Baby's First Double Ear Infection!


March 28 2012

I said I wanted to go. Even though I didn't really want to go. But I felt like I was supposed to want to go. Or something.

So we went. I drove my mom back to the cemetary, back past the funeral staging area where we waited in our cars for what felt like forever, in the cold and the rain. Where I had stared out the window and told Jason I wanted to be cremated, then stared at my feet and silently regretted my choice of footwear. 

The weather was beautiful this year, so we parked farther away, where the car wouldn't possibly get in the way of any other funeral. We started walking down the grassy aisles and I silently regretted my choice of stroller. I should have brought the sturdier one, not the cheap car seat stroller frame that got stuck on every lump and divot in the ground. The ground that was full of bodies. 

My mom got turned around and confused about the rows. The rows and rows of identical markers, so we marched up one and then had to turn around and the stroller got caught on a bit of raised earth around the corner of a headstone -- a dead stranger's headstone, oh my God, I'm sorry, I'm sorry -- and I felt small, quiet waves of panic and nausea deep within my chest as I pushed my baby back down another narrow row, back over the ground that was full of bodies.

My mom has visited every week -- she says it helps, to see a physical reminder of his life, to feel a connection to his spirit. But today she can't find "him" because we took a different path in, because of the stroller. The flowers she had delivered on Sunday are already gone, so there's nothing to do but check the numbers on the back of the markers and keep counting down the rows. Until we find him. Him.

My mom kisses the headstone and talks to him. She tells him I am there, and Baby Ike is there, and I am fully plunged into a silent internal freak-out because no. No. He is not here. He is not here at all. I am not introducing my baby to a patch of ground and a stone; I am not contemplating what lies beneath us; what lies all around us. Loss, death, decay.

My mom asks if I want to take a picture. I have no idea what I want anymore, or what I'm supposed to want to do. But I take a picture anyway. Then another. Then my phone freezes up and won't take any more pictures. I get annoyed with it on principle, for some reason. 

"I'm not good with cemetaries," I say very quietly, as if this was a Thing, a Quirk, some established known fact about me. Here Lies Amy Corbett Storch: She didn't like the phone, volcanoes, raw onions and cemetaries. 

I'd never set actually foot in a cemetary before. His funeral didn't even count; it was way over there, in a gazebo, away from this field and this ground, this ground full of bodies and everywhere I step I'm doing spatial math about the length of the average casket and whether I'm walking directly above a body. On a body? A body who was someone's loved one and here I am pushing a stroller frame on top of them? I should have used the Ergo, I should have stayed on the pavement until I knew where we were going, I should...

I should not have come here.

This is awful. I feel awful. And not just about the headstones and the ground full of bodies. As I stare at his name etched in marble, he has never felt more...gone. It has never felt so final and complete than it does in this moment. 

"I'm not good with cemetaries" I whisper again. My chest is tight and my breathing is shallow. I want to leave. I want to leave and I don't want to come back. 

My mom understands. She understands completely. She says we can go, so we do. 


We stop for breakfast on the way back. Ike eats a plate of scrambled eggs and a bowl of strawberries and bananas. The mess is terrific, but the waitresses don't seem to mind because he's smiling at them in between double-fisted mouthfuls. An old friend calls because she wants to meet the baby; my mother-in-law offers to take him later so my mom and I can go out for dinner together. After that, I set up the Roku I bought her for Christmas and we watch Downton Abbey.

I spend the rest of the day above the ground, where it's easier to breathe. And before I know it, I wake up. And it was Thursday.



Beautifully written. I feel the same way and appreciate your poignant articulation.


Amy, I'm so sorry for your loss. I agree, I have the same phobia of walking across graves. Go cuddle your little guys. :)


Oh, Amy. I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. My dad has been gone almost 18 years, and I think I've been to the cemetery fewer than five times. I feel the same way you do about it, and then I feel guilty. I just can't feel close to him there.

I'm so glad Wednesday is behind you, at least for another year. Sending good thoughts for comfort and peace for you and your family.


Hugs to you. I feel the same way about cemetaries... always like I'm out of place & doing the wrong things, stepping in the wrong places.


Oh, but you were so brave and strong to go.


Oh, Amy. Bless you and your mom during this rough time. I was raised by my grandparents, and this year will be the 10 year anniversary of my grandfather's passing. It's hard for you now, and I can't really pinpoint at what time it started to become easier for me. Hugs.


You know all your readers love you and are sending waves of hugs and comfort from all over the country to you. Including me. I'm sorry, Amy.


It was probably good that you went -- at least for your mother, if not for yourself.

My father passed away a few months before yours but I have not visited his grave yet. I wanted to wait until there was a marker and have not been back to my hometown since it was installed.

I actually like cemeteries a lot and have gone in them for many reasons other than to visit the resting places of loved-ones (bird watching, genealogy, leisurely stroll). My mother, like you, does not do well in cemeteries.


I'm sorry. That sounds hideously hard.

A dear friend of mine, a 40yo mom of 4, starts chemo next week. Bilateral mastectomy scheduled for next month. Every time I look at my kids I think of her and feel like I can't breath. Fucking cancer.


I don't do very well with them either. He's not there girl, but he's not gone either. Thinking of you!


Sending you a big hug and a bottle of wine.


Oh, I totally get this. My mom won't go at all. My sister makes a day of it. She takes a blanket; has a chat, takes the sun, does the flowers, etc. Me...I'm somewhere in between....I take flowers, say a prayer and go, fairly running for the exit. But, we all miss them the same. I hope your dad's day will become easier for you in time, how ever you decide to commemorate it. God bless.


I am sending you hugs and prayers.


I'm glad your mother finds comfort in visiting his grave but it's not for everyone. I've never visited my father's and I know he wouldn't have minded one bit. Just like I won't mind one bit if my children never visit wherever my old bones end up.




Sending lots of love and hugs to you. Time lessens the pain but it never changes how much it sucks. I've been to my mother's grave three times in 8 years. Once for the funeral, once for the unveiling and once with my grandparents to support them. I have no desire to go, she isn't there. I have a picture of her foot stone from the unveiling because we had them engrave "I Love You" backwards because she could say anything you said to her backwards. But that's me. Everyone has their own way to feel close to their loved one, mine is to keep her memory alive. I actually think cemeteries and their history are cool, they were the first public parks, but only if I don't know who's in them! My grandparents would visit more if they lived here, their son and daughter are buried with their parents and maybe they feel that's all they have left after they've all been gone so long.


Beautiful and honest, just like it's writer. xoxoxoxo


You write so beautifully, Amy. You can be SO funny, but also SO heartfelt and share such deep, vulnerable emotions.

I'm sorry you have to go through this. I'm sorry you had to experience something as awful as losing a parent. Thank you, though.

Much love. xo


I don't like cemeteries either. Like you I almost feel like I'm violating people by stepping on their graves. I would rather remember my loved ones in pictures and stories and memories - not looking at a headstone in a field of other headstones. That's not the person you remember. It doesn't make you love or miss your dad any less because you feel uncomfortable there. I'm glad you went for your mom but sorry it was so hard for you.


((Hug)) My heart aches for you.

Plano Mom

About five years ago it was discovered that the manager of the cemetery where my father is (was?) buried had been secretly moving bodies and reselling plots. So as of this moment we have a headstone for my father, but we actually have no idea where his body is located. And I'm okay with that, because now I don't have to feel obligated to visit. Not hoping this happens for you, but I am hoping that you don't feel you have to support your Mom in this any more.


No words of wisdom, no "I've been through this too" (because I haven't). Just a hug through the internet from a stranger.


I've been thinking about you all week. You made it honey....that first , awful year is over.
Sending hugs.


He is not there, he is with you & in the twinkle of your sons' smiling eyes.

This poem, was sent to me after my mom passed. It still gives me peace & comfort every year on 'that day', so I pass it on to you:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.


I am so glad that day is over. Hugs to you.

Thank you for reminding me there's no easy answer. My mom chose cremation and I have wished for a grave because I don't know where to go. My dad spread her ashes all over the damn place, from CA to RI, and a dozen places inbetween. Right now that sounds way better than what you just went through. Ergo for sure.


(((hugs))) Just (((hugs))) because sometimes, words are unnecessary and really clumsy.


It will get easier, I PROMISE.

My mom likes to go to the cemetery also - I think tidying there helps her feel better. Maybe it is generational?

I do NOT go there - unless she has no one to drive her, I do not go. I also don't feel he is THERE. I like to feel his spirit around me - I feel like I feel it more when I ask for his guidance with tough decisions, but I do not feel like his spirit is there. But, to each his own, if that is what helps her feel better, so be it.

It gets easier.


I feel the same way about cemeteries. Though it's not the same as loosing a parent, the first time I visited the cemetery where my grandparents were buried (who I was very close with, and who died within a year of each other) I was left shaken. I haven't been back and that was almost 10 years ago.


Sending hugs and encouragement, as much as that is possible from a stranger over the internet.


Also, I'm sending lots of good thoughts your way.

Take care.

Life of a Doctor's Wife



My father, when he died (a few months before yours), wanted to donate his body to science. It turns out that it's not so much a donation as "paying someone to take your dead body" and it's very expensive. Dad found a place that would take your organs and tissues for study an then cremates what's left and returns the ashes to...wherever. He died the weekend before Thanksgiving, so most of our friends and family needed to arrange travel. The funeral got pushed back to mid-December. The morning of the funeral, a box arrived. It was, of course, his remains. His cremains


It's ok - in my situation I haven't been back THERE either.


And I don't think this makes me a bad or weak person.

Trust me, I still remember every day, I don't need to go THERE to remember it.

Just.... *hugs*


I'm sorry, Amy. For your loss and your heartbreak and everything that's come along with it.


My Dad's ashes are in a cardboard box stuffed behind my Mom's headboard. They arrived via UPS the morning of his memorial service, and my mom stuck them there. She doesn't know what to do with them.

Maybe the most surprising thing in my life is that they don't mean anything. The're not him. They're not his laugh, or his deep generosity, his love for his grandchildren. They're not how much he loved pickles or watching the birds from his deck. They''re not him.

Those other things are him.


My Dad's ashes are in a cardboard box stuffed behind my Mom's headboard. They arrived via UPS the morning of his memorial service, and my mom stuck them there. She doesn't know what to do with them.

Maybe the most surprising thing in my life is that they don't mean anything. The're not him. They're not his laugh, or his deep generosity, his love for his grandchildren. They're not how much he loved pickles or watching the birds from his deck. They''re not him.

Those other things are him.


I hope you can feel the trillions of internet hugs coming at you. (1.4 million of them are from me.)


My heart is breaking for you. I actually love cemeteries. I am a little weirded out by the thought of walking across the placement of caskets/bodies, but I think the place itself is so beautiful and peaceful. That being said, I haven't been back out to visit my mother's site since we buried her cremains. But that's a whole 'nother story altogether. I wish you peace. Do what feels right to you, not what you think is expected of you.


I don't like cemetaries either. I know lots of people (including my husband's family) who find comfort in visiting cemetaries, taking flowers, talking to headstones.... I (like you described) find it uncomforable and weird. I sometimes feel bad that I don't go "visit" my father even and his cremated remains are in a small plot in my church's garden. I walk by them at least once a week. I like that there's a rememberance there, a reminder that he existed but I don't feel he's really in that spot and so don't find comfort in stopping by to visit. Anyway, as always, thanks for sharing your (very personal and sometimes painful) experiences and I for one find comfort and or a kinmanship in them.


Your family is in my thoughts.


Oh, Amy. I wish there were something, really I do, more than mere words. Not even sure my words do my feelings justice, but know that I am thinking of your family.

Becca Lynn

I am so completely sorry. I wish it wasn't so hard, but just know that all of us could say something, anything, to make it better.

For now, I wish you wine. And strength, until next year.


You write so beautifully Amy even on something so difficult. Cemeteries aren't for everyone. I'm one that loves going to where my mom is buried but I don't necessarily feel close to her there. It just happens to be in a beautiful, quiet place. I can only go maybe once a year (it's a 6 hour drive) but I take us both a coffee...yes I pour one in the ground for her - and take that time to just be still and think about her - about my life. I cry, I laugh - I likely look like a raving ass drunk...but it's once a year. The women in the flower store only speak french but they know I like 4 roses in different colours with the thorns for each of her kids. When I brought my son the first time, they celebrated like we were old friends...and added a new rose. YOu just need to remember him in a way that makes you happy. And I do promise - while the emptiness is never really gone (11 years for me now), the first year is by far the hardest. Hang in there!


Wow. You have such a way with words. So effortless. Or it seems that way. It wasn't even 1/2 way down your post and I was crying.

My father died 24 years ago of cancer. I was 10. I remember seeing his body in the casket at the wake and not believing it was real. I do not remember the funeral at all. I have a sense of memory about the cemetary. I would not be able to tell you what the weather was like, but I think it was overcast as I don't remember sun on the patio at the reception at our house. I can't remember if I cried.

Its amazing what comes flooding back when you return to spaces. Smells. Feelings. My grandfather died 8 years after my father. I was 18, I had come home for his funeral 1 week after starting my freshman year of college.

When my mother called me to tell me that he died. I told her that I wouldn't come home. I yelled, cried. Picked a fight and initally refused to come home. My mom told me she needed me to. I didn't want to, I couldn't do it. I would miss the first day of classes. I was absolutely teenagery vile to someone who just lost their dad.

I did get on the plane. When I got off and saw my mom (pre-9/11 obviously) I burst into tears. I cried the whole way back to our house, mostly apologizing for how horrible I had been on the phone the day before. We proceeded to prepare for the services and as we entered the funeral home for his wake the smell of lilies hit me right as we were going to enter the room and I burst into hysterical sobs. It was exactly the same. The flowers, the body waiting in the casket. You just never know what is lying beneath. What's going to hit you, how you're feeling and the pain never really goes away.

I was able to gain composure and remain by my mother's side, but even all these years later I still can't smell lilies with out taking a small moment to regain my composure.

All the best to you and yours during this difficult time. I truly wish I could say it gets easier, but in truth that statement really is all relative. Hang in there :).


Some people, like your mom take comfort in going to the cemetery to "visit" their loved one... personally, I feel very much the same as you and would prefer to honor my loved one in my own way.

Again, I am so sorry.


I haven't been to the cemetery in the 7 years since my son died. I can't. So I understand. I'm not good with them either. ((Hugs))


Thank you for sharing this experience and writing about it. Holding y'all in the light.


Cemetaries are difficult. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. Hugs.



I don't even know what else to say.

Suzy Q

Sigh. Parental death is so hard. Hugs to you, Amy.

We still have my dad's ashes because we don't quite know what to do with them.

Lovely poem, Michele, thanks for sharing.

not supergirl

So sorry for all the pain.


so sorry. I don't like cemetaries, for the reasons you say. I even had my sweet dog cremated- we scattered his ashes in the backyard where he loved to be.


You got me crying, Amy. I'm so sorry...


I can't do lilies either. :(

It's been 12 years for me since I lost my Dad, 10 for my Mom. It took a long time for me to work through my grief, but when I was ready... I can feel them around me. Both of them.

I'm so sorry. That first year is the hardest. It never gets easier, but the pain isn't as raw.


I don't mind cemeteries, but I hate, HATE viewings. I think it's barbaric to stand around staring at a dead person. My parents insisted on an open casket at my brother's viewing, and I hated them for guilting me into going. I didn't want to go. I told them they could gawk at his body all they wanted, but I wanted to remember him alive. They convinced me that I could come and just "slip in the back", but somebody shoved me forward and i saw him dead. I hate them for that. My mom whispered to me, "This is how I need to say goodbye" and i wanted to punch her. Yeah, what about me?

Anyway, after all that they didn't even bother to tell me where they ended up burying his cremains. I had to pull a Nancy Drew and find out myself.

We've gone three times since and I am glad. It helps remind me that he lived, he was here, even if his life was cut short. The first year is always the hardest. That's not to say it gets "better." But as Peg Bracken said, "You don't learn to live with it. You live around it, around the edges."


the important thing is that you made it through wednesday. i thought about you all day


The only cemeteries I've been to out here don't have headstones, they only have those brass plaques directly on the ground. And when they set up for a graveside service, they put folding chairs out in neat rows; folding chairs which then actually stand on the brass plates. That's been the worst part of the funerals I've had to go to.
Hugs to you. You made it through Wednesday! Yay?

Sarah @

Like a few other commenters, I find cemeteries to be peaceful and I enjoy spending time there. I can visit loved ones or wander through and just spend some time thinking about and honoring people who are gone who I didn't know. I take my daughter with me to the cemetery - it's important to me that she's familiar with death before it affects her personally by taking someone she knows - and sometimes while we're there we wander to the older graves or to the graves that are less visited and we just try to find little ways to show our respect.

That said, I don't like every cemetery - or every facet of a cemetery. Mausoleums really bother me. They seem so much less personal: they echo, it's just these endless rows and columns of bodies, I feel disoriented, they're cold. Also, my dad works for a construction company that once built a mausoleum for a cemetery and they didn't make the drainage pipes deep enough - so rats dug down and then climbed up and nibbled at the corpses. One day someone was visiting their grandmother and they heard scratching and squeaking behind the facade and they (UNDERSTANDABLY) panicked. I can't get that out of my head. Every time I'm in a mausoleum, I think of that. And if there are just cases and cases of urns that pile higher than my head, I can't discern between the individuals and the sheer quantity of dead people overwhelms me.

Cemeteries aren't for everyone, just like raw onions. The way I figure it is that you loved your father uniquely during his life - for unique characteristics, unique memories, and a unique relationship - and it makes sense that you would mourn him and honor his life in your own unique way as well. Who knows? When my father dies, I might not turn out to be so much of a cemetery person after all.

I'm sending you love and hugs and the very best wishes. I'm so sorry that your family has had to deal with this - with any of it. It isn't fair and it totally sucks.

And the cemetery where my uncle


I just want to hug you so badly.


I understand, I don't do cemeteries either. Or the telephone. Or raw onions. No volcano's in PA but I don't do tornadoes.

Sue C

So beautifully written. I find peace in cemeteries because I used to visit them frequently with my father when he was doing genealogy. He would explain how all the people were related and sometimes little stories about their lives. My father died last May. This May we will place his ashes in the cemetery I visited so often with him. Now I will visit because it is his turn. I hope to still find peace there.

Sue C




We visited my husband's grandfather at the cemetery over the weekend and he and I have different thoughts about it. He kept scolding our oldest for running around on the grass, whereas I figure if you want to be buried part of the whole life cycle is becoming part of the ground that grows the grass where the next generation will run and play. I like looking at the really old (100+ year) headstones and finding family plots and seeing how people relate. That said, I haven't lost a parent and I imagine that would make it a lot harder to visit. I'm so sorry (again) about your dad, but I'm glad you were able to be with your mom this week.


I'm glad you got through the day. For me, the second anniversary was harder than the first. I hope next year is easier.

By the way, my dad is in a cowboy boot. Well, an urn shaped like a cowboy boot. It even has a spur. He hated cemeteries too.


It took me 4 years to go visit my brother's grave. It took me 6 to go and visit the crash site where he died. It's really okay if you don't want to go there. We all process and feel grief in our own way and in our own time. Don't feel like you have to do anything you don't want to. It has been twelve years now, and I still miss him just as much, but at least I can breath in and out now without having to remember to.


And soon it will be Saturday. I hope it gets easier. Hugs for you, so many hugs.


I'm so sorry. I hold you and your family in my thoughts and I wish I could do more.


First and foremost I'm so very sorry for your loss. I had conflicting thoughts while reading this. I wanted to comfort you or help you by giving you a new perspective. But then I realized you're not asking for help. My desire to do that came solely from my desire to help someone I've never met in person but who's been so generous to share their lives with us to the point that I've started to care about you and your happiness as a person. Your an amazing writer, a fabulously funny and intelligent woman, and a brilliant mom. I'm ok in cemeteries but I'm terrible at comforting people who've experienced a loss like this. I hope things normalize for you soon and am sending loads of love your way for you and your family.


Oh, Amy. Fuck cancer. I know how you feel about cemeteries. One thought that helped me was that he isn't really there. His physical body might be there, and a memorial to tell people what his name was and when he lived may be there, but he isn't there. He is in you, with you, every time you remember him. And every time you tell your boys about him, you keep him alive another generation. Cancer can't take that from you!!
P.S. I don't even know what sort of emotional state I'm in, but I cried for about 10 minutes reading your post. Haha.




I definitely share many of your feelings, but something has happened. We put our dog to sleep this week, which is the closest loss I've suffered. I miss my grandparents and loved them, but this is categorically different. And hard. Our dog was cremated, and I can not imagine not having at least some of her ashes in an urn so she is with us forever. I've never felt the need to visit a grave, but am starting to think I would if it were my husband, son, or maybe parents who died.


Yes, yes to all of this. My mom died suddenly January 2nd and although she is buried not 10 minutes from my house, I haven't been since that day. And unless my 4 year old daughter someday asks to go, I'm not sure I ever will. I don't take comfort in her grave. It is not her, she is not there. Feeling this way gives me a tremendous amount of guilt and yet... and yet.


When my fiance's mother died suddenly, unexpectedly, a few weeks before our wedding, we immediately cancelled all of our plans. Later this spring, once the one year anniversary of her death passes, we will be quietly married in a simple ceremony with only two witnesses present. Then we will drive two hours to the little town where she is buried and I will place my wedding bouquet on her grave.


My mom died in 1990. I was 12. I haven't been back to the cemetery since the funeral and I don't regret it one bit. That's not how I choose to remember my mother.

Hugs to you.


Really beautifully written, Amy, which, if I gather correctly, your father appreciates. Your artistry and emotion blends elegantly. It sounds like you managed with both your mom and kids in tow, so much to ask when we as Moms just need a few minutes alone. I thought of you this week,and will again when I am in the same position soon.


Amy~ Yours was the first blog I ever read...cant quite remember how I heard about you (magazine article?) but it was the one about going to starbucks with Noah. I was hooked. I read about 20-30 blogs and have commented maybe 2-3 times? (I'm one of those lurkers/stalkers) Your writing is so raw and real...I felt like I was with you on Wednesday. I'm so sorry for you and your family. Your 3 precious boys (I have 3 boys also) will keep getting you through the "Wednesdays". xoxo


Oh Amy - love you sweetheart, but you know HE is not there, could never be there, so far, far away. It sucks, those places - I haven't spent enough time there either, (for other people) but it is so far, far away from where he is. He is with you now- with those kids - every day -- even when he seems so far far away.


it's not easy. but those places make it harder. Those places do not help me at all either.

your doing great.


My Daddy is buried less than half a mile away from where I live, behind the church I grew up going to. I could go there everyday if I wanted to, but I don't. When we buried my Uncle, my father's older brother, next to him two weeks ago that was the first time I'd been that close to his grave in months. And that's because of what you said, he's NOT there. He's in my nose and in my nephews boyish grin and in my niece's kindness, in the way my brother is being a good Daddy to them and always, forever and ever, in my heart. I'm sorry Amy, I know how hard it is, my thoughts are with you.


Fuck. I am so goddam sorry.


I get it. Something feels wrong to me about going there to remember my parents. I prefer the happy memories. I went to my dad's gravestone once and saw it again when I buried my mom. I haven't been back. It's just...too...gah! I hate it and I know how you feel. And I'm so, so sorry that you're hurting.


This made me tear up like crazy. I know exactly how you feel. I am 30 years old and I have been in exactly one cemetary in my life. Terrify doesn't begin to explain it. Not because of ghosties and ghoulies that Hollywood creates for us, but because I am so affraid of disrespecting someone's loved ones' space. Because the ground is full of bodies and because I don't know how to - how to BE.

I am so sorry for your loss. I am sorry you had to live that experience, and I am thankful you shared it with us. It was beautifully writeen.

Thank you.

traci martin

I skipped over this post for a couple of days. My mom has been gone for three years now and I still have not gone back to the gravesite. I knew it would make me cry, and it did, but for all the times I cry over your blog, I laugh ten times as much.
Thanks for sharing.


Oh Amy. I am so sorry. I had to hide behind the laptop so my kids didn't ask why I was crying. My husbands Dad died almost a year ago and I do not know what to say at all. I just want it to not have happened. I don't visit my Dads grave because... I hate going. Sounds awful but I do.

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