August 31, 2010

Dear No-No

Happy unbirthday, Noah-my-Noah. I suppose, where you are, this day is much like any other; but my heart feels especially broken wide open today. I miss you so much, baby.

I read your book the other night, before I went to sleep. I know you would have loved it; and I would willingly have read it to you over and over again, because I love it, too. (Do you remember when I read to you that time, right before you left? I will never forget.) I love you, I love you, I love you. Be well, my darling, and happy, until we meet again.

XOXO - Mommy



PS: Here is the picture I made for you.
Because you were my little tiger, and always will be.

In loving memory of Noah Griffin, August 31, 2009.
But love is born in life, and death cannot end it.

Mette Ivie Harrison, Mira, Mirror

August 30, 2010

cut, stitched, bound


This is Noah's quilt, which is so very close to being done. It's definitely been a labor of love, and I wanted to show it to you.

I started last year, but had to stop and put it away several times. When I got it back out a few weeks ago, at first I could hardly bear to look at it.

I had been so very sad and desperate when I'd worked on it before, and all of those emotions came rushing back at the sight.

But that wore off, thankfully, and I love it again. Now I'm trying diligently to finish it before the 31st. Just a few more finishing stitches to go!

I only wish I could say the same for my heart.

nice people



This is to thank all of you who have been reading and supporting me, who have left comments, sent cards, made gifts. Thank you to LFCA for mentioning me a couple of weeks ago and for everyone who came from there to show me some love. I was surprised and humbled. Thank you to Nicole for your wonderful idea and for organizing, starting up, and maintaining the BLM penpal group. It has been a huge blessing to me already. Thank you to Megan, Tina, Angela, and Jen for taking the time to write. Also Alissa, Melissa, and Sara. So sweet!

Thank you for remembering me and my baby during this hard time. I am certainly not accustomed to it, and I appreciate you all so much. You just have no idea.
Love, Vera Kate

August 29, 2010

floating lanterns

I thought it would be so cool to release a lantern for Noah. I found a place to buy them online and everything... but I can't risk it in good conscience, when my state is regularly catching fire already, without my help.

Still, I love the idea.

Speaking of lanterns, have you ever seen video of the Yi Peng festival? I think it is definitely something I must see in person, someday. Hopefully with someone by my side who I really, really like.


I'm pretty sure I've posted this one before. But it is so beautiful.



Sweet dreams, everyone.

August 28, 2010

the party planning committee

I have big plans for your day, No-No! I don't know yet exactly how I am going to feel, but I do know what I want to do, regardless. I finally bought your baby book, which I have been thinking about for awhile now, and I am ready to fill it out and make it super cute. Someday I will show it to the family that I am still trying to build, and I hope they will be able to see with their eyes how sweet and unique and important you were and are; I hope they will understand that you are a part of me, and therefore a part of them, too.

I've gotten several thoughtful cards and comments lately, to let me know that we are remembered. There are nice people out there, baby. There are some really nice people. I bet you already knew that, though, long before I ever did.

All my love, Mama

August 27, 2010

so nice

When I got home, I found a pretty little package waiting for me.
Inside was another really nice card, as well as this bit of loveliness :

It's a sweet beaded bracelet that fits just right, made in Noah's colors,
with a silver bird charm. Thank you, Tina, for remembering me and Noah!
And for your thoughtful gift. You are ever so kind.


It is astonishing to me still, how one can feel so many emotions simultaneously. Even though I'm still kind of grumpy, it doesn't take away from how much these tokens of remembrance have meant to me today.

sympathy

I am in a foul mood today, so tired I feel like I might throw up.

However. Nearly a year after my second loss, I have receieved my very first sympathy card. Not from anyone I've ever met, but from a fellow babyloss-mama in our new penpal group.


Thank you, Megan. Thank you so much. I have never gotten a card to acknowledge my losses before. I really hope you are having a better day than I am so far, and that you get many notes and cards and kind wishes in return. --vera

August 26, 2010

measuring up

I have an interview with the District Manager tomorrow for a promotion. Spectacular communicators that they are, my supervisors only told me about it, in a rather offhand way, this afternoon. Which either indicates that it is going to be really easy, or that they are all just completely unorganized. Either way, I do not feel in the least prepared.

Insomnia is killing me. I ache everywhere. My short-term memory is shot.
Sleep. Will. Not. Come.

And I am only days away from the anniversary of my son's death. God. How awful it looks in print! Worse still, spoken aloud. The words hit the floor in a crowded room, heavy and volatile as land mines. The anniversary of my son's death. No one should have to string those words together in the same sentence. Ghastly.

In short, I am afraid that in my current state, I will botch the interview and be totally humiliated. Although, to be fair, I fear that even when I am at my best... So perhaps I will muddle through after all?

digressions

It's 2:00 in the morning and I'm tired and my eyes are burning but I want to keep reading and reading and not have to come up out of the story at all. I wish I could fall asleep reading and wake up there, instead, into a world where my babies didn't die and my parents loved me and no one, none, dared lay a finger upon me to do me harm. Or, even if bad things did happen, it could somehow be undone, or such great good could come afterward that it would hardly matter anymore; and I could be half-mad with happiness, instead of grief.

I've been told, by more than one person, that I will have my happiness. That the things I've dreamed of will be attained, even if a little later than I'd hoped, even if not in the order that I'd planned. Sometimes a hopeful, undamaged fragment of my soul believes it. Mostly I just feel wistful at these words. Mostly I think: Ah! That is kind. But you do not know. None of us can know.

None of us can know.

----------

My knicks and scrapes of the day are stinging, my feet are very cold, and I cut my left big toenail too short. It is sensitive there. My back is full of twists and knots again already, though I spent over an hour in the afternoon lying flat on my yoga mat with soft music playing, thanking as many parts of my body as I could think of by name, one by one by one. By the time I had finished, I was so relaxed I could hardly stand, nor remember why I ought to.

I am calm, I am relaxed, I am calm...

I am sore, and I am weary, and I crave rest in the most profound sense of the word. I long for protection and for comfort. And yet it occurs to me, and I must mention, amidst all this -- I still feel pretty. Simply, unabashedly. Can't escape the feeling, these last fews days, incongruous as it seems. Ever since that little girl, with her selfless declaration. She has eclipsed every other voice that ever spoke those words to me. Hers is the one that has mattered most. Perhaps because she caught me unawares, in a moment when I was feeling anything but lovely. And perhaps because she was so wonderfully, strikingly, vitally present in that moment, it leant her an authority that no one else has thus far had. "You are really beautiful." Full stop. Fact. Straight to my heart. And I'll never see her again. She'll never know she changed my life that day.

Her mother and brother were embarrassed, would not meet my eyes. I wonder how she got to be in that family. I wonder how any of us got to be in the families we are in.

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"Perhaps I was born different. Or made different by the parents who raised me," said George honestly. Did anyone ever know why he was the person that he was, animal magic or no? "Perhaps I also made myself different, because I wished to be," George added after a moment. --Mette Ivie Harrison, The Princess and the Hound

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You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife.


symbiotic destruction

My father was a crocodile. My mother was a plover. And I was a baby in a basket, that didn't quite make it down the Nile.

August 25, 2010

litany

This is one of my very favorite poems, discovered during my sophmore year of college. And here it is, recited by a three-year-old boy, which may be one of the most precious (and impressive) things I've ever heard.


spotted on A Cup of Jo



Litany, by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

August 23, 2010

seasonal

Everyone's talk of autumn lately has me feeling a little mixed up. I have visions of falling leaves and cozy sweaters, but when I walk through my front door it is still 100* outside, and my tanlines are distinct, keen-edged and unfaded.

Still, it is getting dark out earlier and earlier these days. I think it's a good night to settle in a bit early, do some sewing, watch a movie.

Sleep well, friends, whatever season it is where you are.

tiny good things

One can live quietly and try to do tiny good things and harm no one. I cannot think of any tiny good thing to do at the moment, but perhaps I shall think of one tomorrow.

Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea

helix aspersa

Awhile ago I got a book from the library called "Snail, where are you?" It is a really sweet, really simple picture book in which you are supposed to find the spiral snail shape within the illustrations on each page. A few days later, I was sitting on my front porch, eating yogurt, like I do every morning, when I happened to look down and see... a little brown snail! It was crawling up a stem of grass near the sidewalk, and my first thought, literally, was: Snail, where are you?

Which made me laugh and laugh, and still does. I thought to myself: Look, Noah! Do you see him? There he is, right there. There's the snail, just like in our book.


It was such a sweet and funny moment, and I am so glad that I have that memory now. I am putting it here so that I don't forget.

August 22, 2010

beautiful

In the checkout line at the store, a little girl stared at me for 30 seconds straight. When I paused and met her gaze fully she flashed me a mega-watt smile and said, confidently, matter-of-factly: "You are really beautiful."

Oh, my heart!

"Thank you, sweetie," I answered. "It's so kind of you to say so. I think you are really beautiful, too."

August 21, 2010

all I ever wanted

Found out today that a friend of mine is two months pregnant... with her sixth child. Sixth!! My first (awfully bitter) thought at this announcement was: Of course. This world is so fucking out of balance. Wasn't I just saying that to someone?

It was a blow, to say the least. But I was a little surprised by the way I felt at the news. After my initial mental response I really was genuinely happy for her. And I didn't even wish it was me that was two months pregnant, which is what I would have expected to feel. My heart was simply wrung over what I had lost, over what could-have-been. Today, right now, I just want my babies back; my own two babies that I had before. I want Ailis and Noah, and that's all. That's all I ever really wanted. One boy, one girl. Mine.

I don't often get stuck, anymore, wishing for the impossible. Wishing things un-done. But today I am. Not drainingly, not dramatically. But I am taking the time to close my eyes and assure myself that yes, they were real, and yes, I am their mother, and yes, I know the color of their eyes, and what they were like at heart. (There are so many things I'll never know about them, but there are a few things, at least, that I do.) If both of them, or even if just one of them, were here, my life would be so different. Not easier, not less complex, but definitely different. And I would have a little less grief to deal with. I would have a little less crippling pain.


I miss you my baby-loves, my turtledoves, my daughter and son.
Oh, I miss you. I always assumed you would be with me for so much longer than you were. Did you know, before you got here, that we hadn't much time?

the crazy

I think the things we do, we do to keep ourselves sane. Even though we feel crazy when we do them, they are really keeping the crazy at bay. Because there is a way that things are supposed to go.

Pregnancy, for instance, is supposed to lead to a baby; a real, warm, breathing baby in your arms. And a baby is supposed to become a child and then a teenager and then an adult with kids of his or her own. That is what is supposed to happen, and we know this. All of us know this. All of this unfolds behind our eyes in a flash the moment we see that double line appear. So when it doesn't happen, we sense that something absolutely fundemental in the universe has been tampered with, which should not, in fact, be possible -- and that is scary as all hell.

So when you dissociate, or go numb, or pretend things are different; when you cry for three or five or eleven days straight; when you write letters or speak aloud to someone who is not there; when you attempt to explain, again, the immense, contradictory emotions that you feel to a friend who doesn't understand; when you buy baby clothes or knit blankies for a baby who isn't a baby anymore or, conversely, who will remain a baby forever -- don't feel bad. Don't feel ashamed. Don't think you're crazy. You are keeping the crazy at bay. Just imagine a person who didn't seem to care at all about the awful events that had befallen them. That person would be insane. And would you not be much more afraid of that person, than of the person who finds a way to get through?

You are not scary. You are not wrong. You. Are. Not. Crazy. You are sad. And you are allowed to be sad.


Peace and love to you all, from the bottom of my heart.
I need these words as much as anyone. --vk

August 20, 2010

heedless

There are a lot of parents out there who forget what it really means to "raise" a child. Sometimes I think they can't see their kids anymore, because they see them all the time. I don't get to see mine at all, so I am painfully aware of what I am missing. I honor their memory as best I can. I am getting braver, about sharing their stories, about expressing my grief and my longing for them both.

Sometimes, at work, it's all I can do not to grab some other person's child after an unwarranted scolding and hug them to me fiercely. I want to whisper -- because I know from experience that it's the whispers you hear the longest and best, when what you're used to is shouts -- I want to whisper in their little ears, for the brief moment I would have them close: You are so special! You are amazing and wonderful and sweet and good. And I see you. I see you, my dear.

August 18, 2010

my dear baby-loves

Because of you, I will revel in every moment of my next pregnancy, whatever the outcome. Because of you, if I have children who live, I will cherish the time I have with them every single day. Because of you, I know how to take absolutely nothing for granted.

I am so grateful that even though you're not here, I still get to practice all the most important responsibilities of being a mommy. I still get to love you no matter what, and miss you while you're away, and honor your individuality and personhood. I still get to feel unalterably connected to you. I still get to offer up a part of myself every day, for your sake.

It is so good for me, to be your mom! You are the best thing that has happened in my life, the most wonderful thing I ever made. You are two bright spots of color in an otherwise dim and dreary existence. Being your mother has made me a better, stronger person than I could otherwise have been. I know your someday-siblings are going to be really grateful, too.

XOXO - Mommy

come, fill my heart






it's a black & white kind of day. all images via weheartit.com

August 17, 2010

constricted, restrained

It hardly seems worthwhile to mention: I didn't sleep well. This seems to be the pattern and I have finally given up. Not even my trusty sleeping pills will do the trick. It takes forever to get to sleep, but once I finally do, then it is nearly impossible to wake up. So. I just count on being up until at least 2 or 3am, and then lucky if I'm awake again before 11am the next day. I hate this schedule, but it's not worth stressing about.

So many noisy thoughts storming through my brain in the wee hours of the morning. Sex, death, race, religion, politics, emotion. All the topics not discussed in polite company. But how I loathe polite company! I hope this is never a place for polite company.

----------

I don't love my life yet. It is still so small and boring and confined. I want a life I can be proud of. But so much is outside of my control. I can't make a company hire me for my ideal job. I can't force a publisher to choose my manuscript. I can't input information into a GPS and track down the man of my dreams. There is no guarantee that a baby will ever grow in my belly long enough to be delivered safely into my arms. I can't ever know the full scope of the effect of my actions on others.

But oh, I wish I could.

----------

My body is in high-gear baby-making mode, primed and ready with noplace to go. It is single-minded and insatiable. It is rattling my poor fragile psyche to bits. Shush, I say. It's all right. Someday; someday we'll have our turn.

Someday! Ha!

My body doesn't believe me. And I can't really blame it. It's heard that line far too many times before.

August 15, 2010

for Angela (Little Bird)

and anyone else who is grieving someone or something today.


Three months out is really hard, and all of the connotations that that word carries: rigid, dense, unyeilding, impenetrable, difficult, unjust, brutal, grim... It's almost like our grief begins to doze, and then we hit an anniversary mark and an alarm clock goes off, waking it in all its ravenous fury. It squishes you, and then it eats you. But the next day you wake up, surrounded by all of your own familiar things, and you're back. Resurrected. Which is what life is about.

This day might crush you -- and that's okay. Because Charlotte deserves to be missed so passionately by her mama. And you can hold out your grief in your two cupped hands, like an offering. You can lay flat and still, like a pleasing sacrifice. But you will get up again. Eventually, your happiness that she was alive at all will catch up, breathless and apologetic, with your encompassing sadness over her death. And most of the time, happiness will be the showstopper. Happiness will win. I believe that for you.

It may sound cruel, but I'm glad you're so upset right now. There is more to being a mother than changing diapers and teaching table manners. There is unconditional love. There is showing a child how much you believe in their personhood. There is an availability and a vulnerability that not everyone has it in them to give. But you do. And it's beautiful. Angela, you are a really good mom! Charlotte is lucky to have you.


Love -- vera kate

August 13, 2010

do you remember


Yeah. Me neither.

----------

Pulling out now from a pretty dramatic emotional slump. The last few days have been... well. They've been.

It never really registered with me before that being sad makes you so tired. Maybe because I am usually a lot of other things at the same time. But grief alone is exhausting. It is wringing me out like a damp rag, nearly dry. And I can tell you with confidence that if it weren't for the other babylost mamas, and survivors of trauma and grief of all kinds, whose voices have found their way to me through the darkness and ether -- I would not have been able to get out of bed this week at all.

----------

Late last night I was laying in bed thinking about Noah, as I often do. At this time last year, I was laying in bed and worrying about what would happen when he was born. I worried about when I would start to really show. I worried about what my family would say. I worried about what other people would think, the looks they would give me when they saw his dark skin next to mine, no ring on my finger, no daddy in sight. Where I come from, that's three strikes. I knew we would both be out.

And it made me angry. Wildly, ferociously, mama-bear angry. How dare those strangers and acquaintances and even friends judge us? How dare they look down on me, and my innocent baby? After all the shit I've been through! After all the heartache and violence and grief! I worried, too, that we would never get out. That we would be stuck in that backwoods town for far too long, my poor boy awkward and alone in a sea of identical, ignorant faces. But I was determined that we would escape. I would work my ass off, do whatever needed to be done, to get a handle on my issues, and save up some money, and get us out of there.

----------

But that's as far as I got, in my worrying. It was all too much to grasp, beyond his birth and infanthood, and the stand I would have to take just to get that far. (Though I never actually got that far, after all.) So last night, when I was struggling to express again my feelings of love and committment to a child who was no longer there, and I heard or felt or imagined Noah's little voice saying to me, sweetly, "Thanks, mom!" the words washed over me as a fresh wave of loss and grief. Because in a world where the best things of life weren't wrested from me as soon as I'd receieved them, I would have heard his voice for real, and a thousand times, saying those words to me. When I helped him reach something on a high shelf, or when I bought him an ice-cream. When I folded his laundry for him, or helped him clean his room. When I gave him his allowance, or let him borrow the car. When I told him, in no uncertain terms, what an extraordinary, irreplacable person he was. When I kissed his cheek, and squeezed his hand, in the last excited moments before his wedding... "Thanks, mom!"

----------

All this, I wanted to do for you, my love.
All this, and so much more.

August 12, 2010

falling to pieces



I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing / Just prayed to a God that I don't believe in / They say bad things happen for a reason / But no wise word's gonna stop the bleeding / 'Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven /

I'm falling to pieces; I'm falling to pieces.

August 11, 2010

Thanks for the love, friends.

It was such a weird day. I felt like I had MY BABY IS DEAD! blazoned across my forehead, big and bold and red as a news ticker in Times Square. I was mildly surprised that people didn't take one look at me and run away. I didn't dare chat with my pregnant customers, for fear that instead of empty niceties I might blurt out, "I hope your baby doesn't die... But it might. Mine did. My baby boy died around this time last year." (Ugh. Can you imagine?!)

I volunteered to work an extra shift at work though, because it didn't seem to matter what I was doing -- sitting, standing, laying down; writing, talking, not-talking -- I still felt exactly the same. So I figured if I'm going to be miserable regardless, I may as well make some money at the same time, right? And so. I went to work this morning, came home for two hours, and then went back to work again. I earned a little overtime, and made it through another day.

Here's hoping tomorrow will be better.

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Thanks again: for reading, for hearing me, for understanding. And for the hugs. I felt them. I really did.

August 10, 2010

miserable

Barely hanging on by a thread today.

August 9, 2010

Elizabeth McCracken is my hero

Just finished reading this book.
It was stunning and heartbreaking and beautiful, and I loved it.

August 8, 2010

comfortable

Yesterday I was at my cousin's birthday party. A few of her friends came; emaciated 16 & 17-year-old girls in microscopic bikinis, painfully self-aware, practicing -- unsuccessfully -- an air of sexy nonchalance. They waded gingerly into the pool, careful not to wet their bleach-blonde, flat-ironed hair, while the rest of us pretended not to notice. I had brought a bathing suit with me, but I wasn't about to join them. I am not fat. But I'm not 16 anymore, either.

When I look at my body now, I don't hate it like I used to. Poor body! I think instead. You have endured horrors, and it was not your fault.

Even after everything that's happened, when I ask my legs to walk, they walk. When I ask my arms to reach, they reach. When I ask my hands to grasp, they will -- mostly -- grasp. My heart keeps beating, too, without my needing to ask at all; my blood flows, my breath goes in, and back out again. Much obliged, heart! Much obliged, lungs!

And, considering what I've been through, if my insides are offended or afraid of things that may seem harmless, (Banana? Lettuce? Sesame?) can I really be angry about it? If my throat begins to close at the smell of strawberries or the taste of stale, mildewed air or the sight of a narrow alley or the near proximity of a pregnant belly, can I really say "Don't be such a sissy!?"

I think I cannot.

This body has performed miracles, too: it has allowed me pleasure when I did not think it possible, and it has carried two children, even if not for very long. It did the best it could, under the circumstances, and I find I cannot blame it if the work could not quite be completed the way I would have liked. Perhaps someday it will be able to; or perhaps it won't. We will find our peace in the knowing, eventually, either way. But in the meantime, I cannot bring myself to resent the fleshy softness of my hips, or the curve of my stomach, definitely a woman's now, at 26, and not a girl's, below which, hidden and pale and unobtrusive as they are, linger stretchmarks of which I am inordinately proud.

And so I end up thinking to myself, God bless those girls, and the untried, elfin beauty of their bodies and their youth. I have been through too much with my own body -- good and bad -- to even dream of trading it for anything else.

And I am comfortable, at last.

August 7, 2010

infuriating

"Anger is secondary," I've been told. "Don't fight the smoke, fight the fire."
So, what is the fire? The fire is this: I'm hurt. My parents ripped off all my skin, and now everything, everything hurts me. Whatever else happens, the message engraved in my mental permanent record is this: No one loves you enough to step in and protect you. You are on your own, as you deserve to be.
-------------------------------------------------------
*blank stare*
*tick, tick, tick, tick*
-------------------------------------------------------
So, God. Are you really just going to stand by and let me think these awful things? Don't you have anything to say? What good are you to me, if you couldn't save me from this? What good am I to you, if I couldn't be saved?
-------------------------------------------------------
*tick, tick, tick*
*commence violent sobbing*
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Don't you dare try to tell me I'm pretty right now; don't you tell me I'm more beautiful this way than I've ever been. Don't tell me I'm the same inside as the day I was born, that nothing about me is changed. Everything is changed! Everything. Don't call me avari, or acorn. That is way too mushy-sweet.

I feel like you're just messing with me, pushing my buttons on purpose, saying all the things I don't believe. If this is all you have to offer, I'm not sure I want anything more to do with you.

-------------------------------------------------------
*sudden, slightly hysterical, quickly muffled laughter*
*deep sigh*
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Do you find my human bravado tiresome, or charming? Ugh, I'm leaning toward charming... Damn it! Damn it, damn it, damn. I want to be bigger, scarier than I am. I want to push you around. I want to yell at you and have you be cowed, instead of understanding me completely. Instead of calming me like a two-year-old having a tantrum, or crying over me while I cry myself out.

Yes; I know you know. That's why I'm so mad.

-------------------------------------------------------
*tick, tick, tick, tick, tick*
*turn out the light*

flicker

It's 1:00 in the morning, I feel like shit, and my head is killing me. I am angry, ashamed, distraught. But I am staying in my body, even though I don't want to. I am looking out through my own eyes.

It only recently occurred to me how many of my memories are from the outside. I can watch most of my childhood -- and the worst of my young adulthood -- like a film reel inside my head. And I wonder now if my unavoidable attraction to mirrors comes from this still feeling different and odd, this newer way of seeing the world. It scares me a little, to think that. But it is still weirdly comforting, to see myself in the mirror; it assures me that this is real, this place, and I am real in it. And when I was little, if I could see myself, I felt like at least someone was watching out for me -- even if it was only me.

That is so sad, and makes my head hurt even worse. I feel like I'm flickering in and out now, like a strobe.

August 5, 2010

just wait

The depth of feeling I have for my children opens up an answering chasm inside of me; a gut-wrenching awareness of what has been missing from my life.

--------------------------------------------------

My mother would glare daggers at me from the time I was 10 years old and say, with unwarranted venom: "Just wait till you have your own children someday! Then you'll see."

And I do see, though not in the way that she meant it. I see all the things she never gave me, the ways she never felt about me, and the courage she never had, to do what needed to be done. I see the emotional detachment, the neglect, the abuse. I see myself, and I want to cry and cry and cry, to weep for the little girl I never got to be; and I don't ever want a child of mine to feel remotely what I felt growing up in my parents' house.

But I'm not afraid of that, anymore. I know my children will know that they are wanted and loved. Because I am myself, and I am not my parents. I AM NOT MY PARENTS!! I am not my parents, and I never will be.

August 4, 2010

missing

As a mother, your worst fear is that harm will come to your child, or that they will die. Both of my children are gone; but in a way that sounds strange even to me, there is some small comfort in knowing that nothing else can happen to them. The worst is done, and over.

So when I am sad, I am sad mostly for myself. There are so many things I would have liked to show them; so many songs to sing, so many stories to read. So many new foods to try, and cultures to explore; so many kind, lovely people to meet, all around the world. And I am missing out on sticky kisses, too, and a warm little hand slipped into mine, the rise and fall of a round tummy on the blanket beside me, under a shady tree, and the daily trills and shouts and whispers of "I love you, Mommy."


I love you, baby, and I'm thinking of you...
I would have liked the chance to show you what is Good in this place.

August 3, 2010

Dear Lissie

I am thinking of you too, my girlie! I miss you so much, every day. Sometimes I want to say, "Watch out for your brother for me, please," but I'm sure you would only laugh. Silly mama, to say such things! As if anything could happen to you now. I know you're both fine; but I will always worry about you, just a little, no matter where you are.

I'm so glad I get to be your mommy, my darling! You are such a sweet, special girl, and I love-love-love-love-love you.

XOXO -- Mommy

August 2, 2010

August 1, 2010

comfort in unexpected places

I went for a walk/run this afternoon. It was good for me to get out. To taste scorched grass and wild herbs and the charcoal of other people's Sunday barbecues on the wind. To feel hot sun and cool shadows on my Northern-girl skin. To see homes being built and cars going by and birds in flight. To hear my own pulse pounding in my ears, stubborn, insistent: there is more, there is more, there is more...

There is more to life than what you have seen so far.


fresh

I am honestly shocked by how hard my grief is hitting me. His sister's anniversary this year was peaceful, if bitterweet, and I guess I thought it would be the same with Noah's. But it's not. Nearly a year has passed and I am suddenly as flattened as I was on the day that it happened. My whole body hurts, particularly my chest -- I feel as if someone has literally punched me in the heart. My extremeties are cold, despite the summer heat.

After a lifetime of treading water, or wading only in the shallows of my emotions, I am startled by the reality of their depth. I did not know it was even possible to feel this much.

nonsense

Last night I fell asleep clutching a tiny white polo shirt, my fingers curled tight round its neatly folded collar. It would have looked so good on him, against his milk chocolate skin. But he'd have outgrown it by now, if he were here, and growing still.

I woke scant hours later to discover: I was still alive. He was still dead.

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I love my baby so much, and yet I didn't get to keep him. My own mother was apathetic and completely inept, but had three healthy children that survived her, somehow.

What kind of world is this, and why am I still in it?