Sam has been bargaining.

He wakes up in the night and cries, then he comes around to something that makes him feel better about Natalya’s death. He considers sparkles and whether he can be with her again.

He finds a way to think of it so that the separation is in some way not complete and not final. He cannot take the finality of it.

As an onlooker, I can see this. He is trying to find any way he can to make her less dead. I’ve not intervened. It’s strange to grieve as a two-year-old when I can grieve with an adult’s emotional and cognitive skills. But he needs to do it. Integration is not a matter of me creating some kind of perfect, healed nest of a person for them to just pop themselves into, whole. There’s a kind of meeting halfway that needs to be done. So I’m letting him grieve in his own way and on his own time. Nata held him and sang him lullabies when he was scared. It’s his loss too, and not just mine.

Yesterday, he began to remember her death. It came to him as a flashback as he was near sleep. They are hitting her and he can’t make them stop. He wants to save her. He can’t. He’s too little.

He struggles with this for a while. Is she mad I didn’t save her?

It’s not that she didn’t ask. Spasi menya. That’s what he remembers

Save me.

When he gets past this, he is left with only heartbreak. I couldn’t save her. He just says this and cries. I couldn’t save her.

No, you couldn’t save her. That is the tragedy for me. I wanted to save her and I couldn’t. It is like a thing living on in my body, that desire to protect.

You can say, No, it wasn’t your fault. But that’s a different problem. That’s a response to guilt. Guilt is a different emotion. This desire to protect and save doesn’t have a simple answer that way. You can’t relieve it with a few words.

I couldn’t save her.

It’s a completely different kind of pain.