Saturday, February 21, 2015

It Just Is

#writeingrief Round 2
Day 4-

I couldn't write this yesterday. I felt frozen. I couldn't even sit down and write into feeling frozen. Maybe I was just being lazy.

So today I am forcing myself to sit with this prompt. 

I was instantly hesitant when I read that we are supposed to go into this seeking comfort. I don't wanna. Why? Just because. No reason. I don't know. I'm scared. I can't think of anything. It's too much pressure. What do you expect? 

And of course there you have it. A list of excuses. Empty ones. And no one expects anything. Except that I just show up to these words. I don't even have to write into them if I can't. I can just read the prompt and leave it at that. 

What is it about choosing weather that has me incapable of stringing a few words together? Maybe it's that weather feels like a stranger lately. Winter means running from the house to the car to the school to the car to the house. And an occasional walk when the windchill isn't too ridiculous. 

And those walks in the winter weather are refreshing. It's the air. Crisp to the point of painful some days. But breathing in the frozen air helps me center somehow. The road under my feet and stretched in front of my path guides me, propels me forward even when I don't wanna go for a walk. (I don't wanna.) 

"What kind of comfort do you find in such impartial Nature?" -Megan Devine

Spending a few minutes out in the weather reminds me that nature does not care whether I am pissed or sad or happy or confused. Nature doesn't care about my emotions and doesn't judge. It just is. It just is hot and sunny. It just is cloudy. It just is a blue-sky, cold-ass day. It just is. What I bring to it matters not at all. Why is this comforting? Maybe it's the reliability that you get what you get. I can tell Nature that I'm over winter. I could request a blizzard. And each would go ignored. The weather could come along and claim an entire town but leave one tulip standing. So I'm comforted by the reliability of my lack of control over the weather. I have no idea what to make of that.

Death: You get what you get. (I just wrote that and would like to delete it.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Spiral

#writeingrief Round 2
Day 3-

Earlier today I came across a very timely paragraph I wrote about five years ago when I attended a week-long writing institute on genocide. In preparation for the institute, we created identity boxes. In my identity box, I included...damn. I can’t remember much of what I included, and I just searched for the box and can’t find it. I know I had items to represent my family and my job and my identities as a reader and a writer. One of the first activities we did with the identity box was that we were given a slip of paper that said the name of one of the items from our box. The item on this paper represented what was taken from us, and we had to write about how it would be to have that taken from us. My paper said “son.”

I’m frozen at the thought of one of my sons being taken away. I’m trying not to cry about it right now and this is only an exercise with a word written in pencil on a small piece of blue paper. I guess that says something about how it would feel if it were true. About how people feel when it happens to them. I think my response would be to fight...but I can also see how it could be easy to just fade away, give up. And now that I wrote that I have decided that, no, I would fight. I would fight...I hope I would fight.”

So that was Before me, and I remember how I couldn’t allow myself to fully go there but that I was holding back deep sobs. When everyone around me realized what I had been given and how I reacted, they protected me from going too far into that scenario. When I read this today, I recognized how little I understood but also that I was onto something: I would fight.

Or maybe give up.

No, I would fight.

I hope I would fight.

Now I know that in the course of a couple of moments, Grief can take me from fighting to giving up and back around to a number of other places. Is this the spiral CS Lewis asks about in A Grief Observed? He asks whether he is going up or down. It’s not that easy with Grief. Up or down? No.

It’s not up or down. It’s both. It’s not just falling or climbing. It’s balancing on a razor sharp spiral and losing your footing and grabbing on as Grief slices at your grip. It’s climbing even when the very tip of the spiral has pierced your guts. It’s bloody and shitty and it reeks. You plead for tears to fall that they may wash away the gore. You climb and climb as Grief rips you apart until you realize that you have to stop flailing and feel the way the spiral shifts around you. And you move with it. And you learn to trust Grief and trust yourself. (You trust Grief to be a sneaky bastard that will shift at the last moment.) You trust even knowing that the spiral razor may wrap around you gently and carefully, lulling you into believing that you are in control, until--at the last second--it constricts tighter and tighter.

And you will fight.

And you will trust.

And you will give up.

And you will bleed.

And again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On the Love That Is

#writeingrief Round 2
Day 2-

I keep reading this prompt and hoping that I will figure out how to say the right thing. How do I say the thing that I need to say? 

Will I ever learn to trust this process? Stop trying so hard to do it right? I know that I just need to follow the words. Just write. Just write crap. My only job in this is to write. 

Stop stalling, Sami. 

“And there may be many things we forget in the days to come,But this will not be one of them.” Brian Andreas, from Traveling Light: Stories & Drawings for a Quiet Mind

This line caught me right away on my first read through. I have written a bit about memory and remembering and forgetting. I have wondered whether I will forget my daughter, my babies, someday as an old woman. Will I forget my lost little loves? My children who died? If I do forget, what happens? What happens to the love if the person who loves forgets the love? 

Do I need to go here? I’m not sure I need to go here. Maybe I just don’t want to know what I really think about that. Does love die? Does it disappear, sucked through holes in a diseased brain? Is the love wrapped so tight around every cell that it stays no matter what? It stays, holding on to the ash and the soot. It’s still there as the body decays and the earth and body become one and renew. 

If that’s true then isn’t our world just one big ball of love? If love can hold on to each cell can hate? And what’s the difference? 

And here I am with this Edgar Allen Poe quote that says, “We loved with a love that was more than love.” Well ok then. Shit. I just got completely distracted by Poe’s initials. Auburn’s girl name would have made her initials EAP. She would have shared initials with Poe--just a quick flip of Alaska’s initials AE. 

Anyway. “We loved with a love that was more than love.” Yes. We did. Loved past tense, though? We still love. We love with a love that is more than love. So there. I still love my dead babies. I can do that, right? (Yes. I can.)

The prompt says to show you something of the one I love, of my life that was. I went straight to the grey and the love. Ashes and still love. 

I’m trying to jump back to the life that was. It’s so hard to go there. I’m looking at her picture right now. Her alive body, the grey photo that held so much promise. It was the best place to be, but I can’t show you that because it’s gone. I can’t show you that promise because my little girl is dead. My babies are dead. And they are loved. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Unicorn

I have joined the second round of Megan Devine's Write Your Grief course. If you know grief, I highly recommend her "grief support that doesn't suck." Check out her website here. I plan to blog at least some of what I write during this course. #writeingrief 

Round Two, Day 1-

"There's a journey she must go on now, and she does not want to go."

Before. She was riding around on a beautiful unicorn under the warm sun. Everything was bathed in the golden light. The world, even the shit piles, reflected the light. 

After. She walks through the charred forest. The unicorn--starved and grey--follows just behind her. Occasionally sunlight will peek through the smog and the unicorn will shudder at the spots of light shining off of his horn. 

Fuck. This isn’t working. Is she going to stab the unicorn? I really want her to stab him. Where is she going? What about her family? (The ones who are alive.) She isn’t alone is she? 

She doesn’t want to be on this journey. But where is she going? Why can’t she refuse? 

She can’t refuse because everything burned. The ash hangs in the air, blocking the light. She can’t stay in that wasteland. Can she? 

She doesn’t want to leave, though. She wants to stay here in this same place that burned to the ground. This is where her family is. They will stay and nurture and wait for the green to sprout from the earth. They will stay knowing that everything was burned to the ground and that some places are scarred too deep for new growth. They will stay knowing that they walk among the ashes. They will not run toward someone else’s light. This darkness is theirs and the light, when it does find its way through, that is their light. 

And so they stay.

What about the unicorn? He is grey still even as the earth renews. The unicorn does not get to go back to the light. She stabs him sometimes just to watch him bleed. Just to make sure he is still there. She only walks beside the unicorn now; they never trot around in the sunlight as they did Before. They walk--in the grey, in the rain, in the light. Together still.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ask Me.

I wrote this for my pact with my #writeingrief friend.  She gave me three lines from my previous writing to write into. I chose the line below. It's from a piece that hasn't been published yet. 

You can find my pact friend here.

"And I am broken but I am fucking fine. And nothing about me is fine, but I will get by."
I have gone ‘round and ‘round with this line. I will get by. I am fucking fine. And nothing about me is fine. But I am fine.

It sounds so ridiculous and impossible to convey what I mean.

How am I, you ask? (Alright. How are you?)

“How is she?” (You ask someone else.)

I wonder if it’s a good idea to speculate about how someone is with someone who is not that person. I wonder if an outsider can ever really know how someone is. You maybe can’t trust the person to tell you the truth, but I think that “How are you?” is so much better than “How is she?”

Because no one but me can answer that question. You can ask me other questions, too. You can ask me things like, “But how are you REALLY?” or “But HOW are you alright?”

And then you can just let me say that I am alright, really. I am alright because that’s what you do when your daughter dies. babies die. Alright. Ok. Fine.

And you can say, “I wish I could fix this for you.” (You can’t.)

And then perhaps, “Why are you so angry?” (My daughter died. babies died. If that doesn’t answer that question then nothing will.)

“Should you really be writing and sharing all of this?” (Ah. Am I making you uncomfortable? It’s ok to look away. But, yes. I should be writing and sharing. The writing of others saves me, and if I stop writing, I will disappear. You may not notice if I disappear, though.)

“Why can’t you just move on? let go? It’s not healthy to be so dark.” (The darkness persists. If I hid this, it would still be here. The only thing that would happen would be that I wouldn’t be making you uncomfortable. And I would disappear. Disappearing is not healthy.)

What else might you ask me? I’m right here.