June 18, 2013

Right Where I Am 2013: Two Years, Three Months

I know this sounds woefully predictable, but has it really been two years and three months since she died?

I really don't know how to face this time thing, the way life keeps marching forward, how the number of days between her death and my current reality seem to pile on top of one another like steps, allowing me to climb over the mountain of grief that enveloped me for so long. Is this really how the universe heals the brokenhearted? Just give it some time?

Perhaps. If I could offer myself one piece of advice, in the months after she died, I'd tell myself that enough time might go by that it will stop hurting so badly. Hang in there. That's it.

A picture of her sits on the mantle in my bedroom. It's her and her ashes and some rocks we have collected from the river where most of her ashes were spread. I see her every day, eyes closed, dead. I used to kiss her twice daily, press my lips against the glass, eyes closed in unison, begging her to be alive. I used to desperately wish I could hold her for just one more minute and then dream about how I'd study her face and kiss her hands and how I'd hold her naked body against my bare chest and soak in every ounce of her being. If I said anything to her in those moments, I would say I'm sorry. A million times on repeat, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry for what happened to you.

I see her now, observing our lives from her perch on the mantle. She is a part of me in a way she wasn't before. Somehow her death has become commonplace within my inner circle. Natural, even. My firstborn and I talk about her casually, almost every single day. Like she is just another kid in the family. If I say anything to Margot these days, it's usually an unguarded, hey darling. She has made her way into our routines, conversations, experiences, without as much burden, without as much heartache.

Sometimes I think about the night she died and the way my friends surrounded me. And I think that's fucking life right there. That's what it means to be human. I lay in anguish and confusion and fear and my best friends are rubbing my back and holding me and weeping uncontrollably. I can still hear their cries. I can almost hardly bear the profound beauty of this moment, the tenderness. I am not the same person I was before she died. I am broken in a way that will always be broken. But I'm also, somehow, inexplicably more whole because of experiences like the one on the very first night.

I feel brave, for what it's worth. And wickedly vulnerable.


Right Where I Am: 2011
Right Where I Am: 2012


Hope's Mama said...

Oh man, Josh. You've nailed it. And credit to you, I still don't feel the conversations around here about Hope are comfortable or natural. They still feel stilted, and somewhat forced. I wish it was easier for me, but five years on, in that regard, I still feel like I'm swimming against the tide. I'm waiting for the day when that all gets a bit easier? Will it come? I guess in time I'll find out. I can only keep doing the best I can though, and I guess that's all any of us can do.
Glad to see you here again doing this, even after all these years. Shit, man.

Unknown said...

I agree Josh, you nailed it. As much as we may wish for it, time never stops. Time will never heal that wound, we just learn to deal with the grief better.

Brooke said...

Brave and vulnerable is a beautiful place to be. If only the cost for me to get even somewhere near there wasn't so damn high.

And yes, absolutely yes to the truth that only time will help. Such an incredibly unhelpful thing to hear in those early days, but that's the reality of it.

I apologized to Eliza over and over again the night I held her in my arms. And I'm still so sorry.

Caroline said...

I love how she has been woven in to your family and your life in a natural and normal way. Wish it were so different but glad she has her place regardless. Xo

Gwen Jackson said...

Love you, Josh. The tangled ball of emotions somehow begins to unravel as the months and years go by. I know my Mom would agree with that. But, the life that was lost is never forgotten, and just like my brother, you wonder how life would be different with them in the world. Hope is my friend in the loss, and I am grateful for that.

Mary Beth said...

"I am not the same person I was before she died. I am broken in a way that will always be broken. But I'm also, somehow, inexplicably more whole because of experiences like the one on the very first night."

This is it, friend. This is the whole point of all of this and you've nailed it. Broken, more whole, a paradox. But it makes sense. So beautiful.

Love to you guys.

Rachel said...

Always a description I have felt, but that is definitely unique to each babyloss family. Beautiful words and family. <3

Monique said...

You are brave. We survive and put one foot in front of the other when we wanted to do anything but. That's brave to me. The image of Margot as a newborn, naked on your chest is beautiful and sad. Sometimes, I forget all those little things and moments that we missed and when I remember it is almost too much.

And 5 years on, I'm still sorry.

Molly said...

I totally understand how her death has become commonplace. That's also how it is for me--he died, and that's just how it is. I hate it, it still sucks and I'm still sad, but none of that changes the fact. Love to you and the fam.

kerwin said...

Holy shit. I am not sure how I landed on your blog, but it is beautiful and gut-wrenching. I am sitting here reading your words with tears soaking through my shirt. You are a wonderful father and husband.

Jeanette said...

Josh, I saw your post pop up on my feed and I waited until I could read without interruption. This is so perfectly true, all of it. Thank you for writing it how it is. x

Anonymous said...

I hope I reach that place where I can say casually, "Hey darling."
Thank you for your stories.
-Burning Eye

Mama Bear said...

Time passes, hey darling, forever broken and somehow more whole. xoxo

Sara said...

"My firstborn and I talk about her casually, almost every single day. Like she is just another kid in the family." And she is and isn't. I love the people in my life outside of my family who talk this way about my son.

Estoked said...

I should know by now to have the tissues close, but thanks for sharing your story. Love to all.

loribeth said...

This is so, so beautiful, and so true. I especially liked what you had to say about being broken & yet being made whole & human by grief. Grief comes to all of us, eventually, of course -- but the death of a child is in a category all by itself, I think.

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