Thursday, June 21, 2012

summer solstice

Summer solstice passes without a mention. For I am the keeper of time, the marker of the passing seasons. I am the one starting bonfires, and lighting candles, and creating altars. I am the shaman of myself, for I am the only one in need of medicine.

Lucia is dead another half year. Another blazing hot day. I still want a fire to honor the closeness of the sun, the farness of the daughter. My family is sick of solstices and rituals and candles. We lived through her death, they seem to remind me. Let us carry on. Let us eat ice cream with whipped cream. Let us go to carnivals and parades. Let us go to the community pool with our suits and gummy bears. Let us wrap ourselves in joys instead of sitting still in grief. But I am a sentient stationary being--thinking, constantly thinking, perpetual motion thinking, about all we lost and gained and how to make it different by telling a different story.

I still miss her, though. The missing changed, but it is missing nonetheless. Last night, I carried the baby to bed, though he is no longer a baby and the bed can scarcely be called a place where we sleep.

We roll. We kick each other. We read novels and children's books about fairies and queens and big bad wolves. We dream. I met the devil in my dream last night. I called the angels to protect me. They banished him, but I woke panicked anyway.

I carried the baby and whispered, "It is summer solstice, Thor. It seems like yesterday, but it has been three and a half years since she died. Lulu died. Lulu was your sister."

"Sis." He whispered back.

We cuddled in bed and watched the extended twilight sky. The longest day passed without a notice of its length. It was night, then, and I told her story to myself. It is terribly sad, this story. It is about losing. And gaining. And reinventing. It is about sobriety and drunkenness. It is about family and grief and friends and not friends. It is about our good fortune. We are fortunate. We gained so much after her death. Those things may have come anyway, but they came this way, so we are grateful to Lucia.

I don't have a long post in me. I am worn out and sad, exhausted from the week behind me with a house guest and staring at another in front, but she died, and I feel like I have to say it again here where solstice and remembrance is welcome. Every two seasons I remember that one solstice where ravens perched outside our home. The coldness cut into our faces, scarring them into long streaks of grief. We left without our girl. Sat in a car with an empty newborn car seat. It was winter, then. The cold felt hot and oppressive. Everything did. The hardest thing I have ever done was leave that hospital knowing she was in there. That night felt like every day we ever lived rolled into one extremely long and lonely night. It was a year in a blink. I light a fire to remember. 


I appreciate all the guest posts rolling in for Right Where I Am 2012, as I hope my readers have. I had intended on providing the space for regular readers without blogs, but the call went out on b*bycentre UK, which generated many more guest posts than I thought would come in. The pieces that came in are so moving and beautiful. Thank you for sending them. I will have a few more coming up. Since this project has been going on for a month, I decided to close that offer to the public. If you are a regular reader and still want to publish, please email me. (I'm not a heartless bitch.)


  1. Dear Angie,
    I emailed you yesterday afternoon, I understand if I'm too late, but I hope I can somehow get in there. I've been a quiet follower of your blog since he, my son, my baby, died. I would love to share this blog with my friends and family to let them in on my greif. And for them to see that I'm not just "at home", or "doing nothing" these days... but I'm finding my way through this process... as neverending as it might be.
    Thank you for sharing this morning. I love that I'm reading something of yours LIVE, minutes after you hit post :) All beautifully said, once again.

  2. I thought of your Lucia last night. Where we live the light is in the sky until late, late, late and my husband and I lay in bed, listening to old jazz, watching the sky turn dark, and I thought of her and you and how my oldest girl is the age Lucy should have been, how that winter solstice 2008 I went cold with fear that we would lose her, how lucky we were instead, and why us and why not you, and how all of this is just so unfathomable and cruel and bittersweet and sad. "We left without our girl." How can this be?

  3. Your final line made me laugh. I have to confess that I have been reading the posts, but sometimes I don't read all the way through, and sometimes I can't comment. Reading about the sharp agony of a recent loss makes my loss feel so fresh, and it's exhausting and painful to hurt so much for myself AND for other people. Which makes me feel like a selfish bitch.

    So I just want to say how much I appreciate and admire you for putting out the call, for not just starting the conversation but continuing it. It's a beautiful service and a lovely way to honor your Lucia. I hope I can do better.

  4. I realized it was Solstice and thought immediately of Lucy.

    I would be happy to offer space for guest posts on my blog if that would help.

  5. So beautiful, this posting.

    It made me cry, for you, for Lucia, and for me, for my little Maggie. My loss is only just over three months out, and reading things like this is helping it sink it - this is with me forever. This is my story now, being the mother of a little girl who is gone. I think being lost in the depths of sadness lately, I made myself believe that I would work through things and come out the other side "better" (whatever that means). It's strange to start to realize that even though I know things will get better, this is who I am now. It's a weird thing to wrap the head around. I think it's taken these three months for me to start to realize the finality of everything.

    Thank you for sharing this, thank you for sharing all the stories.

  6. Thinking of you and sending love, Angie. I think we tell stories, and retell them and keep retelling them, and that this is a big part of what it means to be human and alive and connected. I'm so grateful to get to read some of your stories, some of Lucia's.

  7. "For I am the keeper of time, the marker of the passing seasons. I am the one starting bonfires, and lighting candles, and creating altars."

    I feel like this too.

    Today, I noticed the daffodils poking their little heads through (seems early this year?) and I thought to myself, I will be the only one to notice. The daffodils to me, always signify the beginning of grief season.

    Of course where we are, it was winter solstice, so that always makes me think of Lucia. She's such a special girl, and I think of her (and you) all the time and I find it comforting that you get these two big markers each year where you can celebrate her, even if sometimes you feel like you're the only one doing it.

    Love to you, Angie. .


  8. I will never hear the word 'solstice' without thinking of your Lucia Paz.


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