Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beginnings, endings

On this day twenty years ago - April 19, 1992 - our son William was stillborn in Toronto. My postdoc was ending, so we had to move back to California a month later. Christine got pregnant again and fortunately, through a college friend, we found an expert at Stanford to watch over Christine. Joey was born a month early - on September 15, 1993 - but he made it. He would not have lived if we had followed the advice of the first obstetrician we saw in California.

T.S. Eliot notwithstanding, lots of cruel things have happened in that part of April in the last 20 years. The Oklahoma City bombing was two years to the day after William's birth. The Columbine massacre was April 20, 1999, fifteen days after we moved into our house in Colorado. The Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was April 20, 2010.

Tomorrow I will fly to Memphis. On Saturday - April 21 - I will attend my friend Bernard's memorial service. Bernard took his own life. He was the smartest person I ever knew well. We were friends since middle school. I wish he'd known that he had a lot of people he could have talked to.

Christine and Joey flew to Cleveland today to visit Oberlin College. All I know so far is that they attended an evening with the Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat and that Joey, wearing his albino squirrel shirt, got his picture taken with the president of Oberlin. Joey will probably attend Colorado College or Oberlin in the fall. We visited 16 colleges in the last year, but Oberlin wasn't one of them. It looks great on paper - or on screen - but who knows what Joey will think? He has to decide by April 30.