These are not things that I necessarily want to make public.
In the beginning, people didn't seem to want to talk about him. Then, it felt like people were making him "theirs." People kept trying to claim him and we didn't like that. My brother-in-law jumped onto me for not being understanding when my father-in-law told me that Toby's death was my fault. "He'd just lost his grandson!" he said to me. (A grandson he had never met. A grandson he didn't show interest in. Much like the other grandson he has left that he shows no interest in.) I had just lost my son. So I win, right? Whatever.
Others talked about how much they missed him and loved him when they had only briefly met him once. I didn't like that, either. I didn't want to listen to how these friends of mine, who had held him for a few minutes one day, missed him and loved him too. No they didn't. I've met Robbie's son once, a few weeks ago. If, God forbid, something happened to him I wouldn't try to one-up her by telling her how much I missed him and loved him when she is obviously in much more pain.
|Pregnant at the literary festival|
Toby was mine. Okay, he was mine, Pete's, Mom's, and Sam's, but he certainly didn't belong to anyone else. Few people showed interest when he was alive. I didn't want to share him after he was dead.
We were very secluded on top of our mountain. Miles from most of civilization we didn't get out much. I could go days without seeing another soul. And I did, sometimes. It was peaceful there. It's no wonder I got a little agoraphobic after he died. That seclusion made him feel even more like ours.
Yet, there are people that I feel incredibly close to who were part of his small life. When he was two weeks old we took him to a writer's retreat. The people there (Keith, Roberta, Leslie, Erin, Jason, Andy, Anne, Kate...) they spent the weekend with him.
|with Toby at the writer's retreat|
|Toby with author Anne Shelby|
|Toby and me with author (and friend) Jason Howard|
|we took his portable bassinett with us|
|Toby naps while everyone jams and Jason and I talked music|
I feel close to those people.
I feel close to my cousin Vickie and Uncle Ray and Aunt Fran. We spent the weekend with them, too, in Nashville the week before Toby died.
But others...it's hard for me to let them be a part of Toby sometimes.
|Toby and Steve at the retreat|
It's easy for me to write about my feelings regarding his death and SIDS research and how much I miss him. It's harder for me to write about Toby himself.
|Toby and Ashley|
I still remember what I said to him. They had just told me that they couldn't save Toby and that he was gone. I was by myself because Mom and Pete hadn't gotten there yet. I called Ashley and said, "Ashley, we're at the hospital in Irvine. Toby died a few minutes ago and I need you to come here and be with Mom." I wasn't even thinking that I might need someone there. He came right over.
|one of my favorite pictures-Toby with visionary Kate Larken|
I feel very close to Kate.
Toby's cord stump fell off while Leslie was holding him. She held him so that Pete and I could unload the suitcases. I feel close to Leslie, too.
|Leslie and Toby at the retreat|
I know that a lot of people like writing about their babies in their blogs and remembering things about them. I just feel more possessive of mine. Pete keeps a journal and writes letters to Toby in it. I talk to him a lot. But actually sharing him is hard. I feel connected to those who spent time with him at the retreat and in Nashville and I like remembering things with them. It's hard to go beyond that, though.
With Sam, he met a lot of people. He was in daycare and we had a lot more visitors when he was a baby. A lot of people knew him. With Toby, not to much. I spent a lot of time with him alone. I took him to local restaurants and the wait staff got to know him more than my friends did. Only a handful of my friends met him. Because of that, he kind of felt like mine. I guess in death he still kind of feels that way to me.