“For some moments in life, there are no words.”
— Willy Wonka, in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
That’s what I posted on Twitter earlier today: “The world is upside down.” It was in response to the news that my very good friend’s son died this morning; he was 11 days old.
Eleven days. Fucking Wimbeldon lasts longer than baby Christopher got to live.
He was ten weeks early, and he was in the NICU, but he was breathing on his own and my friend and Christopher’s father had been able to hold him and everything. Just last night my friend reported that she was trying to keep up her pumping schedule so Christopher could eat as much as he needed to. I thought the road would be tough, but that he would ultimately be just fine. In the first days, I told her I knew it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that I knew it was there. I promised her it was.
I don’t know the details of what happened this morning, but a friend told me this afternoon that when things go wrong in NICU, they go wrong fast and often without warning.
My heart breaks for my girl and her family, and everything I said to her in my message this morning seems ridiculously inadequate. How can there be any words for this? There is nothing anyone can say that can ease her pain, take away her sadness, relieve the anger she must feel. Nothing.
I was looking for quotes to head this post and googled “quotes about the loss of a child.” So many of them say, essentially, “God needed him more.” Fuck that. I know it’s just people trying to make sense out of something unfathomable, but I think it would be unbelievably insensitive to say that to a grieving parent. I cannot imagine looking my friend in the eye and telling her someone — even God — needed Christopher more than she did. What a shitty thing to say.
Because there are no words, this post is not coming out the way I meant it. It turns out I’m nearly as angry as I am sad. Eleven days? He didn’t even get to BE. And now my funny, amazing, beautiful friend will never be the same, and there’s nothing anyone can do to fix it. No one can even make it easier for her.
A mother losing her 11-day-old baby? The world is upside down.