I wrote about this not that long ago. Memories are funny, and a particular memory I had been holding onto turned out to be different than what I remembered. How do we reconcile these things? For me, I think sometimes this is why I write.
When I was older I learned more about fairy story history—Sleeping beauty’s rape and Ariel’s death from pining. And yet, in spite of everything, I still wanted this kind of magic in my world. Is this how it happens? Is this how we dream, even knowing the faults inside of our wishing?
I met Liam only months before Adrian’s first birthday. We were thrown together by circumstances, and I was still only focusing on the things right in front of me—eat, sleep, breathe. I was taking steps into the world, but they were tiny. And it was literally weeks before I noticed Liam was noticing me. And he still had to finally, bluntly come right out and say it.
I was weird before Adrian died, and then after his death I realized I was more weird. I don’t believe in a higher power. I don’t worship or pray or seek meaning. And in places here, like in Megan’s world, I think I find like minds. But sometimes not entirely. And sometimes not at all outside this world.
I remember being angry when people tried to cheer me up in those early days. I didn’t know much about grief then, but I was quickly learning. I could tell, already, this wasn’t how it worked. You don’t comfort someone’s grief by denying it exists. Is it so hard to understand this?
My daughter threw a tantrum on the kitchen floor just now. Wrought face and wet-noodily, she bemoaned the breakage of the back of her high chair, even though SHE was the one who broke it. I try very hard not to laugh at these things. The world is heavy when you’re tiny.
‘Sneeches on Beaches’ was one of my favorite books. I remember reading it to my younger brother—him around 2, me reading silly voices even though almost in my teens. These were the books I was excited to receive, wrapped up in cute packaging, back when life was still fine.
Sometimes I feel like kindness is confused with self-care—long walks and bubble baths. Time alone to watch TV. These things are part of kindness, sure. But such a small piece.
I realized, the other day, when I was able to tell someone in such a calm manner, “My first child was stillborn”—I realized in the contrast between now and the early days, when I literally could not form those words—This feels like an unwanted new world to me. And maybe what I have forgotten, is not my son himself, but how it felt to grieve.