruous emotions & tears for me, but with love as the core.

    Love to you,

  3. I wish...I wish...and I'm sorry.
    Holding you in my thoughts tonight.

  4. I wish it for all of us sweet mamma....

    I can picture you imagining Hudson holding her panda.. and my heart aches for you because all that is there is a memory. I wish I had better words to comfort you and lift you up in support and strength. All I can say tonight is that I completely understand... and that the injustice of it all strikes me every day.

    Thinking of you-
    love and grace- Leslie

  5. Patti Labelle's version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow slays me everytime. There is something about that song that is final yet hopeful.

    A Million Hugs Your Way,

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  7. That is our wedding song as well. When Craig and I heard it at Hudson's service, we gripped each other's hand a little tighter and smiled. I hope we all find the place along our journey where troubles melt like lemon drops. Damn those bluebirds for already being there... show offs...

  8. I love the Iz version of that song, which I have on my ipod. When my son was an infant we would dance and sing to that song. It always made me cry because it reminded me of how fleeting life is, how fleeting my time with my infant son was. The paradox of parenting is that you don't want your babies to grow up, but then again, you really do. My grandma always tells me when I ask how she is doing, "Oh Erica...don't grow old...well I suppose the alternative isn't very good either."

    I wish your biggest trauma today was taking her in for her flu shot and then watching her proudly show her daddy the Elmo bandaid she got. I wish your biggest heartache today was cleaning out her drawers and putting away her outgrown clothes and shaking your head at the memories going into the box, but knowing that her growth is good and she needs room for her new fall clothes. I wish your bluebird was on this side of the rainbow.

    Wishing you love and peace.

  9. One day you will smile through your tears when you hear it. Love you so.