I’ve been trying to plan things- put events, even small ones, on the calendar so I have something to look forward to. This past weekend our plan was to go to NYC. Chris had recently seen a comedy show there with a bachelor party, which he said was fun, so I wanted to go to it too. It seemed fitting, one of those things that we could do because we don’t have a baby. Who brings a baby to a comedy club? Don’t worry, no one.
I hesitate to write about doing things I wouldn’t be able to do with a baby for fear that people will either think “how lucky she is- she gets to do that!” or “See, she’s ok, she’s making the best of her circumstances.” When really I would give anything to be stuck at home with a baby, wishing I could go to a comedy club. I don’t consider it a benefit of babyloss. There are no benefits of babyloss. It is my consolation prize. How does the saying go? What do they call the person who comes in second place? First loser. Yup.
So we planned a whole trip around the comedy club. Booked a hotel. Went in early and walked the High Line- an old raised railroad track made into a public garden walk in the heart of the city. Went to a nice French restaurant for dinner. Had two glasses of wine. Shopped 18 miles of books at a famous bookstore. Saw Comedy show.
In the morning we planned to go a tour of the Hasidic Jewish Community. Might seem a little offbeat, but it has been something I’ve wanted to do since I first heard about it. It gets good reviews and I think it would be fascinating to learn about this entire other culture that lives side by side with us. Sadly the tour guide was sick (or some other medical emergency that I found out about through many emails, texts and phone calls), so no tour. The Jews would have to wait.
Instead we went down to Ground Zero to check out the memorial and maybe see the museum. The wait for the museum was two hours so we just explored the memorial and people watched. We saw a troop of chemical responders march by in some sort of uniformed training. A security guard reprimanded someone for resting their map on the memorial. We marveled at the clothing choices people made, trying to guess which ones were foreigners. I watched as a stranger took a photo of a little girl who looked like she was dressed in some sort of traditional southeast Asian costume- Nepalese, perhaps? and then give her a piece of candy for cooperation. I too was mesmerized by the little girls brightly colored tunic, pants and head scarf, but felt too awkward to take a photo. Two especially tall and long limbed people walked past us and I told Chris that I thought they had Marfan’s Syndrome. I saw two teenaged girls unknowingly wearing the same hipster American flag sweater.
As we sat on the stone bench, I thought about the first name I saw on the memorial. The monument consists of two large stone squares with a dropped pool in the center. Water poured down the side into the pool, the bottom of which was perhaps twenty feet below us. In the stone blocks lining the pool was carved the names of people who perished. Hundreds and hundreds of names. The first one I walked up to said:
I was struck by how sad it was. I tried to think about what it must have felt like to be in the towers after the planes crashed into them. I thought about what it must feel like to be the husband of Patricia Ann Cimaroli Massari and father to her unborn child. The iconic image of the falling man came to mind and I had to distract myself. What must it have been like to choose facing flames or jumping? I thought only momentarily, because it was just too sad, too horrific. There is no comparing grief- each circumstance is different- but my own thoughts of, it’s too sad I don’t want to think about it, made me wonder if some people had the same thoughts about my circumstance. No one likes to think about people dying, let alone a baby. Even me. The difference is, I have to, everyday. The same way those who lost a love one in the 9/11 attacks think about their loss, everyday. They are such different losses, and I am not saying one is bigger than the other, nor are they even comparable. But what we do share is the events life handed to us.