June 29, 2010

My Beautiful Child

I want to show you everything, my beautiful child. I want to show you how big the sky is and how green the grass is. I want to show you what was here before you were born, and how many ways there are to say hello.

My beautiful child, how strong your cry is! And how bright your smile can be. I want you to smell a spring day, and crush an autumn leaf in your hand. I want to show you everything...

Lisa Desmini & Matt Mahurin, My Beautiful Child

passport envy

I've got some mad wanderlust going on. Someday I want a passport that looks like this:

photo via google

Thankfully, in less than six months I will be on a trans-pacific flight! (!!!) I am spending the holidays in Australia, and I couldn't be more excited. I would start packing, if that wasn't utterly ridiculous. But it is.

June 28, 2010

continents and countries

That last post rings so true. I remember especially my puzzle map of the United States, and the huge world map on the wall at church. I would stare, when I could, out the corner of my eye while the grownups talked overhead. Imprinting the shapes of the continents and countries and all their lovely foreign names on my brain, hoping to see them still when I closed my eyes, day or night. Dreaming when I needed to of the places that were out there, somewhere. Africa. Australia. Hawaii. New York. Brazil. London. California. Japan.

Delightful, all of them, and all for the same reason.
They were all someplace else.

I held fast to those images, to the promise that there was more to this world than the cornfields, the small town, the cows; the people who hurt me, and the ones who didn't see me being hurt. I wanted to go, go anywhere. Spin the globe, and where my finger lands... well, who cares? Let me get on an airplane, or a train, or a boat. It can't be all bad. It can't be as bad as here.


I'm not trapped among the cows and the corn anymore. I got on a plane and flew away, to one of the magical places on my map -- the Golden State, no less. But I still love the lines and the colors and the promises: This place is right here, I swear. Just travel this many inches or miles and you'll arrive. If you believe it -- if you have the time and the energy and a little bit of money -- you can cross your fingers and set out to see it for yourself.

And thank you, I think I will.

the lasting allure of unknown places

When you were smaller than the length of your mother's arm, you would close your eyes and place your index finger squarely on the map. You drew wild concentric circles, blindly cutting across the Pacific Ocean, sweeping through the Russian wheat fields, around the icy hills of Greenland, and into the green bays of Africa. After a deep breath you opened your eyes to your next adventure, and you would fly as far as your imagination could carry you to the unknown places on your tattered map.

words via paperface, photos via bing

June 26, 2010

gainfully employed

I got a job, so I'm working now for the first time in over a year. And I'm tired. There's really not much else to say, at the moment.

I hope you don't mind.

June 22, 2010

slip, slide, perish

Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.

--T.S. Eliot

June 20, 2010


Hard night, last night. I can't stop thinking about Noah these last few days, and reliving my loss left me sleepless and dismayed.

I didn't grieve fully, at the the time. I put my pain away too quickly, as I was used to doing. Now I want to feel it. Want to, and don't want to. For who welcomes pain? We usually go to such lengths to avoid it, don't we? But my son deserves to be mourned.

When it happened, I was still afraid of what other people would think. I was still afraid of being a burden, still afraid that the people around me would get tired of me, ask me to move along. A new grief, seriously? Could you please get a grip, and stop letting these things happen to you? (My imagination can be my worst enemy, at times.) So I kept it to myself, as much as I could. I put it away, behind some other things. First things first, I told myself. But now it's at the front of my mind, again.

I want people to know. I want to be able to talk about him, to share him. For him to be thought of as a real person, and not some replacable object, some interchangable thing. All babies are precious, but even if I have more children someday, children who live, no other baby will be Noah.

Does anyone understand that?

I want to be able to say: Noah would have loved that. Noah would have been beautiful. I miss Noah, right now. And have people look me in the eye, instead of away, and just agree. It doesn't always have to be sad! I'm sorry he died, but I'm not sorry he lived. I won't pretend that none of it ever happened, or act like it doesn't matter that it did.

June 18, 2010

what it means

"And in the Gospel of John: 'Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer.'"

"What does that mean?"

"It means," Aid says slowly in his grating voice, "that we're all brothers."

Erik Fosnes Hansen, Tales of Protection (Part II)

June 16, 2010


Sometimes the words come easily, flowing out of me so fast my pen can hardly keep up, small words skipped entirely, my handwriting a barely intelligible scrawl. But other times it's torturous, pushing the words down my arm and out through stiff and uncooperative fingers. And yet the drive to write is there, on both kinds of days. Maddening, really.

June 15, 2010


It's frustrating, sometimes, to talk to people who have never been anywhere. They say things so matter-of-factly, as if it couldn't be any other way.


I'm so distracted today. Not sure what to blame it on. I spent the entire morning online, reading blogs written by other baby-lost mamas. It was good to see those stories, and know that I'm not the only one feeling the things I feel. But I've had trouble focusing on anything else since then. I got called for a job interview, which is encouraging. I was still going to go out and pick up some more applications, but I ended up driving around town for half an hour without actually getting anywhere. So I decided I'd better just take the rest of the day off. I feel... I feel slightly dissociated. I feel like I've not gone very far, but still I'm not completely inside my body. As if my body were only wearing me, like some kind of ethereal garment. A dress, maybe. A sweater draped over my own shoulders. A long, hooded cloak. Yes, that's it. I feel like a hooded cloak.

I have a headache. The sunlight is hurting my eyes.

finding happiness

Happiness is when what you say, what you think, and what you do are in perfect harmony. --Mahatma Gandhi

escaping the bad thing

She noticed that she was about to lose her balance again, forced herself to stay erect. And suddenly it semed to her that this was just a repetition of something, that she had undergone this before; she thought about what she had done as a child, when she had wanted to escape the bad thing, then she had just closed her eyes and said kare kare kare, ma ma ma, without a sound; she had floated away and let everything happen to her, and she had survived, because she had a golden place far behind her eyelids that no one knew about, behind kare kare kare, ma ma ma, where she was alone and nothing could reach her.

Erik Fosnes Hansen, Tales of Protection

June 14, 2010

interior renovations

It's astonishing, really, how much love I've discovered can fit inside of a person. I used to have a lot of empty space in me; dark and cobwebby places, with a few mouldering boxes, damp on the bottom, marked DO NOT OPEN. But I've done a lot of work since then. Opened windows, let in the light, chased out the spiders. Dumped out the boxes, sorted their contents, threw most of it away. I'm still busy, scrubbing down walls, moving a few things I already had to a place of honor, and preparing space for more: Courage. Hope. Strength. Love.

Turns out, I've got lots more room for love.

June 13, 2010

hello, cupcake

I had a little party at the park. The guest of honor coudn't make it, but it was a nice party anyway.

A red-velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing (mommy's favorite), topped with mini M&Ms as a tribute to baby. I'll hold on to the candle for the future; I just wanted something to keep, to remember my remembering day.

happy un-birthday, my love

In Memory of Ailis Evelyn Hadley, June 13th 2010

I drew this for you, Lissie, for your un-birthday. Because I love you. I'm going to share it with Remi and Rosi too, though. I don't think you would mind. You were sweet like that. And still are, I have no doubt. XOXO

Love, Mommy

June 12, 2010

at a snail's pace

Didn't feel very well today. Found myself moving rather slowly. But I got dressed, still. Ate a nectarine. Bought groceries. Laid in the sun. Argued with Frank. Applied for a job. Chatted with various cousins. Read a magazine. Hugged my aunt. Made a phone call. Cooked pasta. Watched TV.

And despite the mundane quality of it, despite the queasiness and the lack of sleep and limited movement; I felt alive today.

June 11, 2010


It's almost Lissie's... well, I don't know what you'd call it, really. Because it's not a birthday, exactly. But somehow, for me, it seems less sad to remember her on the day she left, early and unfinished as she was, than on the day she should have arrived, fully formed, perfect and golden and lightly fuzzed as a sun-ripe apricot.

Maybe it's because after all the fantasies and lies I grew up with, it feels better now to embrace what's true, unpleasant or ugly or hard as it may be, than to wish in vain for things to be different. It's true that Ailis isn't here with me today. But she was here, for a little while. I am excited to celebrate her life, and what it meant for mine.

I can see you when I close my eyes, baby girl, and you are so beautiful! You and your someday sisters, heart-breakers and breath-takers, the lot of you. You're like sunshine and raindrops at the same time.

Save a place for me, where you are, okay? I want to sit and hold you for at least a million years.

Love, Mommy

June 9, 2010

another time, perhaps

Today I went looking for work downtown, but every place I asked at just laughed, or sneered, or both. Only one guy was nice to me. Everyone else was really rude. Later my cousin A gave me a good comeback though: I should have said, "Maybe if you didn't suck, and had a good store that people wanted to shop at, you could afford to hire some help!" (So there, rude strangers!)

However, all I actually did at the time was cry a little, and then walk to my auntie's house for a swim.

*le sigh*

June 8, 2010

sidewalk stares

I'd forgotten how much a girl gets leered at, living in the city. I've grown a bit soft, I think. I'll have to toughen up a bit, if I'm to get by here.

June 5, 2010


Made it to California, safe and sound and (mostly) sane. But getting here was only the beginning. Wish me luck!

June 1, 2010


Who Am I Anyway?
When all is said and done
How can I believe
Or reconcile the idea that this might be

All there is to life, or
Might be all there is to me

I don't think it's enough. When

All you gave before is gone and
None remains to get me through I'll
Yell my objections to the sky to
Wake you up; I think you must have fallen
Asleep because I'm certain I can't hear
You anymore.

What Do You Want?
When will you tell me
How to get by
And why it takes so long just
To figure out the small things like

Do you hear me, and is it the same as listening
Or not, and can you save me from this if

You couldn't save me from him?
Oh, to be free
Unfettered by my grief and all the

Weight of my world on your shoulders
Another week, another month, another year, it's
Not important really if I can't even make it through
This morning.

I found these acrostic poems today as I was sorting through piles of paper, trying to finish my packing. I wrote them about two years ago, when I was working at the museum still. I was just starting to realize that my life as I was living it was not sustainable -- and it scared me, because I didn't know any other way to live. I wished someone would take my hand and lead me out of the barren wilderness that I had found myself in.