Monday, October 15, 2012

New Orleans

I was thinking (at 2am) about the trip Pete & I took to New Orleans. We went with his parents and his brother and sister-in-law. This was before we had kids and before Katrina. We had a great time and did all kinds of fun and interesting things - toured the Mardi Gras warehouses, visited a couple of plantations and saw slave cabins, took a boat tour of a swamp and also along the Mississippi River.

But mostly I was thinking about how, because New Orleans is below sea level, people have to be buried above ground when they die. We visited a beautiful cemetery with all these statues and structures crammed together, very different to what we have here. I remember there was a family there and their baby was trying to crawl on someone's grave stone, someone long dead. The parents looked very self-conscious about it. They wanted the baby to have some freedom but were telling her, very loudly so people could hear what good parents they were being, that the structures were not for climbing. At the time, I remember thinking it was ok to let the baby climb, and that it represented the cycle of life. I still feel that way now.

A babyloss mom recently tweeted something like, "Death date, birth date, due date. Should be the other way around." Toren died before he was born, which was two weeks before his due date. He was cremated three days after his due date. Cycle of life, you bet. Baby crawling on a grave stone, not a problem. Grandmother, Toren's Lola, wearing her baby grandson's name and birthstone on a necklace? Not ok! Not good no no no no no.

It doesn't help that I now believe that my son's death was preventable. It strengthens my resolve to work towards eliminating preventable infant deaths. I'm only beginning to know what that work might look like but I do know this much - I'm not alone and we won't be deterred.

Lola's necklace for Toren
Mardi Gras warehouses where they store parade floats


Slave cabins on the Laura Plantation
St Louis cemetery No. 1

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