Sometimes there are so painfully few answers.
I have tried to tell Dominic that Cora is no longer sick, that she's so free and so happy now, and that she is always around us even though we can never see her again. But all I feel is helpless. These concepts are basically inconceivable to me, a grown woman. How could my four-and-a-half-year-old possibly understand and accept these ideas, ideas which really are so fundamentally unacceptable?
So mostly I just say, "I know buddy. It's just so very, very sad."
Dominic and Cora were a perfect pair. Dom used to tell me he was going to marry Cora. Cosette was going to marry a more socially acceptable choice -- her little friend, Wyatt -- but Dom was going to marry Cora. That way, he said, they could always be together. One night a month or so ago, he suddenly burst into tears and said, "Mama, I'm afraid Cora is going to die before I can marry her." That memory hurts me tonight.
I remember the first night Dominic came to visit Cora at UCSF. He had met her before, but this time she was a couple of days old, and she was already intubated and had central lines and all other manner of tubes and cords. He leaned up over her little bed, touched her forehead, and said before anything else, "She's so beautiful."
I've always feared that if something happened to Cora, Dominic would take it the hardest. They are my two oldest souls, so deeply feeling, so deeply connected. But I absolutely must believe that he will be okay. That they both will be. That their wise old souls will have some way to make sense of this, a way that supersedes my limited abilities.
Monday when the kids came to see Cora for what was the last time, Dominic and Cosette both crawled up in her crib and laid next to her. Cosie did what she always did: tried to bury Cora, one stuffed animal at a time, repeating, "She wants this one!" over and over again. And Dom did what he always did. He looked Cora right in the eyes, and he saw her completely and fully, beyond her body's failures, and he adored her.
One of the children's books we read tonight speaks about how when people love each other, an invisible string runs between them. That those people are connected, no matter how far apart they may travel, and it even connects them in death. It says that if you think of a person connected to the people she loves, and then everyone that those people love being connected to even more people that they love, and on and on, it becomes easy to see that none of us is alone.
How beautifully true in the world as I see it tonight. Cora has left the world with so many invisible strings -- far more than I could have ever dreamed -- that there must be a fine and intricate web stretching far across this earth. And I see that strong web just inches beneath Dom's feet, a gift from Cora, ready to catch him if need be.
I am asking Cora tonight to work her magic on Dom's soul, to do what she always did, which was to make people feel better. I know she can do that from wherever she may be tonight.