itonlylookslikeapoembecausearunonsentencewouldhavebeentoohardtoread morose alert: orange (christ yes, i have worse)
dear elijah when you were born it was only 3 hours since being given my first pitocin when you were born i had no idea it was 'a semi-emergency' i had no idea when there was a pediatrician there ready to inspect you i had no idea when they said you weren't growing...let's induce when you were born i had 3 bites of ben&jerry's brownie chunk that i later threw up when you were born i was afraid to push but you pushed your own way out (and they later claimed you were weak!) and when i reached down to pull you to me i gasped in awe you were stunning ly gorgeous when you were born i held you in front of my face, giant in front of your tiny boy body i told you we were elated to meet you we loved you forever you chose the right family thank you and some other polite things you say upon meeting someone special for first time you were radiant, and i was embarrassed, because i was moist with childbirth and you were so ~ ethereal when you were born your scent was intoxicating your sister adored you from the moment she couldn't touch you when you were born, there were four blissful hours -when nothing was wrong - we had together just us and love i could not take my eyes off of you i could not stop inhaling your head i could not stop rubbing my cheeks against the silk of your hair, your cheeks when you were born your eyes were wise and held only my gaze we cuddled we sang there were four blissful hours where nothing was wrong -you were still perfect- before you were taken from my arms - in fear 'to be watched' - in fear (but that was after midnight; april fools - surely a joke?) when you were born there was mystery and peace surrounding you and - fear when you were born i was afraid that you would leave us too soon and i would be left forever missing you and goddammit, you did
"Feeling like I have a whole new grasp of anxiety. Or depression? Not sure. Trying to put it aside. For the classes I must teach tomorrow. I can do that. I have done it a hundred times before. And I will a thousand more."
And I suck because I can't do it. I sent a substitute teacher in my place. I am filled with anger. The kind that makes you cry in spite of yourself. I can't shake it. It is oppressive. It sucks away my breath.
Men and women handle this kind grief differently. Men jump off the emotional cliff. Women go over it and over it and over it and over.....it comes around different sometimes. But it never goes away.
Just a few months after Elijah died, his EI teacher (Early Intervention, for those of you lucky enough to find out here first) hooked me up with a friend of hers who had lost a child and was active in a local bereavement group. This friend (who I still have never met in person) sent me a great tool; she suggested that I start off some poetry with the phrase, 'This grief is...'
Last night I pulled those files to look at them and see how my grief has transformed. Here are just the first two:
This grief is fucking gnawing at my bones Slicing at my skin Like razor sharp requests Born from divinely unwanted radiance To bury your dead This grief is ashes that never warmed a heart or soul In their flames Burned at the precise expense of thirty eight dollars Sign here Thank you This grief is only transient as my child Or not For both live on as vivid As my livid anger For no peace can blanket this fire
This godforsaken grief is Hell
This grief is too much rage For any one human to have to Be Immersed, NO, submerged into This airless cage This child is so undeserving Of his mothers memory What torch? Worthy of this seething puss In his mama’s anger unswerving Angelic face, resistant to your grace That came with life Yours not mine Only to hold in moments of time and on a good day now in clouds ~ your face This grief is where I live
Wow, I've come so fucking far. (and that? more sarcasm)
When Elijah was born, he smelled like vanilla and cedar - I am absolutely serious, and could easily find 2 or 3 NICU nurses to back me up. He looked like a little doll, but Daddy thought he looked like a little bush baby, because his eyes were so very big and wide open. His sucking would improve when I sang to him in spanish. I only know three songs in spanish - and by the end of his three weeks in the NICU, everyone else knew those songs just as well.
I'm missing him so much right now. I can almost smell him.
Elijah, 5 days old
bo·dhi·satt·va (bō'dĭ-sŭt'və) n. Buddhism. An enlightened being who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others.
Lucky Me! I had myself a playdate! Jen and Willow came to visit us today! Thankfully, they showed up as my daughter had just wretchedly discovered The Power of The Song in Toy Story 2 that makes me cry and was on her third evil rewind. Phew! I wish I had photo-documentation, but dh took the camera with him on his backpacking trip. Too bad, since there was no way to document the girl kiss. Willow is by far the most polite four year old I have met in a long time! She is effusive with her manners; blushing and saying "Thank you for saying that! Thank you somuch for saying that!" over and over upon being told she could keep a small toy that caught her eye. I was getting slightly skeptical about her age (did her mom lie about her age? and why?) and/or that smiley, sunny face she kept using with me, until she finally told Jen off - when she asked Willow to help clean up. Then I breathed a sigh of relief, that Willow is developing just perfectly! Supergirl and Willow had a great afternoon; due in part to the fact that Jen and I had just so very much to talk about, that the girls were pretty much allowed to get out any and every toy. And they did! You know what? It was well worth it.
Update: Oh yes! We also traded delicious baked goods (she made lemon bars, I made pumpkin swirl bread)! And, you have to love a playdate who doesn't ask why there is a potato masher in the bathtub or cheerios all over the floor.
It finally dawned on me today why I might feel so peculiarly crappy. Like a dying flea on a sloth's butt. Prone to unprovoked tears. Content to stay shitty. Elijah's birthday is in nine days. Shit, that does make me cry. He would have been four. Damn.
Clearly, I show a marked improvement. For the last two years, I've worried about this day months in advance. This time it snuck right up on me. Like a train running me over.