Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This past full moon, the Strawberry Moon, I sat down to write again. Full moons always make me write, but I grew pink at that impulse to write about another full moon and grief. Maybe my grief is cyclical like the moon, growing large, then whittling down to nothing again. There is a longing there when the moon hangs full and heavy in the night. An excitement in me that translates toward insomnia and a pull towards more grief and introspection. My baby died. I give myself the moons.

It is strange to edge into summer solstice and not feel a bottomless pit of darkness. She will be gone three and a half years. We will have a house guest. We cannot even dance in the late sunset by a bonfire. Undress like pagans. Drag charcoal across our faces like warriors. We won't plait our hair, dance until it knots and we look like tramps. We cannot burn charged candles and draw totem. And cry, scream, sing. We won't wrap our regrets and the people we want out of our lives around sage and burn them.

We will be proper people, nodding and forgetting. Toasting to the summer! Long live the summer! Short death for our daughter! May she come back next life soon! May she find us and hug us and be our friend!

I feel so obligated right now. The dog wants to come in. The baby wants jimmies for breakfast. People need to know now. The garbage needs to go out. Bags of our Lucia's almost-future need to go to donation. The school needs a paper bag and a board game and a short day, but still a day. So and so needs their whatsit. And I am just tired. The baby died again, albeit she was not a baby at all, just an empty sac we thought of as a baby. We heard she died, or never lived, at 12 weeks, but it could have been eight, or six, or anything, really before twelve. She was small and not quite a baby yet, but she died. She came out of my body and I bled on everything. Then I had to clean the toilets, using the brush to scrub the blood from around the rims, because I am the mommy. I felt lost in my role at those moments. Or rather I felt found. I didn't imagine it our baby I was cleaning, or the toilet, or the bathroom, or the blood I kept wiping from my palms. It was just a job I do everyday. Like parenting and grieving.

Beatrice cried the other night because all her sisters are dead. Though we never knew if our little dot was a girl, we assumed. Another gypsy sister, all curly hair and the color of Thor. And I teared up too. "I always saw you with little sisters, Beatrice. I'm sorry they aren't there to play with you, honey."

"Me too, Mama," she said, "I'm sorry your sisters aren't here to play with you."

I feel like I'm grieving the loss of Thor and Beezus' little sister. It feels more their loss than mine. I only grieve Lucia and all the life that came with her, which is quite a lot, and might have included another little sister.

To be honest, I hadn't called anyone in the first few weeks of my miscarriage. I have spent three years thinking now that I know better, I will do better. But I just couldn't call. I let people call me--people with issues bigger than mine, like people who wanted to drink, or who lost their jobs. The calls helped, even. There was a palpable lightness of being after talking, particularly when the person on the other end didn't mention the miscarriage at all. I really do not want to talk about it. I don't want to hear her name, if she is even a she, because she doesn't have a name. We only called her little dot, because that is all she was--a dot inside of me. One that never grew.

This pregnancy was destined to fail. I absolutely willed it to exist. I gave our family one try to expand, and it did. It expanded, a nova, came together again, stronger, denser than before. There is no more baby. There never was. I wanted the little sister, sure. I wanted another child in my home, but when she left, I found myself looking at my living children and exhaling. Ahhhhh, no newborns. Not anymore. No worrying for nine months. No anxiety. No comments about how big or little our family is. No sleep deprivation. No blow-out diapers. No all the things that come with newborn life that was scaring the shit out of me.

I told my friend that I saw ravens before the miscarriage. I saw them all over. And she said, "I see death birds before my people die too." I nodded. That was it. She isn't a raven. The death bird was there to tell us she was dead. She is nothing, but the sister that never was.

I bought a three buck feather earring at Target. It was black and looked like a raven feather. I wore it, because it reminded me that my babies died and death birds come. Someone said they dug the Native American thing I had going on. And I wanted to scream. Just scream, like a wild thing, a scared thing, a terrifying thing.


But it is a fashion statement to someone who doesn't understand. I find comfort in symbols that belong to my babies, even when they weren't babies, just empty sacs where babies almost grew. I want to cover my body in the symbols of all my children. I wear a feather and a deer antler and a wooden moth in my hair. Golden locusts in my ears that remind me of Jess.  I wrap myself in long gauzy skirts and chanclas from Panama, and nursing bras, because some times, I still nurse. I make necklaces out of beads, and I want another tattoo. The tattoo would scream:


There would be a moon and an old woman weeping. Maybe there would be a raven.


  1. Sending big love from across the prairie sky.

  2. I miscarried my first pregnancy. I was seven weeks five days pregnant when I started bleeding. I realize, ten years later, that that early there was probably never really life in that little dot. But I loved it all the same, that potential life.

    I went on to have two daughters. And I often, oh so often, think of what might have been their big brother. Sure, I have no idea if that pregnacy would have created a big brother but I feel like it would have. And I grieve, even still, my daughters' loss of that big brother.

    Your words...they are strong and beautiful.

  3. Darned Strawberry Moon, promising sweetness, delivering longing. Not that the two are always separate, but I wish they could be, at least sometimes.

    I love being the mommy, but it does seem to come with all of those obligations and I think of you, doing such hard and wearying grief work, having these conversations with your Beezus, and my heart just swells up for you. Swells up with Sorrow, pride, amazement at the creative ways you grieve and mother and create, all at once.

  4. I spend way to much time nodding and forgetting.

    This was so beautiful.

  5. "My baby died. I give myself the moons"

    My Baby died and I got angry with the moon. I used to talk to her and I was angry that she allowed this to happen. Seems silly to type it....but it is the truth.

    I often grieve the loss that my son has without his sister. I speaks of Camille like Beatrice speaks of Lucy. The missing. We grieve for our children's loss not only our own and that makes it doubly painful. We want to protect their hearts and we can not.

    I also want to apologize. I am sorry when we talked that I spoke of your miscarriage. I did not mean to upset you, I am sorry that I spoke of it, of her, of the dot. I hope your weekend away was beneficial in some way.

  6. Lots of love, Angie. This is so beautiful, if that means anything. They died. They didn't. Gosh.

  7. Oh Beatrice. I'm so sorry my little love. And your dear mama. All those obligations. It is . . .. . unsympathetic? (And that isn't the right one but the correct one eludes me) At times. Being a mother.

    I never named the little one between the girls and my son. I don't think that that there ever was anyone there to name. Just a tiny dot. An empty sac where a baby almost grew. Maybe.

    I heard something on the radio today that reminded me of you. It was a Romanian lady talking about her grandmother. She said that, when she was a little girl, she used to tell her grandmother that she would miss her so much when the grandmother died. The grandmother told her that when she missed her, she must pass around the bagels. In Orthodox tradition, when you miss the dead, you feed the hungry. So you light a candle and put it through a bagel and give the bagel to the hungry. I think that is what you do, that giving of the food to the hungry reminded me of you. Now I'm worried that sounds a bit odd?! I hope you understand what I mean?

    1. That is beautiful. Although I think, with where I am right now, a bagel for every time I missed the dead, missed my little girl, the world would be out of bagels!

  8. My lost my third baby in 7 months to miscarriage the day before Mothers Day this year... I was 9 weeks and I saw the baby, his tiny fingers. It's so devastating regardless. It's an idea, plans we had, hopes, images and planning their future. I've found its hard to "hope" when it comes to pregnancy now and I miss the blissful ignorance I had with my son, and that most people still have. Positive test = baby. Not to me, not to most of us. It means "maybe" and I'm tired of maybes and ifs.

    ((Hugs to you))


  9. "It expanded, a nova, came together again, stronger, denser than before." I always thought there would be more of us in our family, but now I know maybe there won't be and suddenly we do seem denser, stronger, a tiny little circle of us against the world. It is complicated being the mommy, complicated losing babies in all these different ways. I'm sorry Beatrice doesn't get a little sister, so very sorry. This is a beautiful piece of writing. I have thought and thought about it, and still don't know what to say...

  10. Sending you so much love. Another who was deeply moved by this post.

  11. As usual, your words are so beautiful. I'm sorry you had to scrub the toilet after you bled. Is that a weird thing to say?? I genuinely feel bad you had to do that. I wish I could have flown the 3,000 miles to clean your bathroom, rub your feet, and made your kids breakfast so you could take some time to grieve in peace.

    I'm sad, too, that Kevie has to grow up without his big brother there to teach him things only big brothers can. We grieve not only for our children gone too soon, but also for our living children who must grow up without them. None of it is fair at all. xo

  12. So much love to you, my friend.


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