everything but Silas, part 1

Looks like we're going to need a babysitter now and then. All they will have to do is take a trip to the Peace Park up the street from our house and water the tree we are about to plant in memory of our son. But you need to be able to transport several gallons of water there every week to sustain its life, so it's not a job for just anyone.

Most weeks we will water his tree ourselves. We considered a service that would take care of it, but I figured we should be able to handle a once-a-week task no matter how much of disruption it might be on those odd, busy weeks. After all, taking care of a fucking tree should be a hell of a lot simpler than raising my son. So we'll handle that weekly chore, one way or another.

That's how we get through a Day, anyway. One way or another. Somehow, someway, as we often say to one another.

I have no idea how the fuck we are going to get through Saturday, when we plant this tree and scatter some of his ashes and are crushed into blubbering by the mass of friends and family that are gathered around us. The awfulness of what we are about to do is hard for me to comprehend. Which is why the planning of this has gone the way it has.

They've called to see about bringing food and what we need, but I never have much of an answer. "Bring whatever you want," I told people. "If we don't have something, we'll call around the corner or up the street and order it. Anything we might need, we can get, easily."

Ha. If only that were true.

The pasta and chicken and bread and beer are all very much appreciated, but we simply don't have the energy to coordinate and organize. This event is suddenly large and largely unplanned because there is just no good way to organize the memorial of your infant son.

We focused specifically on what was the most important. Lu researched the options and then we went and picked out a tree. That day was oddly trivial and unbearably profound all wrapped up into a ball of confusion that was impossible to understand.

Wait, we're doing what? Instead of picking out toddler shirts and a new carseat it's... a tree? A tree that is supposed to mark the fact that our son was on this Earth? What kind of Math is this? What branch of Logic does this fall under?

My dad -- Silas' Grandfather -- is going to say a few words. He officiated our wedding and my brother's, and years ago said the eulogy for his mom, my grandmother. I don't know of anyone else that could perform this task on Saturday. We are so thankful that he is doing this for us, and I hate that it must be done.

I am planning on reciting the Hopi Prayer of the Soul's Graduation, as I did when we planted the peach tree up in New Hampshire. I think I can do it. I think the impossible pain of our son's death is something I can withstand for a few public moments before our gathered loved ones. I bear that pain silently every moment of every day.

Really all I have to do is show up, read the poem, and then withdraw. Even if I crumple halfway through, there's enough people to carry me home. But that's not going to happen.

Instead, I will recite the poem into the faces of the people I love, and then I will smash all the other trees in the park. I'll tear the river from its bed and swallow the clouds in a single gulp. When I am finished devouring this reality I hate, I will use the swingsets as toothpicks and saunter home unsatisfied.

On Saturday I am allowed to let the sad, torrential rage flow through me unfettered. On Saturday, I don't have to be okay, just like I'm not every day.