Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I have no grief to give you anymore.

No, wait, maybe I do. Maybe it hides behind the confusion. It crouches behind the spaciness and flakiness and the general feeling of being overwhelmed with life. Or maybe that is grief itself, dressed up for work.

Lucy died.

I write about it here. There. Everywhere.

After the last baby died, I grieved for a little, then it was over. I cried only once. I didn't name her. And I wondered if this community had space for not-naming, or even not-grieving as much as it has space for grief in whatever form it arrives. I didn't want to exaggerate the experience. It was physically grueling, but I didn't feel sadness over the life she didn't get to lead. Life was over before it began. On the grand scheme of suffering, it was barely a blip. We get behind anger. We get behind indignation. We get behind sadness. But what about no-grief? What if I felt like I grieved the grief I needed to grieve in two weeks?

Grief is something I poured out of me onto the trees, the flowers, the internet, for three point five years. It flowed into every piece of art and writing I did. Grief isn't a controlled essence. It is not a tameable beast. I couldn't control when it was a torrent, and now as a single tear, I cannot will it into a keen. It drips into this post, of course, but it is a different grief. It is the grief of an inevitable ending.

I have replaced my addiction to bourbon for Wint-O-Mint life savers. I eat them like candy. I chomp them, and imagine the blue spark.

CHOMP. Blue Spark.
CHOMP. There is another.
NARFLE...not quite a spark, perhaps a faint ember, or a fizzle of aqua.

I want sparks in me. I want to feel a passion. I have one. It seeps into all the posts I write now. I don't know how to manage it quite yet. I don't even know what to call it. I would basically live in my studio if I didn't have to manage everyone else's life. There was a time I wept here constantly. That was a grief we all know. I cried about the death of my daughter and drank bourbon. I put the bottle on the floor by my feet, and thought about dying. Not suicide, but it was just that grieving and drinking while being me was torture. This room was a dark place.

But now, I would spend all my time here if I could. All this writing about grief and acceptance and living with her death transmuted that sadness and heaviness into something beautiful and healing. My hands are strong and muscled, and in the nooks and crannies of this room, there are letters from babylost friends, thank you cards, artwork about death. There are skeletons, and political poetry, old love letters, and a dictionary. There are milagros, and sins, if you look hard enough. There are baby spider plants in water, growing roots, ready to be put in soil. All my sacred objects are here, except Lucia.

I burn incense constantly. And when I write, I draw it in through my nose. It becomes part of me, part of my writing.  I write because writing is a compulsion. I don't understand why I feel the words in my fingers, and need to get them out. But I do. Words flow out of me like a faucet turned on, until I have to eat or sleep or tend to a child. I write now into a word document and sometimes post something that no one reads. It smells of sandalwood and sage. There is wax dripped on everything in my studio from the candles I burn to light the incense, and the children leave a trail of the sandbox on the floors. Sand and wax. Wax and sand. It all mixes up together with the smell of fresh, clean mint of Lifesavers. This is what I am now. Sand and wax and mint and incense all borne of grief, but not grief.

If this space becomes gypsy, or fortune teller, or recovery, or art, it isn't grief. And if it stays grief, it isn't me. It isn't my truth anymore. I struggle with it constantly, because this space never meant to be forever about grief. I have a post a month in me about grief, but not five, or even two. I want a space for that post, intermixed with all the others. I start to write about other things here, but it morphs somehow back to grief. I used to think it was because every suffering was a form of grief. Now, I think it is because I want so desperately to stay a part of this amazing community. This blog is like this old bourbon room I'm sitting in, it hasn't quite been changed into an art studio.

After six years in this studio, I rescreened my screen door. I open the glass door to hear the chimes, let the wind blow through the space. It changes the dynamic in here. The art hangs like prayer flags. The wind carries out the old bourbon smell, and the incense, and peppermint. And sandalwood. It carries out bits of artwork, and grief. The wind carries joy in too, and music created by the mourning doves, but no mosquitoes, or flies. I need to start writing about the things being blown into my life right now. I don't quite know how to do that yet. I think it involves new paint, and a different flavor of lifesaver. I hope you stay and read. But if not, I understand. Until then.