As the whole world grieves…

A lot has happened in the last year. I started graduate school, we re-opened our adoption license, and Justin started a small business.

Oh, and a crazy pandemic has torn through the world and upended just about every aspect of our daily lives, bringing immeasurable grief and pain. And then there was George, Breonna, Elijiah, and others. Lives lost not from the pandemic of Covid, but something no less insidious and dangerous… for some of us. There was much to feel angry, scared and desperately sad about. Grief has surrounded us.

As you can plainly see, blog writing didn’t just take a back seat this past year, it got tossed into the trunk. But I was still writing. I kept a notebook by my bed and scrawled little notes in the middle of the night, or sent myself texts when things struck me. It’s something I have been doing since I was a teenager- filling notebooks with collections of disparate paragraphs or bits of dialogue for characters I hadn’t fully fleshed out (and never would), random sentences representing little revelations that thought were profound at 3 a.m. but seemed less as so when I read them in the light of day.

But the thing is, maybe it doesn’t need to be profound to be shared. And maybe, during a time when the world has been steeped in grief and feelings of loss for their daily routines, their livelihoods, their health, and worst of all, their loved ones (so many loved ones), maybe the musings of a person who knows what it is to live with loss could be useful. Even though we are isolated from each other in many way right now, we don’t need to be alone in grief.

So, here are a few random thoughts of grieving mom during a year of nonstop grief and loss.

April 18, 2020 (notebook)- I’m thinking about that time on the bus to Baltimore when i had to resist the urge to stand up and tell a bus full of people that you died. I was suddenly overcome with the realization that none of them will never know you existed.It was crazy thought, since they were strangers and would never have met you anyway. It felt awful knowing they didn’t know you were here.

May 28, 2020 (FB post) – I have generalized anxiety and panic disorder. There are times when I am consumed with worry and fear for the safety of my loved ones, especially my children. And while it is true that real tragedy has struck, it is also true that when my mind is quiet, I am able to rationalize the fact that my children are, for the most part, safe. This is because I am a white mother. Most of the time I know that while the universe can be random and terrible things can happen, my own children are far less likely to be the targets of hatred and violence than the children of black mothers. I cannot begin to imagine what it would feel like to never truly be able to quiet your mind of the fear and worry that is part of the daily lives of black mothers. I do not say this to diminish mental health issues in any way. It is difficult to live with anxiety. But I have to acknowledge that there is no medication, therapy, or behavioral techniques that can overcome the real and justified fear of black mothers- the fear that each time they send their children out into the world, they may not return.

June 2020 (notebook) – I’ve noticed that when I think of you I always look to the sky. It’s not that I’m looking for heaven. I know you’re not hanging out on a cloud or anything. I think it’s just that the sky is the only thing vast enough to possibly contain all of the feelings I have when I think of you.

June 16, 2020 (notebook) – I have never liked the idea that things happen for a reason, but now I roundly reject it. No one can ever convince me that Ara’s death is a necessary part of some grand plan. I know that this notion brings comfort to some people. We all want to feel like there is meaning in our experience. Here is the conclusion I have come to about losing my child: I will never find meaning in it, but I can make meaning from it.

September 17, 2020 (text to myself) – Writing on your birthday felt like a deep dive and I only had a shallow pool of emotional stability. It would inevitably have caused some damage…

November 25, 2020 (text to myself)- Today is a milestone I never imagined marking. It is the day my daughter has been gone as long as she lived. Meanwhile, racist misogynist a*holes live long, long lives. I’m f*@king furious.

January 1, 2021 (gratitude journal) – Going into another new year that Ara will never see. My only resolution for this year is to try to see the world through her eyes, with her wonder.

January 28, 2021 (notebook) – I watched all the hospital videos tonight. It’s not actually night anymore. I am amazed by this tiny girl. She was literally broken in so many places. Treatments made her sick to the point where she could not sip water. Tumors pressed on her organs. She was in pain all the time. And yet… tonight I watched a dozen videos her laughing and dancing and singing in her hospital bed. She should not have had to, but she taught me what it was to live in the precious space between joy and pain. It is a lesson I have to remember as I go through life living with the contradiction of my love and joy for having had her and the profound grief of losing her.

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