Beautifully written. I often chastised myself for grieving my wife’s first miscarriage. I often wonder to this day, if that little life was a girl. I hate it when people refer to the fetus as an IT. It is a Thou according to Martin Buber.:
Does the tree then have consciousness, similar to our own? I have no experience of that. But thinking that you have brought this off in your own case, must you again divide the indivisible? What I encounter is neither the soul of a tree nor a dryad, but the tree itself.
But it can also happen, if will and grace are joined, that as I contemplate the tree I am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an It. The power of exclusiveness has seized me.
I can dissolve it into a number, into a pure relation between numbers, and eternalize it.
Your words mirror the words of my favorite Jew who happens to be a philosopher. The verb “to be” is all we need to do to honor the memory of our fallen children as fathers. As children, we honor the memory of our fallen parents, and so on. We celebrate the living despite our uncontrollable grief. We become a tree through grieving. Their leaves shake with our tears. It is no longer becomes a tree, a fetus, a girl or a boy, but a Thou. The apple of God’s eye.
I think you understand. Your words were perfectly accurate and all-encompassing. Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss.
Verbs can only be past, present, or future. They can never be all-encompassing, so they can never claim perfect accuracy.
And somehow, in this moment, verb tenses — was, is, will be, would have been, was being, will have been — defy their stubborn nature: they all become a single mysterious, eternal, all-encompassing tense.