Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Today marks the 44th birthday of my still born brother. When my mom was still alive my sister and I would have made sure to send a bouquet of white flowers to my parents (if we weren't with them at the time). We didn't have many other rituals to mark the day - when we were little my sister and I knew about the brother we never had, my mom sometimes  told us little snippets, but that was about it.

Only later did I understand why she reacted to things the way she did. She thought it was ridiculous when in films / TV shows women in labor would be screaming (my dad had asked her not to scream when she went in to the L&D room to deliver her son while he had to wait in the hallway - she didn't scream when she had me or my sister either and delivered all three children without epidural or other pain medication. I had M. Gourmand without epidural too and I think my screams were heard on the entire L&D floor and I don't know how I would have managed without...); when she hurt herself she would say "I've faced  bigger fires before" and wouldn't complain about it;  she would tell us to 'enjoy life' before getting pregnant - feeling she and my dad had been too young (they were in their early twenties) and to 'green' to face those doctors with their horrible bedside manners that first time around (and probably even a feeling of mother's guilt that she might have been able to change the outcome had she been more assertive).

Since she died, don't really know how to celebrate this day with my dad. Anything that refers to the time with my mom expressed in the presence of his new wife still seems to make him nervous, as if she wouldn't be able to deal with his past (or he just doesn't know yet how to fit everything into his head and heart yet). I just sent him a text message to let him know I haven't forgotten. I thought that would be it, but now that I'm writing this I've decided to ask my sister (who is with them in their house in the South of France this week) to buy a small white bouquet (or gather some white wildflowers if that's easier) for my dad to remember his son.


areyoukiddingme said...

I think the continuation of the bouquet is a great idea. You don't have to say anything; your dad will know what it means; and your brother will be remembered.

Fran said...

I agree, the little traditions should be kept going. Much love, Fran

Valery said...

Privately wondering why your father would have asked your mother not to scream... I suppose the waiting outside is a time/cultural thing, and hard to understand here and now.
I will water my white remembrance rose for your brother now.
Hope it will survive the heatwave we had.

St Elsewhere said...

That idea of giving the bouquet to your Dad, even though your Mum is not there, is a brilliant one. He may not be comfortable saying it in front of his new wife, but his past is not wiped away. And there is a son, who is HIS son, who he still thinks of. I think that if spirits could feel, your mother would be very touched by your gesture.

I can't teach my family, and I will never teach my family to do anything in this regard, but what I started to do when L's first birthday came about is something I will do for the rest of my life. It will stay.

Maybe your Dad asked your Mum to not scream because it would have made him very uncomfortable, but Hats off to your mum for actually not screaming. It would need a lot of reserve to be that controlled.

St Elsewhere said...

Is it customary to give white flowers for condolence or was there something specific about this (your mum liking white flowers or something like that?)>

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I like what AYKM suggests...