Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is this crazy?

Last night I was going through a couple of old address books so I could send long-neglected family and friends our shiny new photo Christmas card. Among the other scribbled names and numbers was the contact information for Jesse's urologist, a guy he saw only for the purpose of preserving his sperm before the chemo began in 2004, on the chance that he'd be infertile afterward. I'd paid $400 a year to store it, until Jesse passed on, and then told them I wouldn't be paying for it further. After all, what would you do with your dead child's sperm? It seemed a bit morbid to keep it around. So I figured it had been destroyed.

Time passes. I start thinking, what if. There were little blond children strolling around the streets of Michigan, with a little of Jesse's DNA? Would that make me happier than if, as now, there were none? It certainly wouldn't be any worse. Still, there's a Pandoran hesitation to open that possibility. What if there were? Would I then be unhappy until I saw one? Knew one? How crazy could I get? So I let it go. Until last night.

Now, I've just gotten off the phone with them. The director I spoke to told me the sperm is still there. Jesse had signed a consent form to use it for experimentation if he passed on. At least, that's what she thought. She said, you can possibly transfer it to a sperm bank, I'm not sure how that works legally. That loosening of the rules of life and death all wrapped up in that word "possibly"-- possibly I could be a grandmother to children he would never know. Possibly there would be beautiful, smart little babies everywhere, or anywhere, at least. Possibly, somehow, all the care and work Jesse and I put into making him himself would be let back out into the world, projected forward one more generation. Possibly all his potential, drive, ambition, love, would spring into the future in the souls of his children. She'd said, "he was beautiful," and I said, oh you knew him? She'd said, wistfully, they're all beautiful, these young men who come in.

As I was typing this, she called back to tell me it had been destroyed, after all.

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