The realization hit me that I haven't been my writing about grief too much in the last few weeks, which is ostensibly why I began writing this blog to begin with. I haven't really been thinking about Grief as this extra person in our house. I have been so present with caring for others, perhaps Lucy's Grief has sort of grown up a bit. She is able to get her own glass of milk, sob her own tears, make her own bed in the shadow room next to mine.
But Lucy is in my experience. I think about her in this intangible, accepting way. She was here in the flesh for a day. But Lucy is dead. I get it now. I know what that means in my daily life. I am not wrapping my brain around that fact anymore, trying to make sense of losing my daughter. I mourned her, and I will continue to mourn her. But I don't ache for her in that child-like way I used to ache for her, which to me means I don't imagine that if I just want her back hard enough, she will come. I don't will her back anymore. I don't repeat the mantra "Lucy is dead" to remind myself of her absence. It will never be different than the way it is. She will always be gone, and I have accepted that. I don't question my universe anymore. I am just one of millions of people who lost a child. I never was special. I never was someone who couldn't have a dead child. Nothing particularly unique about me to make me immune from daughter-death. We have a Lucy-sized hole in our family. It is something we honor and try not to get sucked into constantly. And what is left from active grief now is impatience. Anger. Loneliness. Bitterness. Isolation.
While the pain is not so acute anymore, I am also not pushing that particular black and blue. Not like I used to. I used to test the bruise to see if it still hurts. Start conversations about her to see if I could manage. Look at her picture and will myself to imagine her eyes open. I would ask Beatrice leading questions about her sister. Now, I just know that it can still hurt without the sharp pain to remind me. Anytime I touch it, or remember that particular day, I can see the contusion spread across the acreage of skin. And so I leave it alone to just be a swirling mix of colors on my heart. Staid and constant.
I feel isolated and alone right now. Lonely and overwhelmed. I feel guilt-stricken by my particular combination of our good fortunes and self-pity. But on my blog, I come to write it out, make sense of it, to deal with the guilt, the shame, the anger, the overwhelming and stifling pressures of caring for others when I can barely care for myself. Even though my posts haven't directly been about Lucy's death, they are still about Lucy's death. Even though my posts haven't been directly about grief, they are still about grief.
When I leave the confines of my blog, I see how much is on my plate whether I had grief as a heavy gravy on top or not. It is hard to get on top of the feelings some days. I can't point to Lucy's death anymore and say, "That. That is why I hurt." Because it isn't simply her death, it is the way in which her death has changed my life and my experience. I cannot parse out the grief from the daily pressures. Along with being overwhelmed and anxious and sad and alienated, the grief is just a constant nagging presence. It is like at the end of the litany of stressors, I have to add, "And my daughter is dead."
This week is my one year blogoversary. A year of writing about my grief here. 220 posts in 365 days. All of them somehow about the fact that my daughter Lucia Paz died at 38 weeks of pregnancy for no fucking reason. Would I be better able to manage my life if I wasn't also dealing with grief? I just cannot say. It is who I am now. That is what this year has brought, an acceptance of being someone deeply flawed, deeply changed by my daughter's death and still deeply struggling for grounding. But this year has also made me breathe deeply and say, it is okay to be all those things. It is okay.
That realization is in no small part due to you--a community of grieving parents. You helped me create a safe, accepting space for my grief. I haven't gotten to say it much lately, but thank you. This blog and your friendship changed my life. For the better. Thank you.