I’ve tried to start listening to more podcasts in the wake of Serial, but it’s hard because many of them hit close to home in an upsetting way. I listened to Radiolab’s show on value, and the value of life, and my thoughts were exactly like those described here by another babyloss mom… If I had done a show on the same topic, I would have asked much different questions, and to different people. Radiolab recently did a segment on the semantics of PTSD, during which it seemed clear that the people speculating and debating about trauma had little of their own personal experience with major trauma.

On the other hand, there have been many stories shared by survivors of the 2004 tsunami. Their experiences resonated strongly with me at the time of the tsunami; in fact, watching the coverage on TV during winter break from college was a main factor in inspiring me to pursue medical school. Now, I really know what they’re talking about. The author of Wave talks about wondering whether her whole past was even real. I’ve definitely been there. I still go there, sometimes.

Maybe I’m not quite ready for podcasts. I’m not ready for people saying anything at any time, without taking what I’ve been through into account. My thoughts and memories still aren’t solid enough yet, so I get confused and thrown off (in a way that I didn’t know was possible until the moment my son died and I had to leave his body at one hospital so I could go back to the other hospital, because I still had an open wound, a catheter, a blood count so low I couldn’t even sit up and pain so severe that I should have been on an epidural PCA instead of riding down the highway…).

Sometimes I want to rejoin the rest of the world and speculate impersonally about the monetary value of life and the semantics of PTSD and the normalcy of having children around.

But that’s not where I am. That’s not who I am right now. I don’t know how much that will change, and how much of my “new normal” is here to stay. It’s a scary and painful transition. There’s dead skin to slough off in all sorts of unexpected places, and the newly-cleared regions are so raw. I know I just used a snake analogy, but what I really feel like is e.e. cumming’s newlY born horse, only I’ve been thrust into an unwelcoming reality rather than a welcoming dream. I’m also a breathing, growing silence who is someone… someone new and unknown.

le marcassin envolé

We’ve been travelling. I’ve been listening to a lot of radio and podcasts. Often, the stories i hear bring me to think about different aspects of grief. Sometimes, they allow me to explore new facets of grief, to better understand the processes i am going through. So here are a few recent radio-induced thoughts.

Radiolab, a show i enjoy despite some of its problematic aspects (i.e. it’s is very white/western- and male-centered) tackled a complicated topic this week. Its team attempted to “put a price on the priceless”, including human life. In a conversation about what we collectively should spend on keeping people alive with the help of high-end drugs, they ask what is a month of human life is worth. How much is it ok to spend to extend someone’s life for a year? They discuss these questions with different specialists but also ask people on the street…

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