Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some letters

I have some letters and emails I need to write.

Figuring out and managing relationships right now seems so insurmountable, so unbelievably complicated to figure out. Yet I know how much people care and love us, and I want to be caring and loving back. I just sometimes think all of it is used up. But it isn't. There is always room in your heart to look around. There is always room for more love.

I try to speak to myself if I were my child, or my best friend.

Just be true, Angie. Follow your instincts. Stay quiet when you must. Talk when you must. And in between smile. Live this new life with intention. With honesty. Be the kind of woman your daughters admire. Live a life that is full and unashamed.

I received an email that dared to say something awkward. But in it the message remained, I miss you. I think about you. I want to be your friend. And the second letter I received is one of those letters that babylost mamas never expect to receive. A courageous letter. An I-messed-up-and-I'm-sorry letter. The condolences six months late. I was deeply moved. I cried. I felt such a deep sense of sorrow, and thankfulness, and love. Someone realized the path of saying nothing wasn't the path I needed, and bravely apologized. Holy shit.

And this is it, right? People think that they could never make this less awkward. That it is too hard to say something. So they just don't bother. They take the path of losing our friendship rather than risk admitting they don't know what to do. But it is so wrong. I don't do everything right. I say stupid things. I say the wrong things, probably in the comment section of some of your blogs even. I can only hope that I confront it, apologize, and do what I can to make it right.

But being on the receiving end of this letter made me think, who am I? Who do I want to be? Someone for whom nothing is ever right? Am I really a grudge holder? Do I want to be bitter and angry? No. That is the not the person I want to be. (See above.) I felt love. Forgiveness, in some weird way, because until this letter, I wasn't mad at one person. I wasn't even specifically mad at the letter writer. I was mad at the whole lot. The whole group of cowards who decided not to say anything. I was mad because my daughter died and people went on with their lives. Mad because people who said nothing acted like it wasn't a big deal that my daughter died. And it is a big fucking deal.

And now, I have to be brave, because it will be awkward to write to both of these people. It will be awkward to talk about my feelings. It will be awkward the first time we see each other again, because we can't exactly pretend that nothing happened. It will be awkward to say thank you for changing who I am a little, for making me a better person. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to pick a path of love instead of bitterness, forgiveness instead of anger. And not just thank you from me, but thank you from all those jerks who couldn't be brave. Because of you, I can forgive them too.


I have been avoiding thinking about Summer Solstice. Part of me wishes I could stay up all night, and dance in the moonlight with my daughters and my beautiful husband with a bonfire and celebrate Lucia's short powerful life. I wish I could dig deep and find the joy of Lucy's life instead of this intense sadness I have. And maybe, somehow, I will figure out how to do that. How do you change the sadness into joyfulness? Can they both exist?


  1. Angie, you are so graceful.

    That's what makes me think you'll find that special and sacred place where you can dance in the moonlight and find the joy of Lucy's life.

    When you do, will you tell me how?

  2. You speak the truth sweet Angie...what to do with all the remnants of my own friendships is still so unresolved for me. I've never been a grudge holder either, and the anger and betrayal I feel is collective...not truly targeted at any one person who failed me - almost all of them failed me. How to move forward to a place of peace is still a daily challenge.

  3. I think that your reply will be just right. It is great that your friends admitted their shortcomings and are trying to make amends.

    I believe that joy and grief are connected and opposites and to find the joy just work your way back from grief. It has something to do with your vantage point. You could try borrowing the vantage point that you use when you view Bea's life.

    Sorry if you were just musing and didn't want any "How To's".

  4. Your words are lovely Angie. I've never really had anyone not acknowedge that Dresden was here, I guess in that sense I'm lucky to be surrounded by people who loved him too (although there are some who I feel have 'gotten over it'way before I'm ready).. but I still have bitterness - I think it goes hand in hand with this type of loss... I think anytime you go over in your head your baby dying you're going to say WHY ME? and I think that question alone brings out some bitterness.

  5. Besides losing Sam, learning to forgive those who disappointed, intentionally and unintentionally hurt and abandoned me has been my biggest struggle. I'm moving towards it but it hasn't been easy. I still trip and fall on my face. I wish we could all get letters like the one you received. I love the thought of you all dancing by the fire for solstice. Pagans unite!

  6. I hope you find the right words, I think you will.

    "There is always room for more love."

    Oh yes.


  7. thank you angie. i feel like your post has given me more to think about in my own relationships. i have held on to bitterness and anger at the certain people who didn't say anything to me. and i've confronted a few of them on it, mostly to say you are not my friend anymore. and that feels both childish and middleschoolish but also like i know who my real friends are and i only want real friends who are able to be there in the good and bad...i'm struggling right now with whether i want to write back to the one friend who spent 2 hours with us and didn't ask us once how we were or mention lev. i just feel done with these people, but your post has made me reflect more deeply on this.


  8. There are no right words, only your words. Write what you feel, write what you need, that's all you can do. They have already told you they want to listen, what words are spoken won't matter as much as the fact that they are spoken from the heart and that you have found away to connect with each other again.

    Joy and sorrow=life. We can hardly know one without the other can we?

  9. I can feel Lucia's everlasting light shining through this whole post. Beautiful.

  10. Be brave!

    Without knowing sorrow (and boy do we know sorrow now), can we really appreciate the good things? I know I do more so now, the small and good things. I take time for them.

    Perhaps next year for the solstice...

  11. you're beautiful angie. i know your letters will say all the right things. i'm glad your friend was brave. i wish more of mine could be. i also wish i could find forgiveness like you.

  12. I am glad your friends stepped up. I feel like I would take an acknowledgement at any time- I don't want to be this grudge holder either. It's hard not to be when our loss is so huge. But now that they have said their peace, maybe you can salvage some sort of relationship with them in the future.

  13. Rejoicing in your grace and the bravery of your friends, however belated.

    I will do a special practice on the solstice in honor of your beautiful daughter and her beautiful family.

  14. I just wanted to let you know I'm here, Angie. I don't have a lot of words right now, but I'm here. Supporting you. Loving you. Praying we each find more peace.

  15. Lucky, lucky you. I'm still bitter. I can't forgive yet. No-one has asked for forgiveness. No-one has apologised. They just think they've done nothing wrong. I think the only way I can leave all that anger and bitterness behind, is to leave those people behind. I'm still working on it.


What do you think?