Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birth Day, V

Or, Physics.

As a joke, sorta, I taught my wee little soccer team some physics last fall. You know, fun goofy things like: a well-kicked ball can travel faster than a person. (We had a race. Everyone lined up, I said go, and they sprinted and I passed the ball and we saw which made it to the 20 yard mark first.) The ball does not run out of stored energy, but you do -- let the ball travel for you. (Yes, yes, I know the ball has some too when kicked, but let's not blow the young children's minds just yet, m'kay?) Goalies can train and learn to jump; but because of that crazy thing called gravity, it's harder to learn to fall fast. Ergo, shoot low. I sent them forth to run in circles and kick wildly and discuss the oeuvre of Justin Bieber. Bella complained the whole time, "But I don't like Fidgets!" A malprop which I'm going to tuck away until she wins a nobel prize for her studies in plate tectonics.

When soccer ended, I thought I'd have some time to do stuff, like wash dishes and write here. My endless hours of computer bureaucracy were over (seriously, that is mainly what the modern coach does that kills time -- practices and games are 90 minute stretches of fresh air and contempletude by comparison), complete with two additional gaping holes in my weekly schedule. But what's the principal, nature hates a vacuum? The mud encrusted cleats remained (and I believe, still do) in the mudroom while we shuttled Bella to her Nutcracker rehearsals and tried and reschedule her ice-hockey initial fitting because it conflicted with a dress rehearsal. One of these years perhaps she'll do Nutcracker! On Ice! But until then her angel outfit will remain separate from the shoulder pads. (For the record, you cannot get a hockey helmet on over a ballet bun. In case you were wondering. Also? Please look for me in the Olympic Ballet Bun Hair-do competition, I'll be in the "moving target" division.)

The holes, they filled with dump-truck alacrity -- there was quickly hockey, and more hockey. The third floor bathroom was demolished (in the longest demo ever, where it was discovered bad bathrooms merely beget other bad bathrooms) and rebuilt. And I decided after years of participation to chair (whatinfucksnamewasIthinking) a big fundraiser in my neck of the woods. Mr. ABF is co-chairing with me, and together we are pulling our hair out and madly doling out our cell phone numbers and email. Good golly, the email. How much time can it possibly chew? Very much time, as it turns out. There are no more holes to fill; I put children to nap or bed and in the space where I used to do nice things like shower and do laundry, or clean dishes and tidy up and maybe read a blog or do a crossword or curl up with a book club selection, I ponder email and spreadsheets. And I stress.

Last fall, a few long-time, long-term members of this corner of the blogosphere finally got good news. I circled around to all of their comment sections, and even wrote a few emails, and I tried so hard to explain that it was good -- no, it was great -- that they could feel joy and happiness and relief.

And sadness.

And glee, and smile uncontrollably.

And cry at the drop of a hat.

And that it was totally possible, within the realm of medical science and understood nature and math and quantum mechanics, to feel better and whole . . . and not. To finally feel full, while still having a hole that was totally impossible to fill, no matter how busy you feel you are now, no matter how emotionally and time-wise stretched. Your life may be full of cherub photos and dirty diapers and solid food and babies who won't sleep, and somehow that gap between the mountains looms there.

Funny how that happens.

++++

I think because of the crammed boxes on the calendar and the bizarro spring-winter we seem to be having here (I swear. to. god. I saw poor cherry blossoms wondering what gives around Thanksgiving, and a peek of forsythia in January, and already bulbs popping up and then pausing to ask what month we're in because this? is odd) February snuck up on me. That and it's been a whole five years. Half a decade.

I don't measure in Maddy's would-be time -- frankly, I really never have because it was so evident to me that she would have never lived, but I do measure in my children's time in relation to the very bad thing. And so it was last week when Ale was sliding down our backyard playset by himself (almost) that I realized he was the exact age that Bella was when we looked at this house. In fact, she slid down that very slide with my MIL, while we wandered through rooms inside. And ergo, he is the exact age Bella was when I found myself surprisingly, relatively easily pregnant with Maddy. And now this funny clock will start and I expect that while today and next Saturday will hurt me some, that the kick to the solar plexus will come in November '12, when Ale will be the age Bella was Maddy was born. It is then I will see, without bloodshot eyes and dehydration and leaky breasts and crushing sadness, what it's really like to have a two-and-a-half year old. I think it will be then that I'll emerge from the overgrowth, the now flowered weeds, to discover that all this time they've been covering an abyss.

++++

Black holes aren't really you know, they're filled with dense matter. So I'm realizing I can't fill these holes, and nor do they need to be filled. It is entirely possible to function, to function normally and even -- dare I say -- well, with a mini-van swallowing pot-hole in your soul. My days are filled with the stress of planning and the boring regularity of groceries, and great joy of finally having the Soccer Channel, and eating a seven course seafood feast with my neighbors, and coaching a teamful of beautiful girls, and watching my own cherub glide across the stage in what I hope is her first Nutcracker. There is unabashed smiling at a seven year old who can skate backwards and do a hockey stop, and a 1.5 year old who occasionally uses the toilet, prefers mushroom/artichoke pizza to plain, and says "crap" in context. My toddler-wannabe scores a goal with his miniature hockey set, holds the tiny stick above his head, and shouts "GOOOAAAL!" And then very methodically pushes the nets aside and boards his push-bike and rides it around, imagining life on a Zamboni. I am, all things considered, quite happy. Very happy. Strangely, I feel very blessed.

All while occasionally peering into the hole that I know leads through to another galaxy, where horrible things occur, and beauty is snuffed out before it is realized. A place packed with great sorrow and unspeakable horror. A tiny wee bit of beauty perhaps, and a precious few furry-purry kisses but mostly a nightmare that I don't dare consider on any given day.

I guess I've learned to drive around it, except for in February, where I stop and peer over the edge and remember, and ponder what might have been, and what on earth will be.

I realize now looking at my blond big-eyed children stuff their faces with warm waffles that all my children are, and were, beautiful. All of them. I love them all completely. And I do what I can in a jam-packed world to remind them -- all of them -- of that fact.

Today I park my car on the edge of the floral, cedar-fumed forest, and stroll up to the edge of the craggy canyon, peer into the stank vapor and lonely darkness, and I know it's not really an empty hole at all. So I shout into the echo and am somewhat comforted to hear it bounce back at me:

I love you, Maddy. I miss you terribly.

20 comments:

Mrs.Spit said...

We forget that, don't we. That you can drive around with a huge hole in your heart, and still function. Would we have believed it back then, if they told us?

Remembering with you.

Liz said...

What a beautiful post. Remembering with you tonight.

Hope's Mama said...

So lovely to have you back with us, sharing Maddy once again.
She is loved and remembered.
xo

loribeth said...

Always so good to see a new post from you, Tash. : )

Reese said...

Thinking of you and Maddy....

Jeanette said...

It's posts like this that make me realise I'm normal, well for one of us anyway. Thank you. x

Anonymous said...

Remembering Maddy, and your family, with much kindness.

Dayna

still life angie said...

Yes, exactly. I have to say that December, Thor became the same age that Beezus was when Lucia died. (Did you follow that sentence?) And it has been a revelation. This is what she was like. It is surprising. I know I was an attentive, loving mother, but I don't remember anything about parenting her. I don't remember her. It is absolutely disconcerting and sometimes brings me back to that time in Bea's life. When Thor is crying and stomping and wanting to be held, and I feel almost overwhelmed. Except now, it is different, and I'm not overwhelmed. Unless I think a little too hard. Sending you love, as always. Miss seeing you. Hopefully, soon?

Mary Beth said...

I think this, right here, is why people who are not like us seem to think we've recovered. Because mostly? Things are great. OK. Manageable. Normal. But still the pothole is there. And no one else can truly see it.

Remembering Maddy with you. This time of the year and always.

xo

erica said...

I love "fidgets."

And this - "To finally feel full, while still having a hole that was totally impossible to fill, no matter how busy you feel you are now, no matter how emotionally and time-wise stretched." Oh, gods, yes. You nailed it.

Thinking of you and your family and wishing you as much peace as you can get, and remembering Maddy.

tree town gal said...

Oh Tash. I'm sorry I didn't stop by sooner. As always, a beautiful post to celebrate the movement and the stillness.

niobe said...

Thinking of you and, of course, of Maddy.

c. said...

February. February is her month. And no matter where my life takes me (or how far it takes me from here), I'll always remember this. Much love to you and your beautiful children, Tash. xo.

Egg said...

May her memory always be a blessing. Xoxo

Beruriah said...

It has taken me forever to come leave a comment here. I seem to be thinking about 5 year increments so much this past month and a half. In part I know it's just aging. 5 years pass more quickly than they used to.

To me, it blows my mind that my anniversary feelings aren't new things anymore, but are a routine that define an every growing percentage of my life. I've known Josh 10 years, we've had a dead baby together for 5. The pre-Natan time we shared will just grow smaller and more distant. I can remember where I was when I learned about you, about Maddy, about so many in that community of newly grieving 5 years ago. I do feel terribly sad that our children's deaths brought us here, but somehow I don't feel sad about the rest of it. Thank you for the beautiful post, and for continuing to share Maddy with us.

Lara said...

I love this. Thinking of your Maddy and getting it all- 5 years for us too this September. This summer I met a little girl who played with our girls at our bluegrass festival-bluebird day surrounded by huge mountains-pure joy. Guess her beautiful name. Maddalena. It was a lovely moment. 5 years out is allot like you said in the green boots post. It is OK and feels good to smile about the fun things. Glad to wonder on your post tonight. Life is full!
xo, Lara

marwil said...

What a great post and very helpful to read from someone who has more perspective in time. I'm so sorry you don't have your baby girl with you. Awful but functioning, yes, that's how it is really.

Tasha said...

It seems as we have a lot in common. My name is also Tasha. I just lost my baby girl, Gracyn, 6 mos ago on 28Oct2011 she was due 2feb2011...do we would have both had February babies. My 12 year old daughter is Madisyn... Maddie. 6 months into this nightmare. Gracie in a matter of weeks, and at nearly 7 mos pregnant, lost all amneotic fluid and got tangled in her ambilical cord. I entered the hospital with BP 145/198 and once stable, was induced to give birth. Only that's not what it was. There was no BIRTH! ... Only a death certificate to fill out and cremation services to contend with. How did you do it? How does it get less painful? After 5 miscarriages and getting so far I just am stuck in the. " should have been"... My sister had a baby girl 10 days later. I haven't spoken to her since October. I have realized people's life just goes on, yet I'm still stuck here... In grief and trying to cope. The best I can. I am 38 years old- after trying to add to our family for over 7 years, I can't imagine going through anything more. It sounds like you had another child later. Dud that make a huge difference in moving forward?! Would things be different for you if you hadn't ? Please give me insight- as your much farther down the road. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing this alone.

amyh said...

Hi Tasha, I am so glad to have found your blog. We lost our baby girl, Isla, six weeks ago on 5/23/12. She was stillborn at 34.5 weeks. I have a beautiful 2.5 year old son and I am trying to stay strong for him in the midst of crushing grief. We also just moved--we put an offer on this house the week I found out I was pregnant and moved in March. I feel very disoriented and miserable. I appreciate your candid writing about your feelings--things I often feel and have not said aloud. You make me laugh too and I sooo need that! Thanks so much, Amy

amyh said...

Hi Tasha, I am so glad to have found your blog. We lost our baby girl, Isla, six weeks ago on 5/23/12. She was stillborn at 34.5 weeks. I have a beautiful 2.5 year old son and I am trying to stay strong for him in the midst of crushing grief. We also just moved--we put an offer on this house the week I found out I was pregnant and moved in March. I feel very disoriented and miserable. I appreciate your candid writing about your feelings--things I often feel and have not said aloud. You make me laugh too and I sooo need that! Thanks so much, Amy