We didn't want to ruin anyone's Christmas.
It sounds ridiculous when I say it now. It was two days before Christmas when we returned home without her. Gifts under the tree for her, new ones, and a nursery set up for no one. Our child just died. We made thousands of heartbreaking decisions while I was in labor and she was dead. The hospital demanded it. And I, cramping under the grief, spoke to funeral directors without any emotion. Did we want to have a funeral for our dead daughter the day after Christmas? The week after? Would it matter to us at all in five years?
Throughout the years, I have created many rituals in her honor and her name. All my work has orbited around her death in one way or another in the first three years. Perhaps because all those rituals for the four of us could never make up for that one ritual for everyone else.
December will be five years since I held my daughter. The weight of her I can no longer remember. The smell of her, the look of her, gone like her. I see her in Thor, constantly. I kiss them both when I kiss him. But I wonder if this is the time to bury her, invite the family for a memorial on the winter solstice, include others in our rituals. Is this the time for a funeral?
I imagine it as a huge bonfire on the solstice, us gathered around, remembering there once was a girl who held our promise and love, and she is missed, not just by us, but by all of our family and friends.
I don't know if I had a religion before she died. My religion was me, I guess. Nothing so holy. It was about my enlightenment. My serenity. My peace of mind. And she taught me compassion for others on a global scale. She taught me what it was like to suffer. And not the suffering I had already done--the suffering of a broken hearts and feeling different and letting go of things. Or the suffering of being a normal adult lady taking care of her father, drug addict friends...she taught me that universal suffering, the suffering of grief. To grieve. To let go. To mourn. To be kind in the face of suffering. (I learned that by not being kind.) She taught me all that. I started writing about her and ended writing about everything else, and finding a religion that had nothing to do with a church, and everything to do with everyone else. Through all that wisdom, I would give it all up to have one more day with her. But that is not a choice I am allowed to make. And besides, I wonder if I truly would, knowing she would be gone again, and I would grieve again without any of the lessons I had learned about grief, life and love that I had before that one day.
I will always ache to be her mother, and I will be comfortable with the way life went. It is one of those paradoxes that I would have cringed at in early grief. She is always in my blood. That little smidge of DNA makes her permanently part of my water, my blood. And so that is how my baby is the water, and this people ash, the bones that are white and grey and sit in my secretary, that makes her the earth. And the fire that consumed her, that makes you the fire. And the prayers and mantras whispered to the wind, calling her for, that makes her the air. And so she is all things to me. I can't imagine her any other way, but esoteric symbols of the infinite--the directions, the light, the dark, the spiral, the labyrinth, the heart expanding infinitely back and forward until it emcompasses all life. But I can't imagine what she would be. Little sister. Big sister. Middle child. Daughter. Grand daughter. I am sister. I am mother. I am crone and I am maiden. And so are you.
I finally am burying her here too. I have to put my grief writing to rest. Put her spirit to rest. I sometimes wondered if I summoned her each time I write her name on my computer or in my journal. Does she come, all put out and rolling eyes?
Alright, Mama, I know, you miss me. Can I go now?
I burned her. (Her body only housed the Lucy I came to love.) And she went with the wind. And what's more..she became the wind blowing through my hair, a moment of caress, a lover reaching an intimate place in plain site.
Today, I publish my final post on Glow in the Woods. I will be there editorially for a while as we transition a new editor. My grief writing ceased serving me or anyone else. I didn't mind the lack of comments, they made sense to me. There is nothing to say about her death anymore. It was sad, so sad, and now we are here. I don't know what will become of this space. I hope to revisit and use it as my space to write about grief, her death, but mostly about our family. I have paintings for people. I just haven't sent them out yet. Life seems too fast these days. And I am writing at the moon + stone blog every week. But about crystals and tarot. Love to each of you.