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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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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Here With Me

For a while now I have been feeling… for lack of a better word… desperate. This isn’t the only thing I’ve been feeling but it has been a pervasive emotion. This morning I woke up early, my will overpowering the desire I had to just keep sleeping and while I was going about my usual routine to get ready I was mentally standing before God with my shoulders bowed and my hands lifted up.

“Help.”

“Help me, God.”

“Be here, God.”

This prayer to ask God to “be here” is a little funny because where is he not? Every time I pray this (and I pray it a lot), I end up amending my prayer to say, “God, give me the grace to be here with you.”….

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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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let us press on

Depression does funny things to the mind. Maybe funny isn’t the right word.
I have certain certainties in my mind and I know I’m not just having a bad day when those certainties pop up like a broken photo link in my heart and mind.

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But maybe there are good things to be found in the land of emptiness and question marks and broken links. It definitely leads me to pay closer attention, ask deeper questions, walk more gently with my feet, pray more thoughtfully.
Am I just repeating the things I always pray? Am I handing people comfort or advice out of some prepackaged place in my head?
Am I listening?

I am listening.
And tired, too. And restless….

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I’m only sleeping

I find myself feeling empty a lot. Empty feels like a lot of other emotions but when someone asks me “What’s wrong?” and I can’t place why I feel tired/sad/lonely/frustrated/angry… I realize I am empty of energy.

Why am I so empty? I can think of several reasons. One is a lack of exercise. Since coming back to Colorado I haven’t worked out once. I took a much needed rest from routine but at some point rest begins to weaken me. Reason two is lack of sleep. It’s not that I go to bed so late, but I do go to bed late and then I don’t sleep very well. I wake up with very little time in the morning to breath and realize why I’m grateful to be alive before I head into a new and confusing job….

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Anger and Gratitude

I have not really felt like “myself” in days.  This is both disturbing and a bit freeing.

Thursday I came down with what seemed to be the stomach flu. Since I can’t recall the last time I had the stomach flu, it was not what I guessed was happening to me until my fever rose up high in the evening. At this point I was at Jessica’s house and she and her husband let me sleep and sweat on their couch that night.
I guess I don’t really need to go into great detail about being sick except that it adds a strange quality to packing, saying goodbye and then traveling when you feel that exhausted.

I would like to write a post that sort of wraps up my thoughts and feelings about coming back to Colorado Springs into a tidy package but I’m not there yet. My internal landscape for this step is vastly unrecognizable to me. Part of me wanted to stay in Washington, part of me wanted to come back here but most of me wanted to curl up into a little ball and sleep for the rest of the month.
I do not like January...

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