When I first thought about the Right Where I Am project, I kind of envisioned it as a Babylost It Gets Better, though not better, because it doesn't get better, but it somehow changes and the changes are an interesting sensation we must pay attention to, as someone once told me about labor pains (That isn't interesting, sister, that shit hurts.) (And not to downplay the very very important project and work of It Gets Better, which you should totally donate money to.) But I wanted it to be maybe a "You Will Not Feel Like This Forever" project.
Listen, I hated hated hated when people said to me in the early months, "Don't worry, honey. Time heals. Grief changes. You won't be so raw." Whether those words came from a widow, or another babylost mama, because even though I wanted it to stop hurting so much, I couldn't envision what not-hurting-so-much was. Did that mean I would forget Lucy? Did that mean I stopped feeling sad? Did that mean I would feel far away from Lucy since the only thing tying me to her was pain? And so, as the idea stewed in my mush-like brain, I began envisioning a space where we don't lecture anyone about grief, where we make no sweeping generalizations about timelines and Kubler-Ross stages, where no one gives anyone advice, or imparts false wisdom about grief, but one where we show our progress by simply cataloguing where we are right at this moment in our life. Then, someone earlier in their grief can look at that place and say, "Yes, I can see now what people mean when they say that grief changes."
All this being said, we have 160 participants. We had three more over the weekend. The posts trickle in, and have become part of this amazing, immense project. The last as important as the first. I am blown away by it. I still have like the last forty to read through (shit, that sounds overwhelming) but I do plan on reading them through, and then organizing them in the little page tab on top of my blog by time. I love that they are a moment in time. A moment in our grief, like a snapshot of this community, all standing together, arm over arm, smiling. Your feelings may have changed the next day, but that is exactly why I think this project is so damn powerful.
This weekend, Josh over at JACKatRANDOM sent me this amazing piece he pulled together. He describes it so much more eloquently than I possibly could. He has read every post. He has pulled a piece of love, wisdom, growth, grief, pain, anger and kindness out of each post and made it one cohesive graphic element. It is breathtaking and awe-inspiring and awesome. Please go over and click it. Ask him for a copy. Send him love. Amazing work. I will be posting it on still life 365 next week as well, and maybe talking to Josh in a Live Chat, so come ask him about Margot and art and writing and grief.
Edited to add: Check out this Right Where I Am page where I put every post in time order. I love ordering things. If you don't see your name on the list, it might be because your blog is private, or your time is not visible or obvious to me. I did the best I could to figure out time, sometimes measured in days, weeks, or hours.
In other news, I am not sure I have shared this, but a month or so ago, I became a MISS Foundation Hope Mentor for the Philadelphia/South Jersey region. That means that if you are in need of someone to talk to about your grief, you are welcome to call me, or find a HOPE Mentor close to you. I know that early in my grief, I needed a non-judgmental person to call, or email. Some place safe. I found the blogging community. Maybe you have too, if you are here. If not, call me, email me. I will listen. And if you aren't in need of a person on the other end of a phone line, don't forget that next Wednesday July 27th is International Kindness Project Day, where we do a random act of kindness for a stranger in the name of our baby. You can download the little markers you leave, or email me and I can print it off and mail you some. It is an awesome feeling to do something wonderful in your baby's name. So, come on, start brainstorming!