I have been sick for almost three weeks, so the last few days have been for hibernation and healing. This will likely be a stream of consciousness sort of writing today because I have a lot on my mind.
Days 3-6 of the Muchness Challenge
On Day 3, I felt physically at my lowest since I've been sick, but I listened to my Muchness Fairy when I got dressed and threw some color around my neck--a purple scarf. I have never been fond of purple, but it is what I had. That day I received many compliments about how cute I looked. Compliments always make me uncomfortable because I have been hiding for my entire life. Chopping my hair off last summer somewhat forced me to stop hiding, but I still default to blending into the background. So this was Wednesday when I decided to wear a black and gray outfit but threw on my purple scarf in honor of my muchness. I coughed until I threw up that day, but many people who saw me told me how much they liked my outfit. After several compliments, I remembered that part of my outfit was what I had worn when I found out that Alaska had no heartbeat. I have decided that I can't throw out my clothes that hold memories of my daughter. I will wear these clothes because they are a small part of our story. When I wear my clothes that have memories of Alaska tied to them, I feel full, like I may have felt a few years from now if I put on something that made my little girl's eyes sparkle. So as much as I would like to continue to fade into the background, I am trying to push myself forward.
On Day 4 I took a picture of my hand grasping Asher's while we arm wrestled. This was a Muchness Moment because we were both giggling so hard that the match lasted for longer than it should have. Asher and I have what I like to think of as hand-laughing-syndrome. A few people out there know what I mean when I say that my hands laugh, but most people look at me like I'm crazy. Laughing hands are always accompanied by interrobanging--and now muchness. If you're wondering who won the arm wrestling match, I did. I completely stomped him. I know I don't have much time before those little boy arms are stronger than mine, so I'm going to take the win. :)
Yesterday was Day 5 of my Muchness Challenge. We had the day off, so I decided to rest and go to the clinic since I have been sick for so long. It was a nice day at home, but I didn't find many muchness moments. The one that I can explicitly recall happened when a beam of sunlight came through the door and warmed the entire room. It was a mostly gray day, so the sunlight was a surprise. I was too lazy to move over to it and soak it in, though. I could feel Alaska very strongly in that light.
Day 6 of my Muchness Challenge.
Today I finally worked my way off the couch with some cleaning and painting and a headstand. Elliott's room has been waiting for the second coat of gray and neon green for a couple of weeks. I noticed that--on this gray day--I was painting gray walls and still feeling cruddy. But I needed a haircut. I have needed one for a few weeks now, but of course haven't felt up to it. I showered and put on a shirt that reminded me of the first weeks of being pregnant with Alaska. I haven't worn it since those first weeks because I was so bloated that it no longer fit. I knew that I was probably going to face the small talk again, so I practiced my answer before I got there: I have two boys and a daughter who died in my second trimester. And that's basically what I said to her when she asked. So far my encounters with the girls who have cut my hair have been filled with kindness.
This contrasts the encounters that I have had with some who I thought would know better than to diminish my loss of my daughter with words like: "Yeah, that can be hard sometimes," and "Have you lost weight?"
What. The. [folding laundry]? Have I lost weight? Yes. I was pregnant but we lost our baby.
Why the [folding laundry] would you ask me if I have lost weight if you KNEW that I recently lost my baby? I have no idea how much weight I've lost. It is pretty much the last thing on my mind since I gained a dead baby out of the deal. But thanks for making me announce that to you and then making me swallow my sobs and not even be able to tell you that her name is Alaska Eileen and that losing her isn't just "hard." "Hard" doesn't even come close to doing justice to what I'm feeling. But, yes, I've lost weight.
So I'm pissed and hurt at comments like that, but then I remember that I don't know the stories of the people who say these things. Maybe my situation brings forth their own loss. So now I feel guilty for being selfish and feeling hurt and wanting this world to acknowledge that my daughter matters. And I'm pissed at myself because I know that I have contributed to this pain in someone else with my silence and possibly with a stupid comment that I may have made to a friend or family member who has lost a child. I am mostly just pissed off at the world for making me feel like Alaska CAN'T matter the way I feel she does. For making me question myself and my love for my daughter. For making me feel like I am crazy or selfish for dwelling too long. For being too vocal about my loss. For wanting to be treated like a mother who has lost a child (and not just a pregnancy).
Today I went to the store and bought several shiny items in honor of my muchness. These bracelets, a pink sparkly journal for my second volume of Dear Alaska letters, and some colorful shoes with sparkling stars.
At the store I stood behind a mom and her preschool-aged daughter wearing matching bright pink coats. The little girl was whining, trying to convince her mom to buy a treat. I was captivated by the entire situation. I was captivated because that is exactly what I want but can't have. I want my Alaska with her pink coat and whiny fits--surely she would have had both. I tried not to stare and give off that disapproving you-suck-as-a-parent-vibe that all parents of young children have gotten when our kids have had a rough time in public. Disapproving was far from what I felt over the situation. It was such a sweet moment, and although it made me miss what I can't have, it also brought me joy.
When I walked through the parking lot this evening on this gray day, I snapped a picture of the sun. I had noticed earlier that although the sky was gray, the sun still shines through the clouds. No matter how gray the sky gets, we can find that bright spot if we just look up.