Do not hurt our ‘baby’!
THURSDAY, November 19 – Number 22 has got to go. One of Sander’s incisors is in the way – a legacy from his mother. The dentist frowns. ‘We’ll have to get rid of this one.’ Sander looks up and asks me to stay. Why? Because Mom always did. His adolescent body moans in pain as the anesthetic shoots into his jaw.
Suddenly I’m reminded of the summer of 1997, when baby Sander was due for his first injections. In his buttock or his upper leg, I can’t remember which. He screamed louder than any baby I’d ever heard. The sound was heart-rending. And at that point tears came to my eyes.
I remembered how Jennifer gazed in bewilderment at the injustice to which her child was being subjected. I was angry and blamed the doctor, who just stood there, half smiling. It was a primeval reaction… the sense of parental responsibility during those first months as young parents. Now, over twelve years later, that sensation returns in all its intensity.
Leaving the dentist’s office, I put my arm around my tall son, who has long towered over his mother. Then and now… the protective hug. The loving, comforting words: ‘Don’t be afraid, little guy, you’re safe with Mom and Papa.’
The emotions are the same, twelve years and one dead mother later.
11:30 – Ah, a letter from the crematory, about the destination of the ashes. A tasteful folder with creative suggestions, accompanied by the price list. I feel like writing something really cynical, just to get it out of my system, but then I think better it. I’m tired. Dead tired.