Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Is Not the Cruelest Month at All

March is finally, gratefully over.

As I said in a recent email to the Baroness Alexandra, the months of March, May and December have disappeared into the black hole created by my child’s death. March was the month of her birth, May was the month of her death, and, of course, December was Christmas. She loved Christmas so; I used to give her Santa Claus figurines every year.

I expressed my hope to the Baroness that eventually I would get those times back, but she seemed to think it might not happen. She could be right. A high school classmate whose son died twenty years ago, suddenly and by suicide, still flees to Europe every Christmas…I just go blank and hunker under the pillow.

So welcome here, dear April, you are not “the cruelest month” -- not by a long shot, I don’t care what T. S. Eliot says. Not only do you bring Daylight Savings Time and the beginning of long sun-lit evenings, you also have in tow many family birthdays. I love to celebrate birthdays!

This month the Baron’s Boy turns twenty one. I’m sure we’ll be on hand for his first legal order of a pre-prandial drink at dinner. At least his first one in this country. On his visit to England a few years ago, he got great pleasure out of ordering the local beers in Yorkshire. Somehow our age limit of twenty one in the U.S. doesn’t stop the ferocious alcohol consumption by kids in high school or college. A student at the University of Virginia wrote Gates of Vienna recently to tell us of the sad death of a fraternity boy visiting from Princeton who died of alcohol poisoning. No one knew how much he’d had, so they let him “sleep it off.”

Oh, dear. I seem to be back to the unexpected death of children once more…was it Anne Tyler who said in one of her novels that when you have a child, your heart, from then on, resides outside your body? Sounds about right.

Never mind. The grief is sure to circle 'round again soon enough. For now, it’s on to April and the garden and la vie.