Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rainy day

I felt each hour of last night. Like a fun house mirror, at times it stretched on and on. The minutes felt like eternity as I replayed incidents and conversations over in my head. The neighbor’s dog went after Jack yesterday, nothing too hysterical, but my heart fell, and I found myself traumatized and shaking, standing there helpless, as I saw him yelp and pee all over himself. I wanted to cry, “God, no, not another little thing, please.” Then other times, two hours scrunched into a blink, as I awoke to the puppy yapping and crying to go outside. I am nothing if not true to this sadness—this swirling confusing sadness. I dreamed somewhere in the confusion that Jack had run away, and as I chased him, through city streets, I came to a horrible accident scene with people strewn on the streets, and I, quite aware, that among the carnage was Jack the puppy, maybe my girls. I awoke panting heavily.

I think I have a virus—my throat sore, my nose running, my lungs tighter than yesterday. I woke before 5 am to take care of the puppy Jack. A soft rain was falling outside, and I felt cozy in my jammies, leather Birkenstock slippers and a rain jacket lit by the motion detector in our backyard, newly sprouting green in the moist air of morning. Sometimes it all seems easy when your sole concentration is making sure no one pees on the floor.

Even in my darkest hours, I have my people. The ones that are there and you never question. Sometimes when I complain about the people that disappeared after Lucy died, I have to remind myself that they weren’t really there before she died either. I also am plagued with guilt that when I say I am alone, they know I don't mean them. But there is the whole community of people that keep me afloat, whom I love dearly, whom I talk with almost everyday, or at least often enough that they are apart of my grief. Those people somehow manage to navigate the slippery terrain of humor, sadness, grief, heartbreak, terror, confusion, complication…in short, they understand that I am not in my right mind, but this is who I now am. Maybe this is who I will always be. Through it, they somehow see through my tears, my sad sad sadness and see me--Angie, the goofball.

And there are people who have tried to inject themselves into this grief. I am confused by them most. They aren’t babylost mamas, nor were we "friends" before Lucy died, but now, they try to somehow fit themselves into my grief, make themselves apart of this terrifying life. Sometimes I feel like their interest is strictly morbid curiosity, or maybe a sort of need to be part of something so fucking tragic most polite society won’t speak of it. I imagine them evoking my name, “Sorry I cannot come to your housewarming party, I have to write a letter to my friend Angie, whose daughter was stillborn AT 38 WEEKS. Tragic, no?” I am confused by the pledges of love, the constant attention...it all feels so insincere, so alienating, and I feel sometimes like a handsome death row inmate being sent love letters by someone who watches too much Court TV. Do I really have the latitude to reject any support?

My lungs hurt. My hair hurts, and yet I feel like painting another picture as naptime curves around Beatrice, and the puppy, and my husband who is curled on our bed. I am comforted by rain and the greyness today, which mirrors my insides.


  1. It always seems to rain on Emma's "forever days" ... today it was rainy with deep, deep fog. I'm an English graduate - gotta love that pathetic fallacy. Feel better (physically) soon Angie.

  2. ((hugs)) I hope you feel better. I know what you mean about people being there.

  3. there's something voyeuristic about those people who try to insert themselves into this journey, I've been feeling that for a long while. Hugs on this rainy day, its been gloomy for me to.

  4. well I have just woken to a very rainy day here, so I will probably have one of those days you have just described. although I will say at 8 months out, they do come less frequently. there are people who have really thrown themselves in to my life and sadness and i could never thank them enough, then there are those who i know are just slowing down to look at the train wreck. i could do without all of them.
    thinking of you and sweet little lucy today.

  5. You handsome death-row inmate, who could resist writing you love letters? You are a charming genius, you are. Look at the range of this post, from tenderness to sorrow to gratitude to winking humor and back again. That's latitude.

  6. Oh, Angie. I'm hoping you feel physically better. I also hope you feel emotionally better, but I'm not that naive.

    I was struck by the mention of people who are now in your life but weren't before. People who don't KNOW this pain. I'm hoping some are sincere, but I can picture the patronizing martyrs who relish in the limelight of befriending pathetic beings such as ourselves.

    Last night, I attended Compassionate Friends. A guest speaker, a Catholic priest attended as well. I hesitate to mention his religious affiliation because it's not entirely relevant. What is relevant is the PAIN he's endured. He's African. He's lost a niece, his 'age-mate' with whom he was raised. He's lost another nephew, several brothers, his father. Some were murdered, some were accidents. He said that he often resists going to parishoners houses for dinner because he feels that his life is viewed much like a movie. He 'entertains' them with his tragedies, but they are able to turn it off when he leaves. Meanwhile, he's left with unresolved grief and little true compassion. Needless to say, he's been invited to participate in our group as simply one of us.

    I'm happy to abide in this pain with you. I won't treat you as a movie. I appreciate your sincerity and I hope to provide the same to you.



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