I used to think that I would heal from my daughter's death, but I am a leper. I will never really heal. I am always in some kind of dull grief pain, so much so that I rarely feel it anymore. My skin itches. My eyes run. But it's okay, really. I mostly live my life with others of my kind. In a colony. Or a virtual colony. And because I live with others of my kind, I feel normal. I sometimes venture into the non-leper world--mommy blogs, or play dates and the such, but I realize I don't belong there. It is as though the healthy, non-leper people are pointing at me and saying, "Ack, a leper."
"What? Me?" I stare at my scabby, oozing sores. "Oh, right, yes. A leper, but we all knew that already, no?"
When you are past two years, maybe it is time when you should not be still writing, arting and talking about grief. A new babylost mama said to me recently that she didn't want to be someone whose whole life was about the grief from her child's stillbirth, and then I realized that my whole life is about the grief from my child's stillbirth. I wasn't offended, and she wasn't being offensive. It just was a moment where I reflected. This feels like the authentic me, though. I know, authenticity is such a bullshit word to so many people, but in a wholly existential way, it feels authentic. This is the real me. One who lives on the edge of the living and the dead, straddling both worlds, not truly part of either. I think that has always been my place in the world. A liminal place between worlds--white and Latina, masculine and feminine, mainstream and punk, artist and poser, sacred and profane, dead and undead. It feels right and good to make art and write about what comes up. But then again, maybe I am stuck. Maybe I am not supposed to still feel sad. I don't know. I. Don't. Fucking. Know.
Actually, maybe this leper talk is kind of creepy, or plain unfair to people with leprosy. But I think the analogy is good. Did you know that 95% of the human race have a natural immunity to leprosy? And that while I was mostly healthy and a good conversationalist, my kid still died in me. It was like a one in 160 pregnancy chance. I don't know why I am comparing statistics. When you have been a one, no other number of the other side looks big enough. And statistics kind of feel like bullshit. Still, leprosy and full term stillbirth have their similarities.
My daughter asked me tonight why we can't have a girl baby that stays, and I have no response that feels adequate. I just stammered and then she said we can name her Lucy again, since we all like that name so much. It broke my heart open again, like it is the first time someone suggested that we can just have another baby. She is so earnest about it, so logical, I feel silly for arguing that Lucia is the only sister who gets that name. And that we can't just have girl babies because it seems like a girl baby should nurse with the boy baby.
Thomas turned nine months on January 1st. Nine months. Today I received the travel journal after its harrowing journey through Europe, Canada and the United States. Ines included a bag of hand-carved pebbles. Skytimes included a little handmade journal, and everyone wrote diary entries from the Travel Gnome's point of view, and it made me feel like crying. I mean, if I were a different person, I would have wept. Last year, I would have wept. But this year, I just laughed, and my soul did cartwheels like the first time someone wrote a goofy haiku with me and thought it was funny. I read the whole thing with a glass of amazing red wine. It is perfect to have others put their hearts and souls into something you also put your heart and soul into. I don't know how else to describe it.
As my Facebook friends know, someone kept the journal for a month and a half. I know she would argue at that categorization, but let's just say, it was mailed in mid-November, and didn't arrive on the next person's doorstep until the end of December. We exchanged emails about it, since I felt she should apologize to all the women and she felt like I was being a controlling bitch. She acted entitled. I don't know, I reacted, and shouldn't have. I have no defense except that I give a shit. I gave a shit about the travel journal being the last piece on still life 365 for the year and it wasn't and it upset me. She said her family was sick, and she gave me a load of excuses. I wanted to tell her everything I had been through this year, and still managed to publish a piece of art every day of the fucking year. I wanted to tell her that the day I was in labor with Thomas Harry, the day I went to the hospital, is the day I mailed out the journal. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning the night before sending off emails to every person participating, and packed it up and waddled to the post office. Then I birthed Thor.
Maybe it is just me who is a leper. You know, she isn't the first person to call me a controlling bitch. Probably not the last. I am not even offended by that, really. I get things done. Some call that controlling, others efficient. I have thick skin for that sort of insult. But it reminded me of the betrayals of my life. This is a drop in the bucket, yes, but still, that feeling of someone saying, "Your desire to have things a certain way betrayed you, not me." It is a truth I can never seem to learn. I have to stop desiring things.
In a separate note and question, how long is it supposed to take a couple to finish a bottle of port wine? Sam claims this should last us more than three days. And that I am perhaps drinking it more like wine, rather than port. But it is so dang good in front of the fire while wearing my big heavy woolen grief socks. I also promised an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel. Maybe tomorrow? Anyone coming to the reading on Sunday?