I’m so grateful for all the people who have expressed concern about our family situation so I wanted to check in with a short update. We’ve had a few setbacks over the past week. I am pretty wasted emotionally and physically and need to figure out how to start taking care of myself. Kendall is back in the hospital for the moment. We had a meeting with Charlie’s doctors yesterday and while he is still very critical, there was some positive news about his condition. They thought the hole in his heart (PDA) may have reopened but they did another echocardiogram and it hasn’t, thank God. He finally pooped which is excellent because otherwise he may have needed surgery which could have been bad news in his fragile state. He’s still intubated but his oxygen levels are way better than they were. His eyes, which were fused shut at birth 10 days ago have opened on their own, at about the time they would have done so in utero. That is such a miracle to me. The biggest concern remains the two brain bleeds he had but there’s no way yet to determine what effects those will have on his development. At this point, of course, I just want him to survive, we can deal with any disabilities later. He’s an adorable baby and he moves around a lot which is a good sign. He’s gained a little weight and is back up to 1 lb. 8 oz. He still can’t eat but hopefully that will change soon. His hair is growing and is reddish/strawberry blond. I’ll try to post more pictures soon.
I spent a few hours with Leah last night which was heavenly. She’s just back from Chicago where she attended my nephew Spencer’s and my dad’s joint Bar Mitzvah last weekend. She showed me all of her photos and it was simultaneously fantastic to see them (“Go slower, go slower,” I kept shouting, wanting to examine every face and moment) and surprisingly painful. Seeing all of our family and friends who came from near and far in the photos, it almost felt like I was dead and I was watching my loved ones from the other side. Oy, does that sound too dramatic? Don’t be scared, I’ll be fine. By all accounts Spencer and my dad were spectacular on the bimah and the party looked like it was a blast. Both Oliver and Charles were mentioned on several occasions. I’m already looking forward to my other nephew Sammy’s Bar Mitzvah in three years.
I crave normalcy, or at least a lightening up of major drama. I think of Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissman Klein’s speech at the 1996 Oscars when she won the award for the documentary about her life. In that speech she urged everyone to value the everyday moments of life and the gifts of “a boring evening at home.” Oh, how I long for boring! I don’t think I’ve even begun grieving my son who died, I guess that will come later. Yikes, I really didn’t mean for this post to sound so depressing and, believe me, I can’t wait to be writing about other topics. I tried to start that other blog I mentioned about Charlie but I think I’ll just keep it all here for now. I’m beyond moved by how friends, family, and strangers have been there for us. People I barely know have met me at the hospital and helped me through difficult moments. Bloggers who recently lost their own children and are in the midst of incredible pain have reached out with comfort in amazing ways. There are definitely gifts to be found in the midst of tragedy.
I’ve barely been aware of anything that’s been happening in the world and I hope to inch back to that, along with my work. I know that normally I would have written a post about the wonderful Dom DeLuise who died on Monday, especially since the DeLuises are friends of Kendall’s family. I met Dom many times and he was hysterically funny in real life but we saw his wife, Carol Arthur, much more often. Carol and I must have similar interests because it seems like wherever I go, whatever play, screening, event, there she is. I worship Carol, she is one of the nicest women on the planet. Dom and Carol had an amazing marriage, lasting over 43 years. Carol is an actress in her own right, and I may be one of the only people who have on my iPod the soundtrack from the London company of “On the Town” from many years ago in which Carol played the man-hungry taxi driver Hildy Esterhazy, the part played by Nancy Walker on Broadway and our pal Betty Garrett (who turns 90 this month) in the MGM film version. Carol was brilliant in the part. She lent me the tapes which I digitized for my iPod. I haven't read any of the obituaries about Dom but I will never forget his appearances on TV, movies, and in Kendall's mother's living room. Oliver has an increasingly interesting group of folks to hang out with up there.