Sunday, October 21, 2012

In the Coming Darkness, A Light

I love the fall, this downshift season.

I love the colors and the crisp air and the delightful sunny, warm days. I love the gold of the light through yellow leaves and how it can seem bright on even a gray day.

I love layers and sweaters and pulling the covers up at night. I love soup simmering on the stove and hearty casseroles baking in the oven. I love squash and kale and apples. I love clearing the dead plants out of the garden—and still running out to snip some kale or broccoli or mustard greens or parsley.

And I don't really mind winter, but December is another story. I still dread it, still get anxious about how to make space for joy and grief, celebration and commemorating. I made some headway on it last year, but I don't trust it. Grief is not linear. I know this. I've forgotten and been reminded. December was better, but I'm wary.

But here is my light going forward:

I was talking to my aunt tonight and the day for grieving families that I go to at Children's came up. I talked about how it felt right for me to go back in late fall, in what was the middle of our time there. And, I said, It's right before . . .

Your dark time, she finished for me.


It won't always be dark you know.

I started to cry. Maybe part of me knew that, but part of me needed to hear it, because sometimes it feels like it will always be dark, despite the light most days. I have come so far in these almost five years. I don't need to reread my journals or this blog to recognize that (though I like to do that). I have come so far in these four years ten months. There will be other milestones, but I think (hope) believe December is the last big hurdle. I pushed back last year to reclaim the month to take back some of the joy. I will keep doing that, but I suspect that there is something beyond my control that needs to happen through grief work, through time. Maybe it will take five years or six or eight or ten. I don't know. But it won't always be dark.

My cousin died 15 years ago. I don't know when the darkness lifted for my aunt. Perhaps it faded slowly so that she wouldn't have been able to tell me if I had asked. I didn't need to know when it happened for her. I know we all have our own timelines.

It won't always be dark you know.

It feels a little lighter already.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Where have you been?

It's been a while since I've been here adding words. I've opened this page to see what other mamas I read are doing. I've thought about writing again, but then I think of all that has happened in the month plus since I last wrote and there are so many things I should have said.

I should have told you about Kathleen's first day of school and about the day I watched her through the secret window and saw her standing hands in pockets not doing anything, not talking to anyone and my belly lurched and my heart ached as I begged her silently not to be shy, feeling years of my own fears and struggle welling up. And I could tell you that she seems to be settling in and that I need to relax and trust her to make her way.

I could have told you about having coffee with one of the preschool moms and not realizing she didn't know about Henry and about telling her and how it wasn't as awful as it has been as I dread it being.

I should have told you about how I finally signed up for and started a writing class and how I love this time that I carve out for me and the energy I haven't felt in so long that wells up in me as I get words out. And that makes me think I should share some of those words with you and maybe I will, but not today.

I should have told you how my mother-in-law died almost two weeks ago and how I heard her and my sister-in-law laughing as if somebody left a window to the next world open. And how I felt Henry's energy zooming around with them.

I should have told you that Brian and I celebrated our seventh anniversary, despite all those dire warnings about divorce rates when we had a baby born with health issues, and the equally dire warnings after he died. And too that my mother-in-law died on that anniversary, but that Brian still got me a card and flowers.

I could have told you that because of the funeral, we missed the Buddy Walk, a walk we've done since the year after Henry died. And how my sister emailed the organizer and asked her to give each team a red heart balloon so Henry could be represented, and they did.

I could tell you the three trees that we had taken down this week by our barn and how different our yard feels. I could tell you that I'm having as much fun as Kathleen walking and balancing on the cut trunks, jumping from stump to downed limb for now, until we cut it up for fire wood.

I could tell you that I'm settling in for fall and thinking about the fires that will make the house cozy this winter. How everything but the mums and asters have died down in Henry's garden.

And underlying all of it my own wondering what I'm doing here, what I want this space to be, how much I want to tell you about Kathleen and Elizabeth. And I don't have answers to that. But here I am, and since I'm here I'll tell you too that I was visiting a friend and with her reminder, her son brought out the heart shaped stone he found on the Cape this summer. It's a lovely, tiny one and its up on my Henry shelf with the last little flowers from the garden and my mizuko jizo from Angie and my cardinal stone from Erika and the cardinal from Tricia and it made me smile on this gray and rainy rainy day.