Rosalie Lightning
October 13, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

RL Book 1 is the first part of a comics series from cartoonist Tom Hart, in which he talks about the death of his two year old daughter in November last year and how he and his wife, fellow cartoonist Leela Corman, are trying to deal with their loss. Somewhat sad, as you might expect.
posted by MartinWisse (18 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Somewhat sad is like saying Mt. Everest is somewhat tall.
posted by lucasks at 11:38 AM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

Jesus Christ. I have a two year old daughter named Rosalie.

I can't look at this.

I can't.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 12:08 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by leslies at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2012

The loss of a child is a terrible thing. I now has a sad.
posted by Kitteh at 12:19 PM on October 13, 2012

What haunted my sleepless nights as a new parent and made me visit my daughter's room to check on her became true for this couple.
Rosalie Lightning was a wonderful person.
posted by hat_eater at 12:25 PM on October 13, 2012

I read about half of it, stopped, and called my parents. I forgot until I read this how powerfully my parents love me and my brother, and how it makes their day to hear from us.

I'm so sorry Rosalie is gone.
posted by rhythm and booze at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2012

The way I was able to keep going after our infant daughter died was by focusing everything on her twin sister, who needed everything we had left. I don't know how the hell I would have done it, otherwise. I hope they find a way, stay together, keep their relationship going, and go on.
posted by gurple at 12:31 PM on October 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

posted by limeonaire at 12:33 PM on October 13, 2012

I suspect some folks are going to wonder why he wrote this.

After my son died (he was 20 years old, a motorcycle accident in which he was not at fault), the depth of the grief was more that anyone can imagine they can survive, it's almost a cruelty to wake up each morning and face the pain and anger for another day.

Eventually I started writing down the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, ideas, speculations, dispair and tiny breakthroughs. There was a catharsis in putting it into words, even that day when I wrote down every detail I could remember of that night, those hours from 6 pm when he stopped by the house on his way to the park to do some portraits of a friend's children (he was a photographer), that data point at about 8:30 when my friend, the chief of police pulled into the driveway as I was sitting in a lawn chair in the yard, waiting for Sean to return, and the terrible, terrible night that followed at the hospital and back home as friends and relatives arrived in the middle of the night and sat with us. And then I sat in tears for hours, having relived it again as I wrote the words.....

Writing it down helped for some reason.... I never shared it with anyone, the files still sit in a folder on the hard drive, moving from one computer to another for the past 22 years... Every few years I read the words.... it sort of brings him back, even reliving the words brought by those horrible hours and days.

That might be why he wrote this....

peace... go hug your kids...
posted by HuronBob at 12:34 PM on October 13, 2012 [27 favorites]

Like you, HuronBob, I wrote about our experience extensively. I had been writing a blog for our girls, a private one just for friends and family. So I kind of had to write something, right then. One thing that did was keep me from having to explain everything, over and over, and I think that was valuable. But the catharsis was more important.

I've thought about trying to set it down in a different form. To fictionalize it and write a novella, or to put our story up somewhere where people in similar situations might get some help from it. Maybe I would have done that by now if I hadn't had my earlier catharsis with the blog. If I were a cartoonist, I have no doubt I'd have done something like this.

Something like this could happen to any parent... the thought of losing our remaining daughter, now that we've had a couple years with her, is horrifying. The thought of losing her after 20 years is unbearable.

You keep going, I guess. You have to.
posted by gurple at 1:03 PM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

This is devastating and heartbreaking, but I also think it's incredibly beautiful and important.

I've only met Tom Hart briefly in person (we do have friends in common) but I absolutely admire the strength he and Leela have shown. I feel honored that he shared this story in this way.
posted by darksong at 1:16 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure that I would bother to go. Out of my son's graduating class 4 young men have died cut down before 30. A snow boarder hit a tree while hot dogging. Another fell off a party boat hitting his head and drowned before anyone noticed loud music and intoxicants. The third rolled a minivan into a ditch drivers side ended up under two feet of water, the equivalent of drowning in a bathtub. Finally a month or so ago a friend was goofing with a gun, he removed the clip but didn't clear the one in the chamber, I mean who is stupid enough to store a semi-auto with a round in the chamber? Someone was. Four largely pointless deaths, all of the dead had plenty of alcohol on board dying was the last thing on their mind. I tell my boy every chance I get that adrenalin is addictive and should never be mixed with intoxicants. He has his own child now I am hoping he grows up a bit.

posted by pdxpogo at 2:14 PM on October 13, 2012

This is my biggest fear. Even the thought of my own death and disappearing into that nothingness forever, which used to (and even now still occasionally does) keep me awake at night, blinking into the darkness, doesn't hold a candle to the ache when I worry about anything ever happening to my daughter. We are comfortable, and life lulls us into a sense of complacency, but it doesn't take much -- a swerve on the highway, a run into the street for a ball, or something like the mysterious, terrible luck that took Rosalie that morning -- and everything comes to a halt. I don't know how people find the strength to crawl out of that hole, and I admire anyone who can do it.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:25 PM on October 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 3:56 PM on October 13, 2012

I would encourage you to share with people you trust. In many cases a lot of people are affected more than you might realize (grandparents, siblings, etc) and they probably feel just as helpless.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:42 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by luckynerd at 2:51 PM on October 14, 2012

posted by boxing_day at 3:36 PM on October 14, 2012

posted by sobell at 10:36 PM on October 14, 2012

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