Monday, August 1, 2011

across the universe.

Nothing's gonna change my world. Nothing's gonna change my worrrrld.

Her singing catches me up.

Nothing's gonna change my worrrrld.

It makes me sad, suddenly and powerfully sad. Nothing will ever fix that break between thinking nothing is going to change your world and it changing. Her sister died. That is normal to her. One day, someone will tell her that not every sister dies, and that her having a dead sister is something to be immensely sad about. One day, she will ask me if I love her sister more than her, because, well, my world changed when her sister died inside of me. I am still making sense of that, even if it is for a moment during a Beatles song sung by a four year old.

Nothing's gonna change my worrrld.

She skips across the floor. In that crystal clear bell of a voice, she sings the saddest song in the world like it is the most hopeful.  

Tryyyy and you will go hooooooommmme.

I like her words better than the sanskrit.  

Try and you will go home.

I had this image in my mind all day of Lucia, lying still on the hospital bed, as I undress her. (I forgot to do that.) I count her toes. (I forgot to do that. Did she have ten?) While Lucia lies on the bed, I bend over her, cover her bruises with sea lavender, and salvia, and lavender. Dried and fragrant. The purple of her torn skin, and the indigo of her bruises turn into flowers. I baptise her with rosewater and kisses. She turns into a sketch of a girl that comes to life, and dances around me, singing in flowers. The smell of holy covers us.

Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting thorough my open mind, possessing and caressing me.

She is sitting still now on the ground, doing an intricate small movement of her hand, weaving yarn together. Her movement is poetry and magic and the sun and the universe, because it is here and I can watch it. But I cannot hold it, no matter how hard I try. I capture it in words, and repeat them until I get somewhere to write them, and they are changed, like she is suddenly. This is a meditation and a lesson and the morning and the mourning.


  1. You can tell her that your world changed when she was born too.

    It makes me sad that Elizabeth will have to grow up knowing that same normal.

  2. Aiden's name is on your blog because it is August and because he would be turning one if he were here. But he isn't. Shit.

    Aiden and Lucia changed our worlds, just as Bea and Thor changed yours and Little Kevie will mine.

  3. Sometimes the only thing to do is just sigh a very, very big sigh.


    I hate that my children know this more than ANYTHING else about it. I think.

  4. I hate that they know this but I'm always amazed at _how_ they know it - tucked into their world and held there.

    Your image of Lucia is so beautiful and haunting and this:

    "The smell of holy covers us." made me cry and sent tingles down my spine.

  5. This was my childhood, as it is now my children's. Losing my baby sister was my normal. It didn't steal my hope for the future. I would give anything for it not to be my children's normal.

    I love the picture you paint of Bea and Lucy together in their parallel realms.

  6. Meadow and Lennon both used to sing this song. But their favorite is "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." I forgot to undress Holden and count his toes too... much love to you. As always.

  7. Beautiful, Angie. I can't say anything more profound than what you already did. The fact that it resonates so deeply within me is enough I guess.

  8. Haunting post. I love this song, which makes me love this post even more. I don't know what else to say, but thank you.
    And I wish I undressed her as well.

  9. I love hearing this song in Bea's voice, through your ears. I am sad that this is her normal, too, and then I wonder if this kind of normal may not actually be more normal than what we're told is normal. (I've tried to make that sentence make sense, and this is the best I could do.)

    Thinking of you and your girls and your boy, and sending love.

  10. I'm so sorry I'm not commenting on this until now. I wanted to before and then time got away from me. I just had a dream about my sister and when I woke up I remembered I wanted to tell you about her and about us.

    You see I have a sister that died when I was 2. She spent 2 months fighting for her life in the NICU but she never really had a chance. She was born with so many problems they were surprised she lived as long as she did.

    I don't remember much about her life or death. My mom says I was very angry when she left. She says I wanted to know why I didn't get to have my baby sister.

    I do remember pin wheels. We put them on her grave every year when we visited her (and family) in St. Louis (where she was born but where we never lived after her death). Every time I see a pinwheel I think of her.

    I also think of her whenever I hear the song Somewhere Out There from an American Tale. It's almost never played anymore but if it does it's like she's with me in that moment.

    I also lost three brothers, all stillborn at around 5 months. I don't remember any of their birth/deaths either but I must have been quite old when the last was born. I still don't know how my mother survived that much loss. She was going to get her tubes tied because she couldn't stand to lose another baby when she found out she was pregnant with my other little sister. We are seven years apart.

    One thing I'm always surprised about is that I don't remember my mother being sad during that time. She must have been. It must have been something we lived with every day. I'm sure I saw it in her face and felt it in her trembling embraces but I don't have memories of that. She never made our life about those babies. Sometimes we talked about my sister Stephanie but never about the boys. I learned about them later.

    I think the biggest legacy that my sister left me was gratitude. And some anxiety. I have to admit, my journey to becoming a mother was deeply marked by my own mother's (and my) loss. Knowing that babies can and do die was something concrete to me, not an abstract horror that most new moms easily push to the back of their minds. I worried about my daughter dying from the moment I found out I was pregnant with her (actually, I've worried and still worry about since forever). Losing my first pregnancy didn't help.

    Having said that, now that my daughter is here I do believe I'm more grateful for her than I would have been had I not lost my sister, had my mother not lost her daughter. It was a sad thing growing up but it did not define my childhood. And while it does not define my motherhood, it has etched itself there in what I consider to be a beautiful way.

    All through my life, even to this day, when I am having a hard time I look to my baby sister. I have a relationship with her because I sought one out when I was sad or happy or just wanted someone to share things with. And while I never really knew her here on earth, I know her very well in my heart.

    I just wanted to tell you a little bit about what it's like to be the little girl who learns some day about that losing her sister is not something that everyone suffers. I wanted you to know that it's not always such a sad thing. Sometimes it's very special.

    Of course I'd rather have my sister here with me but I'm grateful to have known her in the way that I do. I'd rather have her with me in my heart than not at all.

    Thinking of you and Bea and Lulu and Thor.


  11. Oh my goodness. I saw your post over at Stirrup Queens, Angie, about Esperanza's comment, & now I'm sitting here in my cubicle at work with raccoon eyes. You see, today is 13 years since I went to my six-month checkup & found out Katie's heart had stopped beating. I had thought I would be OK today -- but I had to sit here this morning & listen to a coworker showing off the ultrasound for her forthcoming grandchild :p.... and then to read this -- I am a mess. I loved the movie American Tale, & that song always made me bawl, even pre-Katie. Thank you both for making a hard day better. (More teary, but better, lol.)

  12. Esperanza, if you're reading here again, I want to say thanks for your comment. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today.
    Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.

  13. Weird how things happen...

    I popped over here to catch up on your blog because I had not been for too long and I always like to have quiet time to read your posts. I don't often comment but I always read. After reading this post I really wanted to comment and let you know how beautiful I thought it was, especially the image of your daughter changing form into a dancing sketch of a girl.
    Then I got to read Esperanza's comment. I'm expecting our second child any day now and I have been thinking about this topic so much as of late. What will it be like for her to grow up with the knowledge of having a dead older brother. Will my sadness over losing him color her life? Will it always be something that she lives in the shadow of?
    Thank you Angie for this post and thank you Esperanza for your comment.

  14. This is such a hauntingly beautiful post.

    I have not yet told my son about his lost siblings, but he knows about babyloss, and it has made him a more caring, thoughtful little boy, even at age 4. He knows the value of life. I know that Bea will, too.


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