Thursday, November 24, 2011


After an early Thanksgiving dinner, the baby started whining and grabbing for my shirt. I try to limit breastfeeding to before nap, but I wanted to be still. To lie on my back and not speak. Nor smile, nor cook. Just be. So I grabbed the baby up took him up to bed, even though it was much too late for a nap. After days of preparation, and Thanksgiving pre-k crafts, and pictures, and airport runs, and no shower since Tuesday, I fell asleep. The baby never slept. He slid off the end of the bed and ran to the stairs and called for someone to rescue him. "DA! DA!" I slept a deep hard sleep that made me bleary-eyed and grumpy, but rested. I forgot where I was for a moment. When I woke, I forgot that I wrote about you. I forgot about Thanksgiving and the tree being gone and my daughter being dead. I just slept without conditions. Then I stumbled to the phone on my bedside table, and saw it was 430, and that I had an email. It was from Sugar on the Rumpus. And then I remembered how fucking grateful I am to be able to sleep.

Can I tell you a secret, loves?

I am grateful.

Not that she died. But that I had somewhere to go when she died.

That in your desperation, you created a place.

I pulse gratitude. It pumps through me. In waves. Circulates through the outer reaches of my body, the extremities of my being, even my swollen, grumpy fingertip still gets some thanking blood.

She died.

I don't say that lightly. I just say it because it happened, and I forget that is how we all met. Well, not quite forget, but I look past it. I am grateful for many things, after all, not just you. I spread my love around, Internet. I scoop up the baby and pretend to smell his tootsies, but I spend ten minutes just kissing each toe, and each cell of him. This week, with all this gratitude talk, I have been staring at him more and more. He lived. Do I say that enough? Do I sit in the grace of that enough? I am grateful for my health, my family, my house, my little dog who is quite big now. I am grateful for being an alcoholic and being able to fix the broken parts of me, because now I know what is wrong with me. I am grateful for my strong calves even if I can't buy boots easily, and my long nose.

I am grateful for so much, the solidity around the absence of her. And yet, when a Sugar column popped up in my email last week, asking people to submit their gratitude, all I could think of was you.

94 Ways of Saying Thank You.

Can you find mine? If not, here is what it says:

Dear Sugar,

I am grateful for the on-line community of grieving parents that formed a mini-country after their babies were stillborn or died early in life. At first, I felt exiled to their barren wintered land. Those brave, vulnerable souls saved my sanity, my humor, my baby’s memory. They saved my life. They keened with me. They expressed outrage and stomped their feet. They asked me to tell them the story of my daughter’s birth, even though they knew the ending. They looked past my daughter’s torn skin and white skin and told me she was beautiful. (She is beautiful.) They made me laugh when the last thing on earth I wanted to do was laugh. They shared their wisdom and their children and their unconditional support. They made me feel normal in a world and society unfit to deal with baby-death, dead baby grief, and the idea that healthy people have stillborn babies.


What are you grateful for, my loves?  
 (Oh, and I am totally answering Cathy from Missouri's question, but this is the first time I have sat to write in a few days. Will do that this weekend, promise. And answer emails. And comment on blogs. )


  1. I know I'm taking yours but...I too am grateful for our mini-country of BLM's. Without you all I seriously believe I would be dead or in a mental institution. You all give me a feeling of normalcy in a world that is corrupt with false reality. I thank you for keeping it real and always being honest. I thank you for always putting yourself out their no matter how vulnerable you feel.

  2. Beautiful dear Angie. I share in your gratitude for the mini-country that exists only in our world.

    Love and light to you,


  3. Beautiful, Angie. Happy thanksgiving. I'll always remember when you washed up on our shores. You didn't have a compass, but you still managed to find us. And for that, I'm grateful.

  4. This is just perfect an lovely. From the bottom of my soul I am so grateful for this community, for having found people like me and not like me, who are fundamentally the same as me. For a place to talk about Calla without wincing or judgement or the internal yawn.

    And I'm grateful for Biscoff spread. But mostly for everyone in here ;)

  5. Like Stefanie said, i would either be dead or in a mental institution if it weren't for our mini-country. I am so grateful to have found you!

  6. I am so incredibly thankful for you and this community as well. It saves my sanity. I am not sure how I would cope without you all.

  7. i'm grateful for stillife365. it gave me the courage to express my grief through art. it gave me an outlet and without that outlet i do not know where i would be today. thank you.

  8. I think I'll start Thanksgiving celebrations in Ireland if it means stopping to consider what we are grateful for and not moaning all the time.

    What a beautiful post to read on a Sunday morning. I too am grateful for this mini-country, for floundering around together, supporting each other when our strength starts to fail and having a place to cry the words "She lived!!" xx

  9. What a wonderful contribution for sugar. I second every word of it and thank the universe every day that I found my folks to live my new normal.

    Much love to you & Happy Thanksgiving! xo

  10. I too am so grateful for all the wonderful friends Katie has brought to me, in real life & online. Happy Thanksgiving! : )

  11. Beautiful. I am ever so grateful for everyone I've met on my grief journey as well. You've been one of the most inspiring of them all, but everyone in their own way has inspired me or helped me in some shape or form. A mini-country that says, "No, you aren't a freak at all. The people who deny that this happens? They're the freaks."


What do you think?