Friday, May 31, 2013

right where i am 2013: four years, five months, nine days

Two years ago, I launched a project called Right Where I Am where I asked other babylost parents to write about right where they were in their grief. And it also was about how wherever you are, it is right. I asked people to only talk about the present moment in their grief, not where they were yesterday, or tomorrow, but how they were feeling today. I asked each person to title their piece with Right Where I Am: followed by the time since their child or children died. Here is  the first year's post. Here is last year's post. One hundred and seventy-nine people wrote about right where they were the first year, the second year, it was one hundred and thirty-two. It was more than profoundly interesting. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, lovely, powerful. I found it fascinating to read last year's and compare where I was last year to this year. But also just to think about what grief is like for me now, and what I am wrestling with these days. Also know that if you are new to this community, we want to hear your story too.  I hope you decide to join in. If you do write, post your link in the Mr. Linky below. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, I'll answer them as soon as I get them. 

Sometimes where I am feels not right. Something more should be pouring out of me. My daughter is dead, after all. She slipped from my body on a cold December evening four years ago, her skin torn and white. My heart broke open, the last of that innocent, young me flowing into her. I felt an overwhelming compassion for all suffering. It was a few weeks of tremendous pain and understanding, then I closed my heart, and waited for someone to work hard to open it.

But that wasn't the worst day of my life. I don't even know which day was worse than finding out she died, but it wasn't the one where I held her. There were random days in that first year, days of darkness and crying and anger so overwhelming all I could do was scream. There were days when people told me that they could no longer abide my grief. Those were bad days. The worst of them maybe came at year three, because the effect of three years of grieving barreled back at me. My blog and writing has never been the same since that day. The worst days.

In the worst days, there were also the best ones of my life. Ones of grace and serenity. Ones filled with gratitude and recognition. This community held me so many times, and I have watched it hold all these people at different times. Those moments of grace, which I have witnessed for four years, humble me. I am privileged to be among such incredibly amazing, creative, funny, smart, deep people.

Here is the thing I dare to write. I grieve Grief. This thing I was so sure of, that drove every moment of every day for those first few years. The aching, the longing, the sadness that rested its head on the shoulder of every joy.

I was absolutely certain of grief, as though it were a person I could commune with, blame for the spilled milk, fight with, bathe with. I could photograph Grief back then, standing in every family shot, right behind me shooting up two fingers behind my head, whispering, "Bunny ears, bitch."

I knew Grief. I could define it. Write about it. Paint it. It looked like me, and it looked like a saint, a bodhisattva, a darkness, an ache, the Angel of Death. Grief looked like weeping, felt like a grenade. And now Grief is gone too.

My daughter's death lies just beyond reach. It was there. She was there. Or rather her absence was there. I was so sure of the negative space that was just the size of her. I could see the place where she should have been, the mother I was supposed to be, but now, it is only this one life I'm living. I'm too far down this path to remember any other path that once opened for me.

She is gone. Poof. Presto. Ala-Kazaam. It is the most terrible magic trick ever. A black sheet thrown over my grief, and it is gone, and so is she.

Perhaps I grieve the immediacy of her death, raw and pulsing. The certainty I had of what people who loved me should do or be or what I needed and didn't need. Do I grieve my bad behavior too? I suppose I do. I cringe and miss the certainty is all. Now, I expect nothing. I don't have a particular burning desire to talk about Lucia Paz and the way her nose was just like Thomas' nose. It just is. Anyone else's acknowledgement of her death, her life, or her absence affects nothing of my feelings about her death, life or absence.

There is a hole in my years, one of grieving, like the years of a drug habit, gone into oblivion. I can recall those months, the darkness and pain almost too much to revisit, so I don't often. It was hard. My baby died. I wrote and wrote and emailed and wrote. I do feel different, like I will always be the woman whose baby died, who behaved badly, who grieved out loud for too long. I protect my heart. Constantly. Always. It will be a life long practice to trust people again, or rather to not care if they are worthy of my trust. I try to make friends, but the ones that I am drawn to are the ones like me, who have something that profoundly shifted everything about them. Mostly now, I am friends with others in recovery. So many of the people I have met through my sobriety have lost a child, or a spouse, or both. Truthfully, I have trouble being a mom in the schoolyard waiting for my kids, making chit chat. I do it. I try, but I can never quite get over that hurdle of "BUT THE BABY DIED." I don't even think it consciously. It is just there. Waiting to be said.

Last year, I was still bleeding from my twelve-week miscarriage. It had only been a few weeks when I wrote this post last year. When my heart chakra broke open then, bleeding the blood of my fourth child, pouring all the love I could into his passing, I knew of this fleeting, precious time with him. This is it. This is all I get.

I let my heart stay open. I let people hold me and pour their love into me. I realize now the heart breaks open to accept the love from others, not to give it to others. I had it all wrong when Lucia died. It is why I had so much hurt and pain from small things. This time, I let myself be loved. I let my circles of women hold me. And in doing that I healed the pain and hurt from Lucia's death. Not the pain of her death, but the unforgiveness and anger I had for the ones who could not abide.

At four years, I have forgiven all those who couldn't be strong. I forgive myself for her death. I forgive the euphemisms and the wrong things said. I forgive all those years. I forgive all those who never said what they wanted to say. I forgive the people who think stillbirth is not a big deal, or that I should be over it, or that anyone should. I forgive myself for drinking too much, and being a rotten friend (even if I could not have done anything more than I did.) I forgive my husband. I forgive.

I am free of unforgiveness. This has been the practice of the last year and it has been incredible to live in healing and reconciliation, to open to the Divine and my own Higher Self. My wings beat hard and strong. I soar. I can tell you that I was not ready for that at year one, two, three, even. But this year, I feel like myself again, the one that I always knew I could be, or was. The one full of forgiveness and love.

There is a different grief in my family right now. I have no desire to write about it. It is something I sit with, turn over in my head. I grieve with someone else now. I open my heart to her, and lay my hands on her, listen and talk. To abide is the great gift of these years of sobriety and grief. I am now capable of being the friend I needed.

:::

Now, it's your turn. Where are you in your grief? Emotionally. Physically. Psychically. Spiritually. You can compare your journey from last year's post (don't forget to link last year's post to this years.) Title your post, "Right Where I Am 2013:(Time since your child's death)" then come back here and link your blog post on the Mr. Linky below. Click other participants and read about right where they are. Comment if you can. Thank you for telling me about right where you are. If you don't want to write a full post, why not just comment here and tell me the time since your loss(es) and anything else you want to share. If you do not have a blog and are a regular reader, you can post your essay on this very blog as a guest writer. Send me an email at uberangie(at)gmail(dot)com. Spread the word around the community by linking back to this post, so people can find out what grief is like on all stops on the road. 



47 comments:

  1. Forgiveness. I look forward to that milestone.

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  2. I really love these posts. Thank you.

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  3. Being that friend is so liberating, Angie. Powerful words.

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  4. I was just thinking to myself a couple of days ago that RWIA would be coming up soon. I am glad to participate again, and read the other entries as well.

    Your last paragraph there, about abiding, and being the friend you needed, I get that. I can also relate to grieving Grief. It envelops you for ages and you hate it and love it at the same time, for what it represents, and then one day, or over a course of days really, it up and leaves and for a time you find that you are bereft anew, because it is just one more thing that seemed permanent and is now gone without your consent.

    Thanks for writing, and encouraging other to write.

    Much love - vera

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  5. I was thinking of this the other day too. I think this is a really important element in seeing how far we've come in grief...that progress. Thank you for sharing. And encouraging.

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  6. So grateful to be a part of this again. Beautiful post!

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  7. Angie, I am so very glad I found you back in 2009 when I was raw and clinging with fingertips to this life. you have always had a way of speaking what I can't. This post is no different. Thank you. x

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  8. So amazing to see the changes that occur over time. Keep soaring, my friend. Honoring the new grief you now sit with.

    Thank you so much for doing this again.

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  9. I really love this project :)
    So grateful for all you do x

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  10. Angie, Thank you for this reflection of right where I am. I re-read last year's post and was amazed to see the healing that can occur in a year. A measly 365 days. And yet, there it is. Healing. Still missing a limb. Still missing a daughter but the wound is less painful and raging. Thank you Angie.

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  11. I went back and forth about sharing where I'm at right now. It's still not a pretty place. It can be quite bad sometimes. But maybe taking a chance is what I need right now.

    Thank you for creating this space. As always, I relish your posts.

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  12. This took my breath away, Angie, as your writing so often does. It's the way you have of touching the tenderest, sorest parts of grief with words that tear open that sadness and apply a salve at the same time.

    Thank you for writing and for forging this path for so many of us, for letting me know I'm not alone in this.

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  13. Can another year have passed so soon?

    Understand the grieving grief...

    Thank you Angie, as always.

    xLouise

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  14. When A told me you were doing another Right Where I Am, I thought grumpily, "I don't like where I am so I'm not going to write about it." Then today I changed my mind. I guess I needed to write.
    -Burning Eye

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  15. Ever since you put this post up, I knew I was on board this year. Every day I think of lines to write that so perfectly capture where I am in this grief. But when I find the time to sit and get to a post - I either know I'll be cut off too soon... or the energy behind the words are gone...

    So much of my grief (RIGHT NOW) is triggered by caring for a new baby at home. And every day, my grief is effected by sleep, or lack there of. Today is a good day. I got several hours (in.a.row) of sleep last night, and the time I'm using now to FINALLY comment, I'm afraid I dedicated most of it to tidy the house and get myself cleaned up.

    I WILL FIND THE TIME/FOCUS to do this this year. I have to.

    Thank you Angie for creating this space, and this connection for all of us. "Right where I am" last year was certainly a starting point for me in expressing this journey I'm on, within this community. And in doing so, I do believe it saved a lot of my sanity, and made me feel so at home.

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  16. Thanks so much for this, Angie. What you write about the heart breaking open to let love in resonates so much.

    Much love to you.

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  17. Thank you. Thank you, Angie. Last year, I was just ten months out from my loss. This project felt lifesaving to me. It made me feel like I was a part of community, like I wasn't alone. It helps me now to reflect on where I was, to think about where I am now. Your writing is beautiful!

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  18. Thank you again for this brilliant project Angie. Sending you hope and hugs. xoxo

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  19. "of "BUT THE BABY DIED." I don't even think it consciously. It is just there. Waiting to be said."

    Yes.

    I'm so used to this now, I didn't even write it. But yes, it is always waiting to be said.

    Thank you for doing this again Angie.

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  20. I loved your mention of grief being in every family photos. Bunny ears, bitch. It touches on so much for me, but especially the dark humor we find in the depths of such tragedy. Thanks for doing this project. I find it incredibly therapeutic to write and look back to a year ago. xoxo

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  21. Thank you so much for doing this again.

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  22. Thank you for hosting this and helping us all.

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  23. thank you for hosting this, I missed last year but will be reading all linked posts in the weeks going forward.

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  24. If anyone can get me back to my keyboard, it is you dear Angie. I don't blog much at all anymore, nor do I comment (which makes me feel pangs of guilt on a daily basis, but I can only do so much) but at the very least, I know I'll always come back for this project. When I got wind of it being on again this year, I simply knew i had to take part.
    As always, your post was breathtaking and you capture what so many of us around the same timeline are feeling, but in a way I never could. You're incredibly clever and I feel lucky to know you.
    Thank you Angie. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    xo

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  25. Thankyou again for allowing us to pour out our hearts xox

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  26. No words today. I guess I used them all up trying to figure out on paper where I am now. So, here's a hug and a thank you.

    xoxo,
    Amanda

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  27. I almost forgot to link up! It looks like I snagged the 27th spot. My heart smiled.
    Thank you again Angie

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  29. Year three, here we go.

    I loved this post. The way you are able to articulate the depth of your thoughts is astounding.

    Love you Angie. Thanks for keeping this project going.

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  30. Third post...thank you for keeping this going Angie. It's a wonderful way to reflect and to see how far I've come.

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  31. it's amazing how things can change so much, yet stay the same. this will be my 3 RWIA post. and i thank you for keeping this going and being an "inspiration" {i put it in quotes because i always cringe when people tell me i am an inspiration, yet i know no other way to describe what i am trying to say} to other grieving parents.

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  32. I love this, Angie. I love how you describe the absence of Grief, the magic trick. It does feel like a sleight of hand some days. Where did that knife go that was carving open my heart? xo

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  33. This is my second year, but first time posting a link. Thank you for doing this <3.

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  34. Thank you for doing this. And for sharing where you are. It all helps.

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  35. Such a lovely, lovely idea. We are not alone. Which helps. So much.

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  36. I am so thankful for this project. I often find myself making my way back to your list of posts so that I can read and reread posts. Thank-you.

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  37. Finally got mine done. :) Thank you, Angie.

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  38. I found this link on a baby loss board and it is my first time participating. Thank you for organizing this. It makes me feel less alone in my journey.

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  39. Thank you for this. These always make me feel less alone....Linking mine up as well!

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  40. Yes Angie. Over and over to each of your words, yes.

    "I could photograph Grief back then, standing in every family shot, right behind me shooting up two fingers behind my head, whispering, "Bunny ears, bitch."" Yes yes yes.

    "My daughter's death lies just beyond reach. It was there. She was there. Or rather her absence was there. I was so sure of the negative space that was just the size of her. I could see the place where she should have been, the mother I was supposed to be, but now, it is only this one life I'm living. I'm too far down this path to remember any other path that once opened for me.

    She is gone. Poof. Presto. Ala-Kazaam. It is the most terrible magic trick ever. A black sheet thrown over my grief, and it is gone, and so is she." Jesus. Yes yes yes.

    "Truthfully, I have trouble being a mom in the schoolyard waiting for my kids, making chit chat. I do it. I try, but I can never quite get over that hurdle of "BUT THE BABY DIED." Yes yes yes.

    Should I copy and paste your whole blog?

    As always, I am so moved by your words. Thank you, Angie, my friend, for being such a light in a such a dark place. I am so forever grateful that you were here, offering beauty from the ashes in your hands, as I walked this road. I don't return to this place as often these days, but I think of you and your darling Lucia Paz so often. Much love.

    - Kari

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  41. I first wrote a post for 'Right Where I Am' this time last year and you kindly published it on your blog for me. This spurred me on (along with 2 other bereaved mums) to create our own blog space (lossthroughthelookingglass.blogspot.co.uk that any bereaved parent could contribute to. This year we are again writing posts on our blog for the project that started us off as well as playing host to others we have met on this journey who have also been inspired to write about where they are in their journeys. Thank you Angie xx

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  42. Thank you for hosting this again. My youngest son is currently in counselling for PTSD over our sons death. I will be asking him to read some of these entries so that he understands the concept, and then I will ask him to write his own as a bit of a project. I think it's important we all identify where we are, and to know that where ever you are, no matter how far away you are from their death, it's all OK. It's all normal.

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  43. I love this project. I read many posts last year when I first lost my daughter and I love seeing how people's grief changes. It is reassuring to know that it does. For so long, it feels like a tunnel with no end. A year later, maybe it feels like a tunnel with some windows. Next year, who know? Thank you for creating this and for all those who participate.

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  44. Finally getting around to this. Love this project!

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