Monday, September 2, 2013

burying

There is still so much I think about in regards to Lucy's death. Like the fact I never had a funeral, and that small non-funeral gesture sent out such enormous messages to friends and family. Perhaps that we didn't want to speak of her, or publicly mourn her, or maybe even that her loss, and further our grief, was only ours, not meant for anyone else. We prescribed how others should grieve with us. We told them not to send flowers, or to wait to call. It was all isolation and silence. We did that. No one else did.

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.

24 comments:

  1. I will miss you over at Glow. And reading you here as often. Peace to Angie.

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  2. I will miss you. I know I've not commented in a long while, but I still try to read it all.
    Life is fast. It's sad because it's fast.
    You were a guiding light in many ways. I loved how you so boldly expressed your grief. I love you for that. I needed you for that.

    Love to you

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  3. We didn't have a funeral either. Most friends and family are far away and we didn't like the idea of our grief being on display. But we also didn't want people to feel like they could go to a funeral five days after Bear died and feel closure while we were still in shock. Isolation felt better when nothing felt good. But I did worry that we were somehow minimizing Bear's death and our loss by not doing this cultural norm.

    I will miss your writing. But I will remember your Lucia Paz. xoxo

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  4. My cousin's baby died shortly after birth, and she lived states away so they chose not to have a funeral. She was talking about regretting this with my mom about five years later, my mom helped her plan a family memorial bonfire. My mom read a list of all the family members that had died over the years and everyone had a chance to share what their thoughts/feelings. It was very special with laughter,and tears.

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  5. I couldn't bear to have a funeral at the time either. We had a memorial mass on her birthday, one year later. I liked thinking that instead of being a victim, right after the tragedy, I was now more of a participant in remembering her. In celebrating her. I was able to plan it, cherish it, and remember it.

    Thank you so much for all of your beautiful words. You've been able to articulate the things I couldn't. Much love and peace to you and your family.

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  6. We had a funeral, but it was just me & dh, my parents, FIL & stepMIL, BIL, SIL & their two boys. And the minister. I just didn't feel able to handle everyone else's grief (& especially their pity) on top of my own at that time. Sometimes I think it was a mistake, that maybe letting them come would have made our loss seem more real to them. But it's never too late to have a funeral/memorial & to invite others. Go for it!

    You are an amazing writer & your presence here & at Glow will be missed. Don't stay away too long. (((hugs)))

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  7. I never knew the real purpose of a funeral until I attended my son's. I pray that in honoring Lucia in that way, that it brings some healing to your soul.

    I read this yesterday in Mother Angelica's Answer Not Promises book:

    It takes a lot of trust to know that God, in His perfect Mercy, takes our loved ones at the time that is most favorable for their souls. There are some who are ready to be with God in infancy. Although we cannot know the nature of their mission, we must trust that they have fulfilled it. Others among us need many years to work on our holiness and lots of time to repent. All of us have been given a unique meaning to our existence, and until that meaning is fulfilled, we must continue to wait for God to call us Home.

    May His peace be with you.

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  8. We didn't have a funeral, either, for all the same reasons Bear's Mama mentioned, and I worry and wonder over it still. It's not something I could do now and it's not something I could do then. My mom always says funerals are for the living, and I think that's just it. If it had been for her, I could have done it. But there was nothing that could be done for me.

    Angie, I hope you know how much your writing helped me. I don't even have the words to express how much I needed to read what you were writing. There were days when your words truly made all the difference, when I felt like you were expressing what I could never articulate. I'll always be grateful for that.

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  9. We didn't have a funeral either. We live far away from family too and being emotionally devastated from his death and physically devastated from the c-section made the idea of bringing a bunch a people into our home and our town unbearable.

    Thank you for all your gifts to this community. Even if the art and the writing were all done to help you, they ended up helping so many of us.

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  10. I often worry that by speaking the name of my dead friend, by wanting so badly to FEEL her in some way - that it takes away from her mother or her widower. But IF she can hear me or see me or feel me, I've been told over and over that energy doesn't work like the physical world. That she can be there for all of us, all at once. That me thinking of her, that her being with me, doesn't mean that she isn't also with her mom, her sister, her other loved ones. It doesn't take anything away from someone else.

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  11. I rarely if ever commented on your posts, but they have each been a salve to my aching heart in the years since losing my son. I will miss your writing Angie, here and at Glow. I am so grateful for all that you have given - of yourself and your family and your love - to this community. Remembering Lucia with you always.

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  12. Thank you for this post Angie and all of your writing and work.

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  13. I just lost my little girl on September 1, 2013 at 38 weeks. Like yours, her heart just stopped beating. One day she was kicking like crazy, the next day, nothing. Like yours, we had marginal cord insertion, and no other obvious defects. My blood pressure was a little high at the end, but nothing alarming, and I had had a normal prenatal visit the day before: her heart had been strong, pumping away at 130 bpm. I will be waiting for test results for some time, but I have a feeling that nothing will turn up. So I will continue to blame myself for running to catch the train; for letting the dogs crawl all over my belly; for pulling an all-nighter at work at 35 weeks; and most of all, for not going to triage when I had a bad headache the night before. Because maybe those foibles played some small role in her death. Maybe if I had just gone to triage, they would have seen something and gotten her out alive. Probably not. But I'm having a hard time letting go of the idea that I was the only one who could protect her, and I failed. I am the sort of person who sees everything in terms of cause and effect, inputs and outputs, act and justification. Failing some scientific rationale for my little girl's death, I am left only with myself, with the knowledge that she was in my belly. I was the final gatekeeper, and I didn't or couldn't save her.

    And so I've been reading these blogs all day in search of some sort of hope. I just wanted to let you know that yours was exactly what I was looking for. Finding someone who had an essentially identical experience to my own has given me that glimmer of hope -- that I will be able to have other children, that this isn't my fault, that maybe these things really do just happen for no reason at all. So, thank you for sharing your experience. It has made me feel a little bit less like an alien in a world full of people, all of whose mothers were able to carry at least one child to term.

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  14. Thank you for your writing, for they way you've built community where so much isolation is the norm. I will remember Lucia, who died and was born just the day before my first daughter (who lived), and be grateful for her mother, who helped me when my second daughter went like Lucy, gone on a winter's night, so terribly unexpectedly.

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  15. I can relate to this! I'll follow you in all you do. :o)

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  16. We didn't memorialize our daughters' deaths either. For the very reasons stated here by others - our grief was so enormous, we couldn't bear the thought of dealing with anyone else's. But what's worse, we didn't let others in to see them when they were here. We turned people away. I didn't even call my mom until their last breaths. Those moments - we just wanted every second to ourselves. We didn't want to share, or to talk, or explain, or look at anything other than their faces. But gosh, what we stole from others. I realize this now, and it hurts me.

    I had this vision of a beautiful tree planting ceremony for their anticipated birthday. A Celebration of Life. A coming together. I even bought invitations and filled them out by hand. And I just couldn't put them in the mail. We planted our trees. But just M and me.

    Angie, I love you. I love your writing. I love that we found each other when we were so, so broken. And have been able to watch each other heal and change. I love seeing where you are, and I will follow you wherever that is.

    Love.

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  17. Oh, Angie, this is beautiful and I am so late to it. I will miss reading you here, but I think it's a natural thing, this withdrawal from grief writing. I am so glad that you shared your strong mama love and your Lucia Paz with us. Yours is one of the voices that helped me get through the early years of grief with something like sanity intact and I am so, so grateful to you for your humor and storytelling and honesty, and for your ability to bring people together in community. So much love to you.

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  18. Whatever you do (wherever you write) please let me know. I love and loved reading your thoughts and seeing all the beautiful art created Angie. I say why not bury Lucia on the Winter solstice- it would be beautiful.
    Love & Light

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  19. I loved this post. I found you at a time when I desperately needed to connect. Your space was safe and allowed me to grieve with others who knew. Thank you so much for your Right Where I Am. I still sift through and read those posts. Take care.

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  20. It's December tomorrow, and I'm looking around at some blogs that I used to read. I don't read much anymore, which surprises me, because I never thought I'd stop.
    Our December babies brings me back here. Forever linked by the 21st December.
    We had a funeral for Joseph. It was intense. It took 9 weeks for his body/ashes to be returned to us, so there was a lot of thinking and planning in that time. I guess the funeral planning was a way of focusing on him. I wonder if our decision making process had have been different had we been able to plan for a memorial in a 'normal' amount of time. It is what it is.
    I've loved and shared your writing, especially in my early days of grief. Reading posts out loud to my sisters and shouting "see! This!!! This is what it feels like!" I thank you for that. Beautiful lady.
    And I love what you write at The Moon and the Stone.
    Blessings to you, Angie.

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  21. i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady who encharm him with her beauty, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I complained to my friend and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr Saibaba. who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 2days. she ask me to contact Dr Saibaba. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two days my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness and that he never knew what came upon him that he will never leave me again or the kids. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr Saibaba on any problem, he is very nice, here is his contact templesaibaba@yahoo.com

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