Monday, January 31, 2011

Henry IX

Mr. Smak and I have been watching The Tudors, courtesy of Netflix streaming over AppleTV.

We're both enjoying it, lots of political intrigue and character building (and a bunch of good-looking naked people). Wow, can't imagine what would have happened when someone brought gonorrhea to court. Wildfire. Anyway, it's the story of Henry VIII, and his court, and his wives (we're still on wife number one).

In a recent episode, Henry's bastard son, Henry, died suddenly, at age 4. They showed him, pale and bathed, gently lying in bed. The parallels were uncomfortable (but have happened often enough by now that they were tolerable.) The scene was first of his mother, and her seeing his body, and then of the king's grief.

Even as we spend time in a cancer sibling support group, it's often that we are the only bereaved family. Childhood leukemia, thank goodness, has cure rates over 90% these days. 90%! Forgive my apathy, but it doesn't seem that should be in the same category as advanced neuroblastoma, or the various brain tumors, or the soft tissues cancers that require surgeries and extensive chemo with long term side effects.

Anyway, back to The Tudors...I found myself strangely jealous that this mother of Henry would be in the company of so many other women who had lost a child, due to the era. That she wouldn't be the only one. Having a child die is so isolating today. It just doesn't happen to people.

Unsettling to find myself wishing for more bereaved parents in the world. Guess I'm still struggling with the "why him?" of this, though I try to convince myself that I'm not.

I think I can understand more the attachment to community and place that people have after experiencing a disaster. I've always thought that if I went through a community tragedy (ie Katrina) that the impulse would be to get away. No one would understand as well as those who have lived through it too. I guess that's my pining, still feeling somewhat alone in this journey. The last thing I want is more childhood death, from any cause...but I wish for that unspoken understanding a little more often.

6 comments:

webhill said...

You are not alone. I have lost none of my beloved children, thank heavens - but I know four real, flesh and blood, local families who have lost children under the age of five. Two babies under six months, one four year old with a brain tumor, and one neonatal death that remains unexplained. You are not alone.

Blonde welsh doc said...

I stumbled accidentally on your blog. I could have just moved on but I know your grief too well. My sons Angus and Timothy died a long time ago now well 15 years, 8 months and 23 days for Angus and 16 years, 6months and 3 days for Timothy to be precise.
I am happy, I rejoice In my remaining children and pray to a god I don't believe in every night that they will wake in the morning. Apart from that life goes on, adjustment comes eventually but the sense of certainty you lose is never regained.
In our job - I'm a doctor too- we face tragedy every day, I think I'm a better doctor for what I went through but I'm not sure I'm a better mother. I take great comfort in a poem by ben Johnson it's last lines are particularly apt - he too lost a son
In small proportions we just beauties see
And in short measures life may perfect be.
It's from a Pindaric ode.

socks said...

Seems not to have been "accidental" that Blonde Welsh Doc stumbled onto this blog.

Very sensitive and personal parallels.

...tom... said...

...
hey there...

Bwd said...
"I think I'm a better doctor for what I went through but I'm not sure I'm a better mother."

Hmmm. There is a thought to ponder.


. . .and a link to the full poe-em...

The Noble Nature by Ben Johnson



...tom...
.

ADB said...

Coming to terms with a loss is not something that you're ever finished with, even more so when you've lost a young child as you have. Wishing you continued strength as you climb further up that hill.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, you are not alone. I lost my first-born daughter to SIDS when she was 6 months old. Even though I went on to have 4 additional daughters who are all healthy and growing, I can't get over why that baby, my first, just never woke up from her nap. It will never make sense to me. I am, however, extremely grateful that she was a part of my life. Having her and knowing her changed me in so many ways. It has been 21 years since she passed, and I still think about her every day. Trust me, you are not alone. PattyB