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.
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:
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. )