Archive for September, 2008

The dinosaurs died in Duluth

Another conversation that has been repeated ad infinitum recently is the following. It started when Annika said she wished she could have a pet dinosaur. I told her it would be nice, but it’s not really possible because the dinosaurs are extinct, which means they all died a long, long time ago.

Annika: Tell me the dinosaur story.
Me: OK, the dinosaurs lived millions and millions of years ago. There were brontosauruses, and stegasauruses, and triceratops and tyrannasaurus rexes and pterodactyls…
Annika: …and red ones, and green ones, and yellow ones…
Me: Yep, all different colors.
Annika: And they had long necks.
Me: Yep.
Annika: And there were little girls…
Me: No, there were no little girls when the dinosaurs lived.
Annika: Well, they wish they had little girls.
Me: Yes, I bet they did. Anyhow, the dinosaurs were all living on the earth, and one day a big, giant rock came from space and crashed into the earth. And it started fires, and made big storms.
Annika: What color were the storms?
Me: I don’t know.
Annika: I think they were white (mixing in the Rudolf story here, I think).
Me: Maybe. In any case, all of the things that the dinosaurs ate – the trees, grass, flowers…they all died. And then the dinosaurs didn’t have anything to eat, and they died too. And now all we have left are their bones.
Annika: Oh. Tell me again, mommy.

Well, the other day, at the end of the story when I said the dinosaurs all died, she paused, thought about it and said “Yeah. They died in Duluth”.

Oh my word. I have wondered all along, and still do, how Annika has processed all the events of the last year plus. We have not hid anything from her, explaining everything as simply as possible, and letting her take the lead with questions.

She talks about her brother and sister, and her grandma (and grandpa), generally following up a statement with a serious “But they died”. But I don’t know what she understands about the meaning of “died”. It appears, though, that she thinks that dying is something that happens in Duluth. Or that people go to Duluth to die. Or who knows. I mean, for a long time, she has known that her Grandpa died, and has recognized his “stone”. Then, she was there when her Grandma died. Then Cole died and we took him to Duluth. Then Lina.

It was just a bit of a shock to realize that at least on some level, her 3-year-old mind associates Duluth with death.

Christmas in September?

This is the conversation that’s been repeated in our house about 200 times since the weekend:

Annika: Mommy, tell me the Bambi story.
Me: You mean the Rudolf story?
Annika: Yeah. The Rudolf story.
Me: (singing) Well, you know Dasher and …
Annika: Are they girls?
Me: Who?
Annika: The reindeers
Me: You know? I’m not really sure. But I think all Santa’s reindeer were boys.
Annika: Oh. Sing it.
Me: Well, you know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…
Annika: I think they’re girls.
Me: OK, maybe. They might be girls.
Annika: Sing it.
Me: and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?
Annika: Why mommy?
Me: Why what?
Annika: Why he’s the most famous reindeer?
Me: Because he helped save Christmas with his nose. Let’s listen to the song to find out.
Annika: Yeah. Sing it.
Me: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose
Annika: Why mommy?
Me: Why what?
Annika: Why his nose was shiny?
Me: He was born that way.
Annika: I think he touched something.
Me: What do you mean?
Annika: I think he touched something in the snow. That’s why it’s red and shiny.
Me: Touched something? Like what?
Annika: Maybe he touched some berries. Or some red rocks. That’s why it’s red.
Me: Well, maybe. But really, he was just born that way. With a special nose.
Annika: No mommy.
Me: OK then.
Annika: Sing it.
Me: …had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.
Annika: Why mommy?
Me: Why what?
Annika: Why it glows?
Me: Because he was born that way. And it helped Santa guide his sleigh.
Annika: Oh. Sing it.
Me: ..say it glows. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.
Annika: Why mommy?
Me: Why what?
Annika: Why all the other reindeer laugh at him?
Me: Because his nose was different. But it’s not nice to tease people because they’re different.
Annika: Why his nose was different?
Me: Because he was born that way. He couldn’t help it. But it was a special nose.
Annika: I think he touched something in the snow.
Me: OK.
Annika: Sing it mommy.
Me: …all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.
Annika: Like what?
Me: What do you mean?
Annika: What kind of names?
Me: Ummmm…(note to self, google the annotated version of the song to remember what those names were)…I don’t know. They called him some not nice names.
Annika: Why?
Me: Because they were teasing him because of his nose. But it’s not nice to tease people because of how they look.
Annika: Yeah. Sing it.
Me: …used to laugh and call him names. they never let poor Rudolf join in any reindeer games.
Annika: What kind of games?
Me: Oh, like Monopoly…and football…
Annika: What’s Monopoly?
Me: It’s a game some people play.
Annika: Oh. Why they didn’t play games with him?
Me: Because they were being mean to him because he was different. But they’re going to find out how special his nose is pretty soon.
Annika: Oh.
Me: Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say. Rudolf with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight. Then all the reindeer loved him (whew, that’s quite a stretch!)
Annika: Why mommy? Why they love him?
Me: Because he saved Christmas. His nose is going to help Santa see in the storm so that he can bring presents to all the good boys and girls. See how special Rudolf’s nose is?
Annika: Yeah. He helps Santa see in the BIG WHITE STORM. Sing it.
Me: Then all the reindeer loved him, and they shouted out with glee
Annika: What’s glee?
Me: Glee means happy. They were so happy.
Annika: Why they were so happy?
Me: Because Rudolf saved Christmas with his bright nose. He helped Santa see in the storm.
Annika: Oh. Sing it.
Me: …and they shouted out with glee. Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history.
Annika: (pause) Sing it mommy.
Annika: That’s the end.
Me: Oh. Again mommy.

And repeat, almost verbatim again…and again…and again… It’s going to be a LONG time to Christmas if we’re starting in September (we’re not the only ones starting though…Target already has 2 aisles of Christmas stuff).

So you’re probably all wondering where I’ve been. I can’t believe I didn’t write all summer long. Annika and I spent the summer in Turkey (Esref joined us for 3 weeks). I actually thought I’d write a lot over the summer. That was my intention. Writing last fall and spring really helped me…process. It felt good. But inertia is a powerful thing, and it’s hard to get going again. Plus, I was with Annika 24/7 and that doesn’t leave much time for reflection, let alone writing about it. Not that I’m complaining. It was a good time for us. Mostly.

So anyhow, I’m not sure exactly what this blog will become. I want to keep writing. But I’m not sure I can make it be just all about my grief. Like I’ve said before, how many different ways can I say “I’m still so sad”. So we’ll just have to see. I still cry almost every day. I’m still angry about the path my life has taken. The next few months will probably be agonizing, as we pass the first anniversaries of the most horrible events of my life. In fact, it was right around now last year that I was taken out of work with the first signs of pre-eclampsia. But things got better, so I was optimistic.

Anyhow, if you’re still with me, thanks for being there. We’ll play it by ear.


About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...