Archive for February, 2010

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign…

…or not.  Why is it that some people believe they are receiving frequent signs from their dead loved ones and some of us never receive them?  I keep thinking if it was really possible why would Kiran leave me hanging?  Maybe that’s a big expectation for a three year old.  So then, I can’t believe Sekhar’s mom or my grandmothers wouldn’t send a little note or something.  Is that a lot to ask?

Maybe it’s the classic, believing is seeing.  So, if you think signs are possible then you might see them everywhere.  I admit it would probably take an incredible sign for me to believe it was really a sign.  I am married to a scientist.  Generally, we’re proof kind of folk…like, can it be solved with an equation?

One of the more veteran members of my group once said that he doesn’t think he gets signs from his child, but he does appreciate anything that reminds him of his child.  I let that guide me.  I haven’t heard anything that fits me better, so I’ll stick with that until something better comes along.  So, I just appreciate things that remind me of Kiran.

I think maybe I have had some experiences which others would consider signs, but I think are coincidences…and since they remind me of Kiran they made me happy.   One day I was at a grocery store in Cambridge and the cashier was an older Indian woman, her name tag said “Kiran.”  I wanted to tell her my son’s name was Kiran, but then I knew she would probably ask me how old he was and I didn’t have the energy to answer honestly or to lie.  I just started bagging my own groceries, when a young Indian man came up behind me and said “let me do that for you.”  I looked at his name tag and it also said “Kiran.”  I let him help and I just smiled.  I remembered my boy because he was also a big helper.  I didn’t think it was a sign, and still don’t, but when I told others some did think so.



I was on a plane again last week.   While sitting at the gate, waiting to pull back I thought about how much Kiran would have enjoyed airplanes, both watching them and flying too.  He never got the chance.  We’ve flown more in the last year than in the previous four combined, and every time I’ve got on a plane I imagine that Kiran would have loved the experience.  And then I realize that I’m probably projecting.   I grew up around airplanes.  My father was an aircraft engineer and some of my earliest (and fondest) memories are tied to planes.  The truth I have to face is that I don’t know what Kiran would have thought.  There’s so much I’ll never know about my boy .

Taxes, etc.

Today I started working on our taxes.  We have a program that automatically imports basic data from year to year, and there it was in black and white.  Kiran Ramanathan, age 4.

But, of course he will never be age 4.  Often I feel sad for me and Sekhar.  We will miss all the great experiences of parenting Kiran.  Just as often I feel so sad for the things he is missing.  He missed celebrating his 4th birthday with his friends at school.  How he would have loved that.  Birthdays were the best thing ever.  He made us sing happy birthday several times at every b-day event, it didn’t even matter whose birthday it was.

He missed picking out his own Halloween costume.  This is a big deal to a 4 year old.  I don’t even know what he would have picked.  Who would he have been by October, 10 months after his death?  So much changes for a child in that amount of time.  What would he have wanted for Christmas?  We were all robbed of the 4 year old Christmas morning experience.  He just loved the lights on the tree and wanted them on all day long.  In a great act of avoidance Sekhar and I traveled separately to visit our families this year.  Christmas meant nothing to us.  I can’t imagine it ever will.

I could list forever all the things he will never do.  Kindergarten, breathing trach free, first love, driving, graduation, marriage, children.  Big things and little things, he never tasted a pizza.

Most often I try to focus on what he did do.  Given Kiran’s humble health beginnings Sekhar and I always appreciated the little things.  We are so thankful that we treated him as a normally as possible.  It was a big deal to ride the train and go to the playground, or dip his feet in the ocean waves.  Going to preschool and riding the bus, holding the hand of a friend.  He loved these things.  Things he was sheltered from early on.  He never lost appreciation for them.  Even before his death, I would observe other children his age and feel sad that they already felt the mediocrity of an elevator ride, or a bookstore visit.  Kiran always had fresh eyes and excitement.  He had no expectation and thus was usually happy (well, he was 3 after all).

In my best moments I still see the world through his eyes.  He was a breathe of fresh air…but he will never be 4 years old.