Thank you all for sharing your favorite posts with me. It meant a lot to me to hear what resonated with you. When I began writing here, there was a compulsion to it. I absolutely had to write about Lucy's death, grief, learning how to mother, and my life. Last summer, I cut and pasted my blog into a word document. I had about 650 single spaced pages. It reads like a Manifesto of Grief, with the stubborn earnestness and maniacal urgency of the Unagriever.
I only grieve. And all who don't grieve, don't belong to this tribe.
Not surprisingly, I don't feel that way anymore. I am more than my grief. I think what is interesting about my point of view now, perhaps, is that I see everyone as a griever, even those who have not lost a child, or a parent yet. People grieve work loss, relationships, thinness, health, freedom, innocence. I realized, only after two years of grieving, that the Lucy-grief touched all the grief already in me. It is a feeling of which lit the fuse of the thousand different feelings that I stuffed into an angry little black ball and stuffed into the cobwebbed corner of me--anger, fear, self-pity, hatred, aggression, anxiety, depression, negativity, impatience...you know, I know that you know. And those very human emotions and experiences are not the sole property of the grieving, they belong to everyone.
Whenever I write, it comes back to grief. It has the gravitational pull of the sun. I can revolve out from it, but always slingshot back to grief at the end of the day. Maybe it feels like the only certainty now--whatever happens, I will grieve. I will be happy, but that too shall pass. I will be sad, but that too shall pass. I will contented, but that too shall pass. I will be knocked on my ass, wind gone from my lungs, gasping for the ground beneath me, and that too shall pass. But I will always grieve something. I will always grieve Lucy. It is the constant that factors into every equation of my life. That is okay. Thinking about her doesn't make me sad. That she died makes me sad, and that sadness is in every grey hair and every black one too.
I come to this space now with the same kind of urgency. Urgency to write. I just find less time to sit. I sometimes see that as progress, and other times I see that as integration. I have integrated grief into my life in a way that it simply wasn't two years ago. I sometimes spent all day on the computer, reading blogs, reading the archives of blogs, reading articles about grief and stillbirth and parenting a dead child and art about grief. That was an important stage of my grieving, connecting with the babylost community. I still love this space. The urgency of that has lessened, but it is still there. It still helps to be understood by someone in the world. You. It still helps to be understood by you.
Last year, one of my before Lucy's death friends stopped being my friend. She said that I was not very forgiving, and that I was angry at people whose point of views she understood. She said I was mad at my mom, my friends, strangers...there was no making me happy. She said that one day, she felt like, she too would let me down. So, she stopped writing to me, or calling, I guess. I kind of loathe the phone, so I avoided talking to anyone. Strangely, I read her words with a kind of peace, because deep within me, I knew that I did the best I could. I felt a lot of guilt for those feelings of anger at well-intentioned people. I knew what they meant, but it didn't hurt less. I was an open, pulsating wound, and I had to protect myself. I knew those emotions would change, because the only thing that doesn't change is that things change. And in the end, I felt okay about us departing from the friendship. I wasn't at my best in the first year since my daughter died. The people that are still in my life love me at my worst. They love me when I was most unlovable.
And you, my blog readers, love me too, even at my most unlovable, just as I love you. You made me feel normal when everything in my little world was absolutely abnormal. So, thank you.
NOW, I have some announcements to make. WINNERS. I picked three, as I always do when I give away three things. Call this coincidence or divine intervention, but usually when I have three things, and I pick three people, I usually get three people who want each of the things I give away, which makes everything tidy. This time, the three people all wanted paintings, which is totally cool with me. So, here are the winners:
Ya Chun, Sarah, and Hanen. Please send me an email at uberangie(at)gmail(dot)com so we can work together for a painting that is meaningful to you. YAY!
In other news, one of my paintings The Carnival is in the current issue of Exhale. If you don't know what Exhale is, you need need need to check it out. Exhale is a literary magazine geared towards the ALI community. The magazine is was first founded by Monica LeMoine of Knocked Up, Knocked Down fame. You should also buy her book. It is good stuff. I have had poetry and an essay published in Exhale throughout the years, but this is the first time I have ever had a painting published, well, anywhere. The magazine is now being edited by Kristin of Once a Mother.
Also, this week, I am helping my friend Kevin Patrick promote his new album Hi Fi Heart on a Low Fi Budget. Kevin and I went to university together, and he is an amazing man and musician. He used to play in the Philly band Divine Lorraine. Kevin is a cancer survivor, writer and musician. He also volunteers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to play music for the kids, and he is also involved with Camp Cranium where he volunteers his time to put on shows for children affected by brain injuries. I know that really doesn't change the fact that his music is just plain ol' good, but my point is that he is a great guy on top of being a talented musician. Kevin needs "likes" on his Facebook page. So, if you have a moment, and a Facebook account, check out his page and "like" him.