Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One year

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.


  1. Thank you Angie. You always put into words what I'm struggling to make sense of, but this is exactly what I was trying to explain to my best friend on Sunday as I sat in the snow at the park crying into my mobile phone.
    My pre teen and teen girls had just had a fight over lunch and threw food at each other, I lost the plot, and fled the house crying.
    It's all the everyday stuff and my daughter is dead too!
    Sending you much love.x

  2. "I used to test the bruise to see if it still hurts. Start conversations about her to see if I could manage. " WOW, that just sums it up what I've been doing the last 5 plus years... I'm still mourning for Alex... my heart still aches for him, I guess it's just not as raw. And I find myself crying about the "what ifs" as I celebrate Leia's 4th Birthday today.

    Much Love,

  3. Blogging has truly changed my life too. I am so glad that you are in it now.

  4. I am happy you have found blogging. I find that it helps me with my grief in many ways.

    Always thinking of you! xx

  5. Really, really well put.

    And as I write that, I wish that you had never had to write this at all.

    Sending many xoxoxoxo's

  6. Beautiful post Angie. You manage to put into words what I for one struggle with daily.


  7. I remember being directed to your blog, one year ago. I remember it well. Just the overwhelming feeling of "not another one" despite the fact I knew full well my baby would not be the last one to die. I knew they would keep on dying, I am just so sorry it had to be your precious Lucia.
    This is an incredible piece of writing on an incredible blog by an incredible woman and mother.
    And Angie, you're not alone.
    With love.

  8. our grief changes ore than our daughters ever will...

    lovely prose, as usual

  9. And thank YOU too. You have a lovely way with words and I'm sure it has helped us all. Thinking of you. :)

  10. I feel so honored, so lucky, so blessed to have met you this year and so damned sorry about why. I know it's possible to feel alone in a room full of loving friends, which this is, so I won't tell you not to. But I'm here, close by. Always.

  11. Angie, you always have the perfect words..

  12. Sounds like you're having a really rough time of it lately Angie. I hope things pick up soon.


  13. Angie,
    This is a wonderful post. I feel like these words came out of my mouth, specially this passage:

    "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.""

    Some times I totally lose it and feel like shit afterward. As I like to say: it sucks in every possible way.

    Thanks for blogging your experience. I am not a writer, but I am a big reader. Reading what other mom's write about their own feelings and experience has helped me a lot. You are a very good writer.

  14. I loved this post. I have been thinking lately about how my grief has changed, over the last 14 mos, but I could never have articulated it so well. Thank you.

  15. great post. my thoughts are with you

  16. Thank you, for writing and being here.

    Sometimes this is the oddest of two-way streets.

  17. Thank you, Angie. Your blog in particular has been very helpful to me these past two months.

  18. Can't believe you have been here for a year already. Thanks for all of your support and your friendship.

  19. happy blogoversary angie. i started reading loss blogs within a month or two of losing angel mae, and yours was one of the first i found. so that would have been maybe april of last year? it's funny to think that you were only blogging for a month or two at that point - your voice and POV was then, and remains, so clear and strong and so immensely your own. i hope you always keep writing, here, elsewhere, however. xo

  20. Thank YOU for sharing your grief, and Lucy with us, for sharing your wisdom and thoughts and stories. I am so grateful you are here, yet I wish this is NOT how I get to know you! ((hugs))

  21. somehow came upon your blog today. i lost my baby girl too, and your story is mine, overlapping, heart upon heart. i feel you. all the way up to your last visit with your doctor - mine was the same way, but my son was born - induced at 37 weeks - healthy. shockingly perfect. yours will be too. what i've learned over the years is that this loss is so deep, when we give birth to them, some part of us dies too. but they also live on within us. it's such a strange paradox, but what it boils down to is love. Isabel and Lucia are love, pure love, giving to us a gift that is so precious it's blinding to see. but we feel it, always. comforting knowing hugs and love to you, angie.

  22. I think that, even if you do not mention it explicitly in your writing, all of us reading here are aware of the Lucy-shaped hole.

    The image of Lucy's Grief growing up just broke my heart. x

  23. I echo everyone's sentiments. Your words are such poetry and you always capture exactly what I can't figure out to say. I still quote you often, the "random, chaotic shitstorm" line.

    Much love to you, Angie. xo


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