Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | January 19, 2010

11 year-old memories…

It’s amazing how memories are frozen in your mind; how specific moments surrounding an incident are remembered so clearly. Eleven years ago tomorrow (January 20th), we lost our first son. While much of that time remains a blur, there are certain things I haven’t forgotten – random acts of kindness, random events, random thoughts that crossed my mind…

Random acts of kindness…

  • Just a few hours after Elad died, I was standing outside the hospital entrance and ran into one of the young doctors. He’d not only treated Elad in the ICU, he had also been especially friendly and kind to us. I’ll never forget the way he just stood there and hugged me when I began to cry uncontrollably. I’ve never forgotten his name or his act of kindness.
  • I barely remember the funeral itself. One of the only things I remember is how tightly my friend Grace squeezed my hand for the duration of the ceremony and the burial, and how grateful I was to have her there, holding my hand like that.
  • One of the most incredible acts of kindness I can remember from that time actually took place once I’d already returned to work. It was more than a month later, and I was still in such pain, trying to muddle through. Someone in the office had given birth and brought the baby in for a visit. Needless to say, it killed me. I will never forget how my friend Lesly assessed the situation, suddenly decided she needed something from home and that I had to go with her. She saved my sanity that day, and I’m not even sure she realized how much. Twelve years later, I’m still grateful. Thanks, Les.

I’m guessing there were others – there’s no way I could have gotten through that darkest period of my life without the people around me. I’m not quite sure what I did to deserve such amazing friends, but thank you all.

I’ve probably blocked out many of the memories from that time, and of course, there others that are too painful to talk about. Here are just a few random events I feel I can share, though I must admit that I’m not sure why some of these are easier than others…

  • We were staying in a special “apartment” in the hospital designed for parents of patients, as we did on several occasions during Elad’s hospitalization. This time we knew the situation was very bad, and neither of us wanted to leave. The call from the ICU came during the night and we made our way downstairs. I want to say that we were preparing ourselves, but really, how can you prepare yourself to face the death of your child? Elad was disconnected from far too many machines and we were left alone in the room with him to say goodbye. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget how it felt to hold him for the last time…
  • As soon as I could, I phoned Grace to tell her what had happened. Once I’d said her name into the phone, I could no longer speak, and silently handed the phone to my husband, who shared our devastating news.
  • At the time, I was fortunate enough to work with the most compassionate, supportive group of people I’ve ever come across in a workplace. I waited until the next day to give them the news, knowing that a big company party had been planned for that evening and I didn’t want to ruin it for them. I’m proud to be able to say that twelve years later, I can still call many of those amazing people my friends.

Random thoughts and feelings…

  • After we were called down to the ICU that last night, while we were waiting to be allowed in to see him, I remember thinking that we should inquire about organ donation, but the doctors never mentioned it. In the end, I forgot to ask. I regret that, and have had my own organ donor card ever since.
  • A sadness that I can’t even begin to describe, mixed with overwhelming relief. Relief that Elad’s suffering was finally over and relief that we no longer had to watch him suffer, that we no longer had to be in that place where our lives ground to a halt.
  • I remember wondering if I would ever be able to smile again, if I would ever be able to laugh again. At the time, both seemed impossible. I can remember walking around, watching people go about their daily business and thinking that it seemed absolutely surreal.

I cannot believe that twelve years have passed, nor can I believe all that’s happened since. I am in awe of the journey that we’ve been on and of those who chose to accompany us along the way. I cannot find the words I need to appropriately thank you for all you’ve done, but I will say that often, there have been times that I would not have gotten through on my own, without you. And I am grateful.

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  1. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your son…sitting here reading this and crying…
    What did he die of?

    Are you still in Israel? Do you have any other children? Tell me about your life, and please visit my blog (you’ll find out about mine…)

    • Hi Lady-Light,

      Thank you for your kind words. Elad was born prematurely at 26 weeks, with birth defects. He spent the first four months of his life in an amazing NICU, and when he was big enough to be “released”, he was taken straight to a children’s hospital, where they were to fix his birth defects. We were there for 2 1/2 months dealing with pre-surgery issues, the surgery itself, and recovery. Towards the end, he contracted a form of pneumonia, and because he’d been so small and had so many problems, his body couldn’t take it anymore – he just wasn’t strong enough to fight it.

      We are still in Israel and we’ve got an amazing five year-old son, who’s recently become very curious about the older brother he never knew. If you’d like to know about my life, just read the blog. 🙂

  2. ((((hug))))

    • Thanks, m’dear. I’ve been needing too many of these lately, I think…

  3. Sitting here crying and remembering everything you had to go through on the way to Elad, with Elad, and then the LO 😦
    By the way, totally don’t remember the office party, but do remember you telling us that Elad had died when we had all been so sure that he was doing so much better and was going to go home any day. Where did the last 12 years go??

    • Oy. I didn’t mean to make you cry! I remember that everyone was planning the office party (and that Debbie was responsible for entertainment, of course 🙂 ) and that I was going to try to come if I could. I even seem to remember that it was going to be at Dimol, by the Bursa in Ramat Gan (I think…). I didn’t tell anyone at DS that it happened because I didn’t want to put a damper on the party that everyone had worked so hard on and was looking forward to. I called Debbie the next morning (the day after the funeral) at work and told her.

  4. Will do. I wish you much hatzlacha and happiness in your life, and as for children, ken yirbu, as we say in Hebrew (but you will always have Elad, who was your child, too…)

  5. I remember getting your call as clearly as if it were yesterday. Your courage still levels me.

    I’m staring at a picture of your son and my boys hung up right at my desk. Give him a big hug and tell him we love him.

    • I did what I had to do to get me through. I’m not sure I’d call that courage…

      We love you guys too – I can’t even begin to tell you how much.

  6. I remember. I can’t write about it even now without getting tearful.

    Your courage inspired me then, you continue to inspire me now.

    Debbie x

    • And I don’t think I could have gotten through that time without you (bet you just got tearful again. yes!!!!). As for courage, it’s like I told cw above. You do what you have to. One of my friends once told me something that I’ve never forgotten – life throws a lot of shit at you. It’s up to you to choose how you deal with it.

  7. I will always see that photo of beautiful Elad with his turtle. 🙂 You are in my thoughts today, as you always are when this day rolls around. Take care of you today. Love you dearly. And give that other beautiful boy a huge hug from Nicole, and have him give you one from me as well!

    • I love you too. More than pretty much everyone else in my life, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you.

  8. I’m so sorry Liza, I’m thinking of you today.

  9. Hugs from halfway around the world. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us; your courage and willingness to share your stories helped get me through my own loss.

    • Thanks, Sue. After we lost our son, I made a promise to myself that if I could ever use my experiences to somehow help others in similar circumstances, I do would do whatever I could. I think it’s helped to make the loss more bearable, in a sense. I’m so sorry for your loss… xx

  10. Thank you for your openness and for sharing. Each of us can take from your writing something that relates to their life as well.

    • Fay – You’re welcome. I share in the hope that it might help others. It makes his death seem less in vane somehow.

  11. 12 years…

  12. Liza, I waited till I felt strong enough to read your recollections – still, as strong as I feel tonight, I still feel your pain. Love is for an eternity. I am sending you love too.

    • Simone – I don’t know what to say, aside from thank you.

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