I'm having a bad day. Tomorrow will be worse and for some stupid reason I made a doctor's appointment right smack in the middle of it. I'll probably walk in there and they'll want to know my medical history (first appointment with a new primary caregiver) which of course will include Josie, and I'll lose it.
So here I vent in an attempt to get some of this stuff out of my head...
Back in the glorious days of childhood; back in the days of magical thinking; back in the days of believing that people could come back to life; that bad things wouldn't happen if you just behaved well; that there were far-away fantasy lands in which giants roamed through the autumn leaves and everyone grew up...
I remember confidently telling my dad that if I grew up to be beautiful like Marilyn Monroe, then no bad guys would shoot me because I'd be too pretty to kill. I was about nine - he told me that no, bad guys would kill me regardless. He was right, of course. One of many push-pins that attached my psyche firmly to the walls of reality.
In so many ways, losing Josie threw me back to childhood myself. Back to the time of wonderment at everything, simply because I survived too. I'd been reborn and had to re-learn everything I'd ever known. In many ways, that is magical, that survival and the ensuing "different" that it makes you. In other ways it's alienating though.
This year will be the first year I've ever spent alone since Josie died. I will drive, alone, out to her grave before dawn and get out of the car and sit on the ground and cry. And watch the sun come up.
In one aspect, Josie's third birthday makes me want to crumple into a heap. In another, it makes me so angry that I want to smash everything up into thousands of pieces. This time of year is always bad. I want to shout "it's so f*cking unfair - I've had it!" It makes me want to say the following things, selfish or pedantic as they might be:
"All I ever wanted was a family, but then she dies and absolutely everything fall apart irreconcilably. Nothing happens for any friggin' reason. It's all bullsh*t."
"I was hard to understand before, already had enough to tell people that would put them off me completely. Now this too? Don't want to re-tell my story any more, want to live in a damn cave for the rest of my life. It's all crap and I'm so tired. So tired. So exhausted. So weak. So done."
"I don't want this burden any more; don't want to hold it up by myself and can't ask anyone else to help me. So lonely. Everything is useless. Alone, inside the high walls of my mind which have doors I won't come near enough to open because I'm too scared of the stuff people will see inside...so what's the point?"
"Everything just goes away. Emotions are poured out, hearts are opened and still, everything just goes away. Sometimes, I hate loving."
"I want to smash all the cups and the plates in my house and throw everything I own out of the window but instead, here I sit because I can't scare my beautiful living daughter. I have to pretend to be a normal person so that she will be okay."
"I'm so angry. I'm so hurt. I'm so hurt. I'm so hurt. I'm so hurt."
"When will I wake up? Please can I wake up now. This is a really long bad dream now. I've had enough now. I want to wake up and be four again, when everything was okay."
I'm broken, glad nobody else is here because I'm sure they wouldn't be able to handle me like this. No makeup, no airs and graces, just a woman in a puddle of tears. I wouldn't go near me if I were anyone else.
Now the tiredness has set in. I'll be really really glad when tomorrow is done. I feel really sick. Sorry if this entry sounds self-centered - I suppose it is really, since it's all about how I'm feeling. Bella is sweetly sleeping, looking like a little angel so it's just me here. I'm so glad she's alive - I'm so blessed with her.
"It was only one hour ago, it was all so different..."
The first line from Peter Gabriel's "I Grieve" to which a link is below. I remember thinking that after Josie died. Racing into the sunrise, knowing in my heart she was gone and unable to do anything about it. Leaving the shreds of youthful innocence behind us as we sped down the freeway. All gone; never to be recaptured.
I think we hang on to the hours, the days, the minutes...since...because they make that event, that life, everything real. A few tiny bones in the ground that we can't see any more doesn't help. A big piece of stone over them, and soil - these things don't help, but remembering in minutes, hours, days, months, years - like a thread... That's all we have now. It's almost obsessive compulsive but it's a part of me that won't go away - and probably shouldn't. I map the passage of time after each of my children was born; one living here with me, the other stardust, as Joni Mitchell so beautifully puts it.
"We are stardust...we are golden...and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden..."
The day of the bath, today. That day I decided to have a relaxing bath in the fall sunshine because I knew it would be the last time I'd get the opportunity to do that. The day sticks out in my memory because it was also the first time I felt what I thought was a contraction but really wasn't - that pain that comes when something is going wrong with the placenta. I had no idea. I think I told people I'd had a strong contraction. There I was in the bath with Clannad playing on the laptop, candles burning and so on...
(Incidentally, I spent a lot of time in labor with Bella in the bath both at home and in the hospital. Funny how I threw myself into conquering my fears by repeating what had happened, in a similar fashion.)
You know that feeling you always got when you were little and you broke something valuable? That sinking feeling - you knew you were in trouble? Times that by about a thousand and it's one facet of how it feels to be the parent left behind.
I am going to curl up on the sofa now with a blanket and some hot chocolate...Bella is already sleeping. Down into the underworld I go for the third year - but not alone, because there are parents out there who know or can empathize with this. Thank you for remaining with me in my tired, aching, exhausted state that I get into this time of year.