Tuesday, December 5, 2006


I’ve been drifting in and out of my past a lot lately. I pulled up the archives from the first two years of this site that I keep on a memory stick and couldn’t read much at all. I try not to feel ashamed of everything I’ve been through, but that is only possible if I don’t think about it. So I don’t, and I got to thinking about how that is indicative of how I deal with a lot of my life struggles and black experiences.

I was reading a woman’s blog recently, a woman who is dealing with acute pain resultant of the loss of two babies almost exactly a year apart. Her pain is crushing and intense, and as I read it, I reflected on my grief process for Oliver – the whirlwind of those days and months. It still feels like a foggy dream from which I’ve awoken and still am trying to bind the wispy strands together to make a complete memory. Glimpses of the hospital room, the shirt I was wearing, the stocking that fell down my leg during the funeral with only three attendants, the plane ride with ashes in my carryon bag…and sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by them all. Sometimes one moment whelms me, just that one moment when I pushed the button on the door to be readmitted into the PICU ward and stood waiting for what felt like hours to return to the bedside of my dying son while another mother assured me my child would be okay, and I could only smile weakly knowing that in the morning we were to turn off the machines.

But I don’t get those flashbacks, I don’t get that emotion every moment of every day. Oliver is on my mind often, but I block out the pain and deny myself the grief. When he died, I had to get on a plane and fight hard not to lose my other child. How does one grieve with another child on the line? There was no time to reflect and mourn, but to strategize and press toward middle ground.

At Bellevue Square tonight, Steve and I sat on a bench while Audrey played on the tug boat in the play area and both of us watched a little child playing nearby, and I knew both of our hearts went in the same direction.

“Oliver would have been close to walking,” I noted, watching the little pudgy hand slap the carpeted dock. Steve nodded wistfully and squeezed my hand. We allow those moments but rarely. Strength has been our mantra. There have been milestones and rare setbacks, but for the majority of the time our grief is set aside.

Sometimes however, I wonder if I’ve gone about it all wrong. Should I have been more incapacitated, should I be angrier, sadder? Is it better to dwell on him and my loss? What is normal, right?

In drifting between past and present, I have found myself thinking recently of this time last year – when I, a world away from here, was roaming up Bond Street and down Oxford Street maneuvering my growing belly in and around the bustling crowds of Christmas shoppers and tourists. I looked forward to a year so different from the one that is now ending, and I almost feel embarrassed at how naively I envisioned a rosy future. How grey that pink year became. How black.

I’ve become jaded. I’ve narrowed my foresight. I’ve become less trusting. I’ve become less naïve. I feel ruined by 2006, robbed, like I should be holding my arms out, turning circles and shouting curses at the heavens.

But I don’t think about it. Except when I do. Which is why I don’t. I don’t like to think about grief, wrong or right, naïveté, trust, blackness. That’s what the heart box is for. I’ll stop drifting between past and present, and I’ll put that memory stick back in the shoe box. I’ll reaffix the blinders. I’ll pretend.

Everything is okay. I am happy.

Are you?

la vie en rose