One of the reasons I started a blog as opposed to just journaling with a bic and a nice leather-bound book was that I couldn't for the life of me figure out how I was going to address things in a journal. Would it be simply talking to myself? (Yawn) First person, following "Dear Diary"? (So age ten!) Should I narrate through third person? (Good Golly.) I never really liked writing letters or "talking" to Maddy. I do occasionally (see: what we include in the book at the annual candlelight ceremony) because it makes an incredibly difficult situation a bit easier -- especially when two people are involved in the editing. I started blogging because it was easier to write when I thought about someone else reading it, even though I sincerely thought the only people reading my blog for a while were those googling things like "cat liver problems" and oddly getting plopped into my life. (And I hope your cat's feeling better, by the way.)
But days like this I'm just confounded on whom to address. I guess I'm just plain stuck on where to even begin. Even though I know you're all there, days like this I feel as if I'm talking into the wind.
It was such a milestone to reach one year without her, last February. To get out of the way the "well, last year I was pregnant," and "last year now I was going to the hospital" and so on until boom. Like tracking in your own snowy footprints from yesterday, back out to the trash. Now I can safely look back and say "last year I was gritting my teeth" but at least no one died.
But, strangely, the circle kept looping around. There was my birthday, right on the heels of remembering Maddy's death -- now just a harbinger of how dusty my ova really are, and how ludicrous my dream of two children was and is. Mother's Day, where again, I begged people to just leave me the hell alone, and I gardened in silence. Another beach vacation, this time without crying. Fall, holidays, a meager snowfall, and here I am again. Poised to ram my way through an ugly sequence of days, only to start the circle once more.
I'd like to say I've come a long way, or time has indeed healed the wounds. I'm much less angry than I was last year, and I suppose that says something. I suppose I'm more resigned -- to her death, to my feelings of universal betrayal, to the paradigm shift that occurred in my mind's eye about life and hope and wishing.
It dawned on me this week that in truth, I no longer wonder about what it would be like to have her here except in some really ephemeral and brief way. I'm not sitting around today saying to myself, "She'd be two." I've always had a difficult time daydreaming about Maddy and I've never subconsciously dreamed of her save for one memorable nightmare. I did for a few months after she died -- I could see the blurry outline of a little girl, blue eyes, blond/brown hair . . . and then I'd interrupt and point out to myself that she was blind. So that blue eye thing got scratched, and then I'd realize with her enlarged heart she'd be tethered to a machine, and with a liquified nervous system . . . she wouldn't be here at all. And the vision would vanish. To the point where I simply don't envision anymore. She died, she wasn't built to last more than six days, and all my consciousness now accepts that, apparently.
And yet I find myself, still, missing her. Missing her at six days. Missing the shock of hair and the clenched fist and the serene expression that at the time I imagined evolving into something dainty. Missing what my family was supposed to look like. I may have accepted that she could not possibly be here, but someone was intended to, and perhaps never may be. Missing watching my older daughter interact with a younger one. Missing normalcy, communicating without wincing or withholding or tapdancing, discussing children without shuddering. Enjoying myself without always having to share my drink with the Big Elephant at my side. Celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and holidays, not plowing through them. Missing my old body, missing the way I could daydream.
Maddy is frozen, at six days. What kills me is that Bella, somehow, has aged during this mess where I've been a zombie and I've tried to figure out how to walk again. I feel rather tuned into her again, but I lost a year -- at least. She was frozen at two and a half for the longest time. It's only recently, as I explained to her months and years and (gulp) fractions, that it struck me she is four and half. You have no idea how many times I think three. I lost three.
I lost my thirties. I really feel an entire decade has been laid waste by my naive attempt to have a family. It started poorly, there was joy in the middle, and it ended with catastrophe. What I wouldn't give to go back in time, sometime around Bella circa 15 months, and whisper in my ear, "Be content with what you have." Because I was. Completely. But that's a post for next month.
And then we get to today: It's a birthday, for sure, and while I'd like to honor that, you see it's the crux of the problem. It's the tease before the push down the stairs. The sleight of hand that makes me feel euphoric before cackling with laughter and cutting off my air supply. The reminder that beauty and bliss and nirvanna could so quickly be consumed by horror and despair. The cruelty of the moment -- of this day -- still haunts me. This year I'm less inclined to throw a trash can through the window of the universe (probably because I'm tired of lugging the damn thing around), and like I said, I guess that's progress.
I'm trying so hard to just miss her -- not all the peripheral grief that comes with her loss, but today it's difficult. Everything is compressed into a few hours -- if you really want to calculate, it's located in about 20 minutes. 20 minutes of holding a beautiful baby and thinking I had it all, before the first faint, unassuming sign that I was about to lose everything. I'll be honoring the start of those 20 minutes this afternoon, and the subsequent six days of sliding down Mephistophele's rabbit hole. It's the least I can do.
It's not happy, but it's her Birthday. And I love her and miss her terribly.