Thursday, July 18, 2013

Soul Mates

Trying to explain to the kids, especially to Dominic, that Cora is gone has been one of the hardest aspects of all of this. Tonight we read from two beautiful children's books that attempt to explain some part of what happens after life. Dom listened intently, but in the end he fell to pieces and just wailed out question after question, like, "How will we ever see Cora again?" and, "Who will take care of her now? She's too little to be on her own!" The questions were torture to him, and they certainly were to me.

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.


  1. My heart aches.
    Perhaps you can tell Dom that he can see his beautiful sister every night in his dreams.
    I only know you through your blog. You and your family have touch my life more than you can imagine.
    Thank You.

  2. Hi Michele,
    It has been a while since we have seen each other. I always loved your visits to Jason's office. I have been so touched by your blog (which I only recently found out about). Working on reading it all now.You have such gift and I love seeing so many people moved by it. I truly feel that everything happens for a reason and you will make it. I am a scorpion (Nov 5) and I feel your previous description was spot on for my life as well. I was bawling when I read that she drifted off for the last time in Jason's arm. Trying to visualize that just sent me over the edge. Please know that you, Jason and Margie and Gene are all in my thoughts. Love to all.

  3. I've been following this through a mutual friend, and I read this last post with my child on my chest. As we were reading it, "can you feel the love tonight" from the lion king started playing on pandora. My heart swells with love for your daughter and your family. Thank you for sharing your world with my family, and many other familes out there.

    My heart is with you.

  4. Wow, what amazing children you have been blessed to have in your life. What phenomenal little boy. Peace, love and light being sent your way from CT.

  5. Oh, bless him. What a sweet and gentle soul.

  6. This makes my heart break- to hear that you have to try to understand this yourself, and explain it to two little ones as well. I pray that Cora does her magic for your entire family.

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  8. Dom's eyes fixed upon Cora's; Cora's eyes fixed upon Dom' each picture Dom and Cora are so obviously, deeply and forever connected. So beautiful.

    Like another reader posted above, as I was rocking my baby to sleep last night, "Can you feel the love tonight" was playing on her CD player. I had rocked my daughter to sleep to this song, for what feels like hundreds of times before, but this time it brought tears to my eyes. As she was nursing herself to sleep, she touched my face and immediately my mind jumped to the pictures of Cora doing the same to you. For a quick moment, it was as if Cora's magical love had worked its way into my daughter's room-a total stranger's room, all the way across the country. Thank you Cora for reminding me again and again to stop and feel the love.

  9. How can you read this without crying?

    1. not possible. but, then, that's true of each and every entry....even the ones with good news. they're just all so moving!