Can I Get Back to You?

If you’ve known me for more than a few years, you may have noticed (you imaginary readers, you) that I didn’t write anything on my daughter’s birth/deathday this year.

Here’s what I was doing instead of writing: hanging out with friends, going to church.

For several months now, I have been in this angry-at-religion mode. Not angry at my Christian friends, not angry with God, but angry at all of the trappings, all of the methods and all the ways people use to talk about those methods. It had become reactionary to the extreme. If I thought through the things that set me off, I could identify that they were either really not a big deal, or I could see how I disagreed with them (also not such a big deal). In some cases, identifying something that set me off would cause me to realize I actually agree with that thing. Nevertheless, I was struggling furiously with all of it…

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It’s not you, it’s me

I have deleted my facebook page! What a relief. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, but hung on because of this idea I had about Staying Connected. Then I realized real connection was being stifled there, like hunger is dulled, but not truly satisfied by eating candy.

So. Here I am, blogging without announcement. Can you stillĀ hear me?

I’ve been writing stuff that I haven’t posted because it all feels too unsure, too experimental. For now I would like to share this poem I wrote on my birthday a few weeks ago.

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When You’re Gone

My strongest urge right now is to clam up. This rarely leads to anything good, and so I’m writing.

Today is my daughter Sarah’s sixth birthday. How does one celebrate (commemorate?) the birthday of a dead person? When people have children, they usually spend a decent amount of time planning birthday parties. What you do, you do for the kid. I assume you do what you think your kid will enjoy most. Birthday cake with trucks, cake shaped like a doll, colorful streamers, games, friends. If they are really young, you invite whoever will come and everyone sits and watches this dexterously inept human smear frosting from ear to ear, and from nose to toes.

But does a person who has stopped living continue to age? And what do you do on their birthday every year?

I have been asking those questions on this day for the last six years…

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Trauma Brilliance

Some of the best moments of marriage to my ex husband were the weeks following our daughter’s death.

I won’t say that they were the only good moments, because that would just not be true, but they were some of our best.

The day of Sarah’s birth and death, we were both some kind of mighty beings. After all, I pushed a human being out of my body with no drugs and after over 24hrs of not eating or sleeping and undergoing unbelievable amounts of physical pain. I actually had burst blood vessels in my eyes and when she was finally on the outside of me, they laid her gooey, curled up body onto my chest and I thought, “Huh. That’s a baby.”

I guess it was exhaustion induced ambivalence.

It didn’t take long, though before indifference turned to wonder. Drained and bleary wonder.

We were, I think, too tired to do anything that day but obey whatever was happening each moment…

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Counting Thursdays

January again.

This year I had better intentions for the month. I had planned, not only to be busy but also to be happy. The funny thing about my “happy plan” is that the only thing involved in the “plan” was that I choose to be happy. Certainly this is a possible thing to do, but I might have been smarter to give myself helps along the way.

This doesn’t mean I’m unhappy today, it just means that the melancholy I felt a little yesterday and the grumpy I felt a bit this morning were both confusing surprises to me. I tend to deal better with emotions when I know why I feel them.

But here is what I realized this morning. I was thinking about the coming week because my roommate had asked me if today was my daughter’s birthday. “No,” I said, “it’s (and I had to count the date and days on my fingers) Thursday.” This, then made me realize a lot of interesting similarities that are occurring this year that haven’t occurred since she was actually born….

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Convergence

My friend Susie and I drove to Chicago for Thanksgiving. This was not a short drive, let me tell you. To her praise, Susie did the majority of the driving.

We left Wednesday evening and drove through the night… took a slightly “scenic” route and got even more scenic somewhere in Iowa when we missed an exit. We survived and the trip there, though several hours longer than it should have been, was pretty miraculous and full of laughter. We drove through the suburbs and picked up my friend Dave and from there headed into the city…

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Thank you, more please

After a day of busyness and celebration I feel reflective and, out of step with all of the sweetness and joy, I feel a bit sad.

No expectations were disappointed. In fact, I was surprised several times today by gifts, kindness, phone calls, attention. At the dinner table

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tonight there was a distinct family feeling. I asked everyone who knew birthday songs in other languages to sing them. We got Norwegian, Russian, Dutch, Thai, an African language… and… I feel like I’m missing one. I wish I could have recorded this to share with you.

There was a birthday cake, cinnamon rolls, chips… and then at dinner a dear friend, Susie brought me these marshmallow filled brownies!! I love marshmallows!
We went to Starbucks after dinner clean up was over and people bought me coffee, a mug, a gift card…

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Party Time, Excellent

Today I become 34.

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First lasts

Saturday was my last day working at Starbucks.

I had a good little shift… flowers from my coworkers and a gift card (thank you!)… hugs and then clocking out for the last time.

There wasn’t much time to feel sorry for myself. Not to mention I actually feel really good about having a few weeks off to Get Things Done. I will miss seeing my coworkers and customers on a regular basis, but I will not be sitting around bored.

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Today, for example, I am sorting through the stuff in my room. It’s a mess. But I have music and take breaks for things like editing photos, writing blog posts and eating Jessica’s food….

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Surprise Ending

Three really good things happened today.

1. I spent time holding an infant. Earlier today I had this great idea for a post about what acts as “therapy” in life and in there was something about holding babies.

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They are soft and grunty, they smell of heaven and sitting curled up on the couch with a wee one sleeping on your chest is right up there with… all of those other things right up there. It’s awesome. This morning I heldĀ  Jonah Lambert. He will be a week old tomorrow….

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