Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love is Something

Love is something if you give it away
You've got to give it away
Give it away
Love is something if you give it away
You'll end up having more

Love is like a lucky penny
Hold it tight and you won't have any
But, give it away
And you'll have plenty
They'll roll all over the floor


Love is something if you give it away
You've got to give it away
Give it away
Love is something if you give it away
You'll end up having more


I suppose I appreciated the part about tossing away the penny and the image of cold hard cash spilling over my kitchen floor -- accompanied by Bella making a motion with her fist and then her hands, as if to say, "Voila!" Never too early to teach children about the economics of the stimulus package, I say. Bravo. had Geithner gone out with Bella at his side last Tuesday, pasted on a big smile, and begun this song with his arms across his chest? Stock market up.

But the rest?

When Bella came home a week or two ago, singing this at top volume replete with arm motions, I had every intention of marching into her (wonderful, lovely, Oberlin-trained) music teacher and screaming,

What the FUCK are you doing?! What are you teaching my daughter? Don't you realize this is bullshit? No? This is what poets write to make themselves feel better, after their girlfriends have left their nerdy, depressive, introverted asses and they're curled up in their parent's basement, listening to Nirvana with a bottle of cheap whiskey. The idea that you could give it away and get more is a myth. Yeah, yeah, Sting as his tantric, "Free! Free!" can bite my pock-marked ass. I've given that love, more than I've ever known, and you know what I have in turn? Pieces. Splinters of me, wanna see? There is no return flow, no expansion of my heart. If anything, it almost compressed my muscle to the point of shutting down. I gave love away and they absconded with it in the middle of the night, and I ain't seen shit in return.

Please just shut the fuck up about these Keynesian polemics and stick to Wheels on the Bus, or Frere Jacques if you're feeling especially daring. Thank you.


Valentine's Day was the worst day of the six. Beginning in the late afternoon of the 13th, but really coming to a climax circa 7 a.m. the morning of. I've never asked, but I think this was my husband's worst piece of it too. I called him at home with the news, just as he was getting ready to leave, and he once pointed to the exact spot on floor where he was standing when he was holding the phone. He remembers exactly the window he was looking out of, while listening to my voice come in what must have been broken, jumbled monotone heartbreak, and I can imagine the scene, with the wet snow rushing by the window, sideways.

It's horrible to say, but the nadir -- the moment of learning of Maddy's fate, was in it's split second, the most horrific news I've ever received coupled with a twinge of relief. And perhaps that twinge, that she wouldn't have to fight, that there would be an end to this supremely fucked up roller coaster ride, makes the moment that much worse. I remember being unable to think of how to phrase my question to the doctor; the only time I had ever discussed ending a life was in regard to a pet. Too tired to think of another vocabulary, and hoping I didn't sound too much "Dingo Ate My Baby," I managed to cough up something to the effect of when we knew how much interference was too much.

And though I can't remember my exact phrasing of the question, I remember his exact answer, verbatim. I remember his young, exhausted face framed by the ugly, gray sideways sliding storm outside my window. My leaking breasts falling out of my gown, the traffic news on mute casting a blue glow in my room.

"I think we're there now."


I wasn't given a chance to decide whether to love Maddy or not, she was mine, I was hers, and frankly love her was all I could do. I couldn't bathe her, hold her, feed her, touch her. I could only exude love. It was in my mind the supreme example of unrequited love. I got nothing. Two years later, my heart still swells, and floats, and I still get bupkis. Definitely not more. (Geithner, take note.)

It only occurred to me this morning, slow as I am, waking up after a very late night at girl's night out bookclub, glancing at my clock and noting the painfully early hour, that Maddy's heart literally broke on Valentine's Day. And if that isn't some ironic epic fail, I'm not sure what is.

Oh, my mama loves, she loves me
Like she loves me like a rock
she rocks me like the rock of ages
and loves me.

There was a space, between finding out she was suffering from extreme brain damage, and the moment of clarity on Valentine's morning, where I was the saddest I ever was. Only loving. And shortly after this picture was taken, somewhere in the wee hours of Valentine's morning, as I had to succumb to my lids closing, she seized, and her heart stopped. There wouldn't be another picture like this, where you could see her face without a tube shoved down her throat. There wouldn't be another picture where we didn't know what was coming.

Love is something, ain't it.


sweetsalty kate said...

This post makes me feel all that conflict... she's so beautiful, and yet she's gone. Sadness and relief, guilt and reconciliation, sadness and love. It's still confusing for me that these things can coexist, still.

This was so beautifully expressed, tash. Beautiful and worst.

Aunt Becky said...

One of the single most heartwrenching posts I've ever read, Tash, and that's saying a hell of a lot. I'm thinking of you, your broken heart, your sweet and beautiful daughter, and I'm so angry that you have had to go through all of this loss. So angry.

I want to beat something for you. For the unfairness of it all.

And I want to tell you that I'm sending you love. All the love I can muster (a surprising amount).

Beruriah said...

I just don't know what to say. Like Kate said, it's just confusion. But my thoughts, and my love, are with you.

Melissia said...

Words fail me (that damn Topamax.) I have thought of you often these past few days, and thank you for sharing your picture of Maddy. She is beautiful.

k@lakly said...

I remember reading your words last year, being introduced to Maddy, knowing already how the story of her life would end and still feeling as though my insides had been ripped open when that time came. And now a year later, the wound feels just as fresh, just as raw and just as ugly as it did then. I can only imagine what it must be like for you Tash. But really I can't. You words of such a horrific experience are, as always, beautiful and heartwrenching.
I wish I had something equally well said to offer you in the way of comfort. But all I can think of to say is that this is just so unfuckingbelievably wrong.
I wish she were here, that things were so different and that you had never had to know this pain.

And she is lovely, serene and peaceful in her mothers arms.
But of course, your eyes tell the whole story don't they?

If I could, I would come and hold you tight and drink a shitload with you.


Hope's Mama said...

Oh Tash. No words today. Just love right back at ya. Lots of it.

loribeth said...

My own heart is breaking tonight for you & for Maddy. Thank you for sharing that photo -- she's beautiful.

Natalie said...

Oh, oh. Beautiful, heartbreaking post. And valentines day, yes of course. The world is surpremely f***ed up in that way. Just so wrong.

Love is beautiful. So powerful, so... heartbreaking.

Coggy said...

Look at her she is so beautiful. It truly breaks my heart. The look on your face really does say everything. Love really is something. Some huge thing that we have no control over and which time and time again leaves us open to such pain.

I can't tell you how much I wish things were different for you and Maddy. Life makes little sense to me any more.

Sophie said...

Oh ouch. Big ouchies. :(

I get it, Tash. I so get it.

Maddy was so beautiful.

Gal aka SuperMommy said...

Only love... in this, that's all we have. Unconditional as it is. This is beautiful, Tash, and I'm feeling you deeply.

Lacri said...

Tash, she's beautiful and love just oozes from your picture.

I've never been able to reconcile how sick my baby girl was with the pink, perfect baby in the photographs. And your sweet little girl was just as perfect. Another hateful irony.

charmedgirl said...

you know, it's funny how when i got to the end and saw there was a picture, i cried because i realized i never saw her before. we all write and read and comment and get attached to each other and our dead babies and our stories...and i feel like we all love each other's babies just because we love our own and who else will? (i mean, in general.) i got to the picture and jesus tash, she's beautiful and i could do something dramatic for the nonsense of the reality of our dead daughters.

Dayna said...

Tash, I don't think I've ever seen a picture of you and Maddy together before. I can't imagine what that must have cost you to post. What a heart-wrenching, yet beautiful, way with words you have. I am at a loss for them right now but please know that I am sending a great deal of kindness your way.

luna said...

oh tash, my heart is breaking for you all over again, reading this, and seeing how precious and beautiful she was there in your arms. gorgeous and heartbreaking both.

Azaera said...

She's so beautiful and I'm so sorry.

c. said...

It really is, isn't it? It really is.

She's so beautiful, Tash. She's just so beautiful. And me, well, I'm just so sorry. Again. Still.


Betty M said...

She looks so beautiful there and so loved. I am so very sorry that it is the way that it is.

parodie said...

Your love for Maddy (and your subsequent grief and loss) has opened you up to the love of a community of others, and has given you insight and compassion into the pain of countless others. It's a weird kind of "more", but it is there nonetheless.

I wish you didn't have the pain. I don't want to say it was "worth it". But you are making something worthwhile out of it, out of your immense outpouring of love for your daughter.

Beautiful Mess said...

You have a way with words that makes me want to cry with you and for you. I want to cry at the unfairness of it all. I want to take your pain away. That picture is so beautiful, the look on your face says so much. Thinking of you and sending you hugs and peace.

erica said...

Achingly beautiful post, Tash. Thank you for sharing the photo. Maddy is lovely, and you - you've got big love written all over your face. Sending love to you.

ezra'smommy said...

I remember singing that song in school myself when I was about Bella's age. Maddy is just so beautiful, and her mama is amazing.

Bon said...

Tash, that photo. her beautiful face.

and love. i wish i understood it all.

Julia said...

I had that feeling, the feeling that we won't get to keep him. And so I tried to protect myself, tried not to love him all the way. Ha! Joke was on me, but I didn't know how badly until after he died. I didn't realize how completely I loved him until he was gone and I was grieving, completely.

The picture is stunning in the glow of your exhausted love, and in her soft loveliness. The unreality of the whole thing is breathtaking.

janis said...

Oh Tash... this post broke my heart. And this is not the first time you have made me bawled.
I have been thinking of you. You and Maddy and Bella and Mr ABF. Thinking so mightily, sorrowful that I have nothing to offer to you, except walking along.

Love IS something.

This post is so beautiful, and so are you and your love. It glows. xoxo

Virginia said...

It is, love. It's the best, and the worst, and the hardest, all rolled up into one. It's beautiful and it's ugly and it's hard.

Thinking of you...

CLC said...

She's beautiful. I got nothing else, but I get it.
You made me cry today, for all of us :)

Amy said...

Indeed, love is something. She is beautiful, my heart aches for all that she is.

Thinking of you all.

Megan said...

Thanks for showing us your beautiful daughter.
It's just so fucking unfair. I'm so sorry.

G$ said...

Oh Tash, this is one of the most beautiful and heartwrenching posts I have ever read. The picture speaks just as loudly.

Much love to you Tash, you and Maddy.

Mel said...

Maddy is beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss xx

ShastaFizzy said...

Maddy is so beautiful, Tash, and so is your tired, lovestruck, heartbreaking expression.

Dalene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dalene said...

Oh my, she is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing her and your love for her with us.

Anonymous said...

oh god, that photo breaks my heart all over again. i remember when i first found out about maddy, when i was in the throes of my own despair and wailed over yours as well. i'm still so sorry.

Hennifer said...

Thinking of you during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Maddy! Not that it would have been any easier any other time but I am sorry it is wrapped up in all this madness of lovey duvey everything

Lani said...

oh tash, your words are so beautiful and heartbreaking. sending much love your way. xo

Dayna said...

Tash, I am thinking of you today.

Ya Chun said...

She is gorgeous. Gorgeous.

kriswaldherr said...

Tash, thinking of you today, along with Maddy, E. and Bella. Sending you all a lot of love. That's such a beautiful photo of the two of you! Maddy was/is gorgeous.

niobe said...

I'm going to come back and read this post again. Though I'm sure it'll make me cry then just the way it's making me cry now.

Sue said...

Something all right.

"I think we're there now."

The worst words ever. I can barely type after reading this.

Thank you for sharing that picture of your beautiful daughter and this heartbreaking post. I'm weeping. Just weeping.

Bon said...

just came back to say you were on my mind today. and because that picture that broke my heart kept drawing me back.

Searching said...

Such soft, beautiful hair. I miss you and think about the ABF family frequently.

Kate said...

She is so beautiful and I am so, so sorry that she died. That's really all I can say.

Alice said...

It's so, so sad to look at the photo and to read this. Yes, a lot of shit is talked about love. You do not get back what you give out. That's the truth. But some how you've got to keep on giving it out. I keep on being endlessly loving to people and they aren't loving to me. I feel drained and depressed by it but I don't know what else to do. In my books I try to write the bitter truth about love. They don't sell but I like to do that. Sending you all my love (because I know that YOU would give it back). Alice

Antigone said...

It's strange to miss someone you know only through the internet but tonight I felt like I missed you and I stopped by.

And I read your words and I cried for the first time in seven weeks.

You mean so much to so many women in this online community.

Jana said...

God, she's beautiful. And so are you.

susan said...

Maddy was just beautiful, Tash...I don't know what else to say, but I am thinking of all of you this week.

Aurelia said...

I kept meaning to comment on this, and didn't, and I've kept it sitting here clicked new for a while.

I'm so sorry about all this, and so sorry that it still hurts and time is passing.

This is beautiful and sad, and I'm sending you hugs, even though I know this date has past, and hopefully you will see this comment when you get back from the warm vacation and feel a nice hug from all this way away.