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.
STOP MAKING MY GRIEF INTO A FASHION STATEMENT!!
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:
MY OTHERS LIVED!!
I AM A MOTHER!!
WIDE HIPS AND LONG BREASTS!!
STOP GAWKING AT THE GRIEF GYPSY!!
THE MOON GUIDES ME!!
THEY DIED ANYWAY!!
There would be a moon and an old woman weeping. Maybe there would be a raven.