There’s nothing that can prepare you. Last month, my wife and I lost our son, Luke, who was stillborn on March 22. Luke had a lot of issues, but we were ready for him to arrive, and were devastated when we got to the hospital (for a planned induction) and he had no heartbeat, despite moving around like normal earlier in the day. We went ahead with the induction, and Luke was born a day and a half later. We held him, spent time with him, told him we loved him, and will be dealing with grief and loss for the rest of our lives, even as we are able to appreciate the joy he brought to us in the 9 months we had together and make sure that Luke will always be a lovingly remembered part of our family. There are many resources online to help with all aspects of losing a child, from what to expect during labor and delivery to advice on how to maneuver through the myriad of decisions you’ll have to make to the best ways to remember and honor your child and cope with your grief to endless support groups, all of which should be checked out. But what I couldn’t find, surfing on my phone in the dark in the hospital unable to sleep waiting for my wife’s labor to start, was something that could prepare me for some of the unspoken things, the way I’d feel, the things I’d think or do. So this is my attempt, in a sort of stream-of-consciousness, at what the last month has been like; not taking you through events as they unfolded, but covering some of the things I felt and experienced for which I wasn’t prepared.
(As a side note, there is adult language below. I am not going to apologize for it, nor do I feel the need to defend it. They’re just words, and they’re an accurate representation of my thoughts and feelings. Also, I make no claims that this is what it was like for anyone else, as we all have our own experiences and ways of coping with horrific situations, but perhaps some other parent sitting there in the dark on their phone might read this and be able to brace themselves a little bit about what’s to come, or at least find some truth in it to which they can relate. And of course, as the father in our family I fully acknowledge that my experience is nothing compared to that of my wife, who carried Luke for 9 months and then gave birth to him. I couldn’t be more proud of her or amazed by her strength and bravery, and I know that what she’s feeling must be infinitely more intense than anything I’ve gone through.)
Luke: Yeah well, can I get you anything?
Lorelai: Oh, um, do you think you could make those really crazy chocolate chip pancakes and go extra heavy on the chocolate?
Luke: Yeah sure, any special occasion?
Lorelai: Dean broke up with Rory.
Lorelai: Keep it down, she doesn’t want anybody to know about it.
Luke: Oh I knew it, I just knew that kid was trouble.
Lorelai: Yes you did, you knew it. Pancakes please.
Luke: Oh God, he’s got a nerve. I mean what does he think he’s gonna do better than Rory? Is he crazy? Jeez. Alright, well forget it ok. Good riddance, adios, bienvenidos, hasta la vista.
Lorelai: Could we get off the small world ride and start cooking please?
Luke: How is she?
Lorelai: She’s been dumped by her first boyfriend.
Luke: Oh man, I swear I would love to — ok, I’m gonna put some whipped cream on the pancakes too.
(a few minutes later)
Luke: More coffee? Pancakes are coming right up, anything else I can get you?
Rory: No thanks.
Luke: Hey I’ve got some strawberries back there, you like strawberries don’t you?
Rory: Yeah I like strawberries but —
Luke: I’m getting you strawberries.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 17 — “The Breakup, Part 2”
Lorelai: I don’t know what is wrong with me. This is a beautiful festival. People should be enjoying it.
Luke: It’s a crazy festival based on a nutty myth about two lunatics, who in all probability did not even exist. And even if they did, probably dropped dead of diphtheria before age 24. The town of Stars Hollow probably got its name from the local dance hall prostitute. Two rich drunk guys who made up the story to make it look good on a poster.
Lorelai: You are full of hate and loathing, and I gotta tell you, I love it!
Luke: Oh, it’s so good to have somebody share this hate with.
Lorelai: My pleasure.
Luke: More coffee?
Lorelai: Yeah please. Hey, tomorrow, if you have time, I’m planning on despising everyone who says ‘Hey, how’s it going?’
Luke: You’re on.
Rachel: Hey, how’s it going?
Lorelai: Oh, now that’s just too easy.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 16 — “Star-crossed Lovers and Other Strangers”
(Lorelai painted Luke’s Diner.)
Luke: What the —
Luke: How’d you get in here?
Lorelai: Your bread guy let me in.
Luke: I’m switching bread guys.
Lorelai: What do you think?
Luke: I think you shouldn’t break and enter.
Lorelai: So what do you think?
Luke: Well I gotta admit… it looks pretty good.
Lorelai: Oh, I knew you’d like it.
Lorelai: Anytime. It’s fun.
Luke: So, uh, where’s the guy?
Lorelai: Oh he’s gone.
Luke: Oh, too bad.
Lorelai: We’ll be fine. Luke?
Lorelai: Um, can I make one more suggestion?
Lorelai: Manly curtains.
Lorelai: What did you call me?
Luke: No curtains.
Lorelai: Aw come on. You gotta give a little. How about a tablecloth?
Luke: No. We don’t do tablecloths here.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 15 — “Christopher Returns”
Luke: So Rory was at the game today.
Lorelai: Oh yeah.
Luke: Yeah she was with some guy.
Luke: No, I know that punk. Some older guy.
Lorelai: Oh, that would’ve been her dad.
Luke: Really? So that’s uh….
Lorelai: The guy who impregnated me with Rory – yes.
Luke: Oh, well, he did a good job.
Lorelai: Impregnating me with Rory?
Luke: Now this has taken a very weird turn.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 15 — “Christopher Returns”
Lorelai: Luke? Stella got out and I don’t know — do I put seed on the floor? Do I make cheeping sounds? Or do I pull a Lucy Ricardo and walk like a chicken so she thinks I’m her mother?
Luke: Who the hell is this?
Lorelai: What do you mean who is this? It’s Lorelai. Who else would call you looking for her baby chick?
Luke: You’re right. I’m the idiot. Go on.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 14 — “That Damn Donna Reed”
Lorelai: There goes the fire chief, the police chief and the one paramedic with a valid license. I feel safe, don’t you?
Luke: Look at them, all relatively intelligent men, but there they are dressed up in costumes, standing out in a snowstorm, and for what?
Lorelai: Because it’s tradition.
Luke: Tradition is a trap, it allows people to stick their head in the sand. Everything in the past was so quaint, so charming. Times were simpler. Kids didn’t have sex. Neighbors knew each other. It’s a freaking fairy tale. Things sucked then, too. It just sucked without indoor plumbing.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 8 — “Love and War and Snow”
Luke: Hey, wrong table.
Rory: Since when is there a right table?
Luke: Since the coffee cake I baked for you and the stupid balloons I blew up are at that table, over there.
Rory: You blew up balloons for me?
Rory: Oh, Luke, you old softie.
Luke: I count to three, it’s gone.
Rory: Thank you.
Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 6 — “Rory’s Birthday Parties”
Sookie: Hey. I was just looking for your paprika.
Luke: What have I said about the counter?
Sookie: I know.
Luke: How the counter is a sacred space. MY sacred space. You don’t do yoga on the Dalai Lama’s mat and you don’t come behind my counter, period.
Sookie: I was trying to help.
Luke: (to Lorelai) You bring her again and I want her on a leash. I mean it.
Sookie: He does make a damn find burger though.
Gilmore Girls – Season 1: Episode 5 – “Cinnamon’s Wake”
Rory: What’s that?
Luke: You look like you need pie.
Rory: I do?
Luke: Violent pencil tossing usually signals the need for pie.
Rory:What if I’d thrown a pen?
Luke: I would’ve brought you a trout.
Luke: I don’t make the rules, I just carry them out.
[Lorelai comes in]
Lorelai: Hey, backwards baseball hat – new look for you. She’s eating pie? Did she even have dinner?
Luke: You raised her, I just serve.
Gilmore Girls — Season 2: Episode 4 — “The Deer-Hunters”