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“只管爱我,妈。我在这里!”

更新时间:2016-12-9 10:17:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Loving My Son, After His Death
“只管爱我,妈。我在这里!”

I can feel their unasked questions. People wonder how I can still stand, still walk, still laugh. But they don’t ask. You can’t ask that of a mother who has lost her child. My son, Daniel, died three years ago at the age of 22. When people ask me, “How… are you?,” that pause, that inflection, tells me that’s really what they want to know.

我能感觉到那些没有问出口的问题。人们想知道,我怎么还能站着,还能走路,还能发笑。不过他们没有问。他们不能向一个失去孩子的母亲问这些问题。我的儿子丹尼尔(Daniel)三年前22岁时去世。当人们问我“你……还好吗”?他们的停顿和语调的变化让我知道,他们是真的想知道。

I am tempted to tell them that it is I who am lost, not he. I am lost in my search for him, knowing he is nowhere on this earth. And still, it would not surprise me if he were to appear by my side wearing only his jersey boxers eating a snack at the kitchen counter. At times I can almost smell his warm cheesy breath and his still-boyish sweat. But when I look over my shoulder, he is not there.

我很想告诉他们,迷失的人是我,不是他。我在寻找他的过程中迷失了自己,知道他不在这个世界的任何一个角落。不过,如果他突然出现在我身旁,只穿着运动短裤,坐在厨房的操作台边吃零食,我也不会感到意外。有时,我几乎能闻到他温暖的奶酪味呼吸和他依然具有男孩气息的汗味。但是当我回头看时,他不在那里。

My mind invents stories. Daniel is not dead; he is lamenting the performance of his fantasy football team with high school buddies while they wait on line for ice cream at Magic Fountain. He is in his dorm room at Stanford, talking deep into the night with his friends. Daniel is lingering with new friends on the rooftop of his investment firm in Boston where he just started working.

我开始在头脑中编故事。丹尼尔没有死,他正和高中的伙伴们在Magic Fountain冰激凌店一边排队一边哀叹着他的幻想足球队的成绩。他正在斯坦福大学的宿舍里,和朋友们谈话到深夜。他正在刚开始工作的一家波士顿投资公司的天台上和新朋友们交流。

“Where are you, Daniel?” I shout the question to the sky when I am strong enough to bear the silence that follows. “Why did you die?” Even that has no real answer. His doctors think Daniel died of new onset refractory status epilepticus, or Norse, a rare seizure disorder in which healthy people with no history of epilepsy suddenly begin to seize uncontrollably. The majority of patients die or survive with significant brain damage. There is no identified cause or established treatment for Norse. This cloud of uncertainty does not obscure what I know: My child is dead.

“你在哪里,丹尼尔?”当我足够强大,能够承受随之而来的沉默时,我对着天空大喊。“你为什么会死?”甚至连这个问题也没有真正的答案。医生们认为丹尼尔死于顽固性癫痫持续状态新发作(new onset refractory status epilepticus,简称Norse),一种罕见的癫痫,没有任何癫痫史的健康人突然开始不由自主地抽搐。大部分患者不管能不能活下来,都会出现严重的脑损伤。Norse没有确定的病因或成熟的治疗方法。然而这些不确定性并不妨碍我确知的一件事:我的孩子死了。

The instinct to protect one’s offspring runs through mothers of virtually all species. I violated the basic canon of motherhood. I failed to protect my child. That my child is dead while I still live defies the natural order.

几乎所有物种的母亲都具有保护后代的本能。我违背了做母亲的这一基本准则。我没能保护自己的孩子。我的孩子死了,而我还活着,这违背自然秩序。

I love my husband and our two surviving children, but I couldn’t simply transfer my love for Daniel to them. It was for him alone. And so, for the longest time after his death, my love for Daniel bruised me.

我爱我丈夫以及我们的另外两个还活着的孩子,但我不能把我对丹尼尔的爱转移到他们身上。那是只属于他的爱。所以,在丹尼尔死后的很长时间里,我对他的爱让我伤痕累累。

So unbearable was my occluded heart that I called out to him in desperation one day: “What will I do with my love for you, Daniel?”

我郁结的心脏难以承受这种痛苦,有一天,我在绝望中向他大声呼喊:“我该怎么处置我对你的爱,丹尼尔?”

My eyes were closed in grief when suddenly I seemed to see him before me, his arms bent and lifted upward in supplication. In my mind’s eye, his face was suffused with love and tinged with exasperation, a common look for Daniel.

我悲伤地闭上眼睛,突然之间,我好像看见他出现在我面前,他的胳膊弯曲着向上举起,做出祈祷的样子。我透过脑海中的眼睛,看见他的脸充满爱,带着一丝恼怒——那是丹尼尔的常见表情。

“Just love me, Mom,” he says.

“只管爱我,妈,”他说。

“But where are you?” I ask.

“但是你在哪里?”我问道。

“I’m here!” he answers with frustration. And then he is gone.

“我在这里!”他沮丧地回答。然后他走了。

I had not heard his voice since the day before he suddenly fell ill. I spoke to him while he lay unseeing and unmoving in the hospital bed. I told him I loved him. I begged him to speak to me. I begged him to come back to me. He never answered or moved to squeeze my hand. The only flicker from him over his 79 days of hospitalization was a single tear. One day a tear slid from his left eye down his cheek and disappeared beneath his chin.

从他突然犯病前那一天起,我再也没有听到过他的声音。他躺在病床上,看不见、动不了的时候,我跟他说话。我对他说我爱他。我恳求他跟我说话。我恳求他回到我身边。他从来没有回答,也从来没有紧握我的手。在他住院的79天里,他唯一的动静就是一滴眼泪。有一天,一滴眼泪从他左眼滑落,流过脸颊,消失在下巴下面。

And now, months after he had died, I felt him before me.

而此刻,在他去世几个月后,我感觉他出现在我面前。

“Just love me, Mom. I’m here!”

“只管爱我,妈。我在这里!”

His words unleashed a torrent. I fell forward, my tears streaming. I felt breathless with release. I could continue to love him. I would love him in a new way.

他的话像是打开了我感情的闸门。我向前摔倒,眼泪奔涌而出,因为释放而无法呼吸。我可以继续爱他。我将以一种新的方式爱他。

It was harder to do than I expected. I would see him everywhere, in every full moon, in each brilliant day. My spirits would soar. But there were days when a weight in my heart made each breath shallow and every step an effort.

实际做起来比我想象中要难。我会随时随地看见他,在每一个月圆的夜晚,在每一个阳光明媚的白天。我的精神会为之一振。但在某些日子里,我的内心又无比沉重,每一次呼吸都微弱不堪,每一步都难以迈出。

On the worst days I sit before my laptop and pour out my feelings to the only person who can take in my sorrow and remain unbowed. The keyboard is damp when the final refrain leaves my fingertips: I love you, Daniel, I love you. I miss you. I miss you. And then I press “send.”

感觉最糟糕的时候,我坐在笔记本电脑前,向唯一一个可以把我的悲伤照单全收而不被击垮的人发泄我的情感。当我用指尖敲出最后的叠句时,泪水打湿了键盘:我爱你,丹尼尔,我爱你。我想你。我想你。然后,我按下“发送”按钮。

Daniel’s friends continue to visit us. It is a pilgrimage of sorts. My heart tightens when I see them. Their presence illuminates our immeasurable loss.

丹尼尔的朋友们仍然会来看望我。带着点儿朝觐的意味。每当看到他们,我的心都会猛地收紧。他们的存在时刻提醒着我们,我们的损失是多么无可估量。

His friends reveal to me how much Daniel meant to them. Now there will be a missing groomsman at the wedding and empty air in the place of a steadfast friend. At the end of one visit, a young man asks, “Recognize this sweater?” I don’t. “It’s Daniel’s,” he explains. I suddenly recognize Daniel’s old cotton sweater stretched to fit his friend. The young man folds forward to touch the sleeves of the sweater, hugging himself. He is tall and blond and athletic. He and Daniel were opposites in looks and temperament, best friends since nursery school. He had just returned from Moscow where he was working. “I wear this when I travel,” he says, touching the arm of the sweater again. “It’s so soft.”

丹尼尔的朋友告诉我,他对他们来说非常重要。现在,一场即将举办的婚礼会缺少一名伴郎,原本留给一个铁哥们的位置会空空如也。有一次,一个年轻人在拜访即将结束的时候问我,“认出这件毛衫了吗?”“没有。”“是丹尼尔的,”他解释道。我突然认出,他身上那件有些紧绷的棉毛衫是丹尼尔的。那个年轻人俯身抱紧了自己,两手抚摸着毛衫的袖子。他个子高高的,一头金发,很健壮。他和丹尼尔不论在外貌上还是性格上都截然不同,但自打上幼儿园起就是最好的朋友。他在莫斯科工作,刚刚回国。“我旅行的时候会穿上这件衣服,”他一边说,一边再度触摸毛衫的袖子。“它非常柔软。”

I encourage Daniel’s friends to tell me about their work and their plans for the future. At first they are self-conscious, and their voices are tender. They don’t want to hurt me with their future plans when there is no future for Daniel. But as they speak of the things they will do and the places they will go, their excitement breaks free. I smile into the glow of their unlined, earnest faces and I feel my son. I think they feel him too. For a moment we are all reunited.

我鼓励丹尼尔的朋友们告诉我他们的工作情况以及他们对未来的打算。起初,他们有些难为情,声音也很轻。在丹尼尔已经没有未来可言之际,他们不想让自己对未来的打算伤害到我。但当谈及要做的事情和要去的地方时,他们逐渐兴奋起来。他们那光洁而又恳切的脸庞上绽放的神采让我禁不住微笑,我仿佛感受到了儿子的存在。我想他们也感受到了他的存在。有一瞬间,我们全都重聚在一起。

I will carry this child for the rest of my life. He lives within me, forever a young man of 22. Others will carry him as they move forward in their lives. He will be with them when they look out to the world with compassion, when they act with determination and kindness, when they are brave enough to contemplate all the things in life that remain unknown.

这个孩子会伴我走过余生。他会活在我的心里,永远都是一个22岁的年轻人。在其他人继续自己的生活之际,他也会陪伴着他们。当他们以怜悯之心看着这个世界的时候,当他们果决而又满怀善意地行事的时候,当他们鼓足勇气去迎接生命中所有未知的时候,他与他们同在。

I still search for him, but without desperation. I look for him in others. My search is lifted by his words: “Just love me. I’m here.”

我仍然在寻找他,但已不再绝望。我在其他人身上寻找他的影子。我的寻找因为他的话而振奋了起来:“只管爱我。我在这里。”

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