Thursday, December 27, 2012

mother and fawn

I read this Buddhist adage that says, "The cause of death is birth."

Yeah, unless someone isn't born yet, then the cause of death is sex.

I have this outpouring of appreciation for the support we received this year around Lucia's birthday. There is no rhyme or reason to grief. It stalks, pounces on its time, not yours. I reached out and said I wasn't doing well. That act itched me. Eczema stretched the length of me. I jittered and rubbed myself against old bare trees. Scratching the vulnerability away, but it stayed. I needed to feel it to remember my strength.

One Thursday in the middle of the month, I was cooking arroz con pollo for a friend, which is very much like paella, except with chicken instead of chorizo and seafood. And the thought occurred to me that I need wine for the rice. Wine goes in paella, and arroz con pollo and my mouth. At least it did before I quit drinking. Back then, I began drinking when I began cooking. I was alone with the children, and I searched the cabinets and found a bottle of unopened pinot noir.

My heart opens like a lotus, calls for vulnerability as her food. There are moments when only faith stands between me and a drink, or me and an angry word, or me and my death. Grace surrounds me as I stared at the bottle. I don't know if I would have drank a glass or the bottle or nothing. But it caught me up, suddenly afraid of slipping. Suddenly aware that wine is not necessary in any dish I cook now. Cooking and drinking. Drinking and cooking. They are all tied together for me.

Later in the day, I went into a church basement, too overcome to speak, I cried, buried my face in my hands, deeply grieved and full of want.

My daughter is dead four years.
My daughter. My sweet sweet girl.
And sometimes there is nothing to do but drink. And I cannot drink.

Women held me. All week I cried into women's shoulders, in their hair, on the phone, in their inboxes. This year the grief lessened. I felt a lightness of being that seemed so far away in the last three years. There is magic in my life now. A seed of connection to the Divine, a moment of breath between declarations of her state of mortality. Then the week of her death and birth came, and it was like it happened yesterday, or perhaps even that very day. But I feel protective of me right now. I mother myself now. Care for me, allow me to rest, give me the space for solitude and vulnerability and bad behaviour, yet let me curl up and weep. I feel worthy of protection and grace and connection to the Divine.

January 10, I will be sober two years. My daughter dead four last week, and my body creaking into year thirty-nine on the fourth of January. It all makes me feel old and brand new, like a fawn, spots like code across my back, and my legs not quite strong enough to hold my own weight and yet hours away from running.


  1. Beautifully written, as always. Thank you for sharing your pain, and your truth. <3

  2. I've been thinking of you and of your Lucy.

  3. "the cause of death is sex. . ."

    In one of the conversations I had with my living son about my dead one, I told the living one that we lost his brother the moment he was conceived. And then I looked at my living son and realized in my marrow that he was lost the moment he was conceived, and I was, and my mother was, and my husband, and everyone I love. I could only hold on to knowing that for a moment, it was so intense. And so true.

    Holding you in my heart these darkest winter days. Honoring your grief and even the sharpest of the pains. And holding a deep sense of gratitude that you share what you share.

  4. I sort of assumed, based on the ages of your children, that we were fairly close in age, but your wisdom, and your powerful writing and personal style led me to believe you were notably older. Turns out you're just four months older than I am.

    How I wish you didn't have this wisdom to share, but Lucia in your arms.

    And how trite do I feel making such a wish for you when I can't understand your pain, and everyone knows how desperately I (and all non-babylost parents) hope I never do. Still, I appreciate that you share what you know so honestly. Like terrifying peeks behind the curtain that separates us. It's perspective, grace, and hard, cold truth served up with such raw and tender feeling. It's a gift.

  5. So sad and so beautiful! Thank you for your wise words. You and Lucia are in my heart.

  6. Congratulations on your sobriety. While I have never had that particular challenge, I am a 19 yr BLM. It does get significantly easier as the years pass and your family falls into place. It won't make sense to you know, but it will one day. I promise you this.

  7. That last line absolutely blew the top of my head off. Hours away from running.

    Lucia has been in my thoughts this winter solstice.

    And yes sometimes it does feel that there is nothing to do but drink. When life beats us over the head so.

  8. Lucia has been in my thoughts these dark nights. You are beautiful Angie, you, your words. I wish you love for the coming year.


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