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