It's not me- this woman you see standing here. The woman who survived this death. I am stuck in here, closed within the confines of my skin.
This woman who is angry, and who passes judgement so easily. This woman who is so offended at the slightest thing.
Somewhere deep inside I can remember the feel of life "before this awful thing happened." I remember what my life was like before and while I would never change my experience- I miss that life. It's a beautiful, uncomplicated life. I miss myself.
The woman I was.
The woman that grew from the girl I was.
Before Beatrix, I flowed from experience to experience. Days melded into one another and while there were obvious before and after periods, there was a continuity to everything.
Now there is a jagged edge to all of my dealings. I see everything in the context of who I was and who I became. The before and after, sharply defined.
Before when things were easy they were just easy- no dark shadow lurking below the surface. If there was something that made the day go poorly then it could usually be resolved with time and patience.
Now the bad parts sleep just under the surface of my skin. They sleep fitfully and are woken so easily.
Occasionally I am ashamed at the passion with which I react to things. I remember the little girl that I was- the child that still lives inside of me, and I feel like I let her down. I wonder what she would think of the woman that I have become.
I am angry. So angry, at times.
But other times... other times I am whole, healed and completed.
I feel the power slowly leaching back into my limbs and I feel strong. I feel the sun shining from deep inside my core. I am magnificent in my experience, wise in life, if not on books and numbers.
I feel like I could run as fast as the wind and no one would catch me- and I wouldn't be running from, but to things that contain joy and weightlessness.
I am happy and the unanticipated shining moments of the day contain no clouds or black feelings. I don't see the death in everyone around me. I seek life and exuberance and most of all, to be here now. Present in this very moment and not structured in the past or beholden to my future.
I am glad and each moment contains it's own universe of possibility.
But that's not me, either, this schizophrenic shift from grief.
I try hard to integrate these two people inside into one cohesive person. That is not always successful and often I fall far short of where I would like to be.
I find that other's expectations of me make the integration more difficult
It is the fall.
Slowly the leaves change and Winter comes closer and closer.
While it would seem to be a triumphant time for me, due to my sweet baby M's first birthday coming up- I find that there is still a knot in my chest. The days are fast approaching when my Bea's birthday will come again.
She will be three. Just old enough for pony tails.
I try my hardest to remain the person that I have worked so hard to be. To attain some measure of normalcy. I regulate my emotional responses and try to stretch the beautiful days as far as they can be stretched, in hopes of surrounding the ugly days.
But then I have a bad day. An angry, "why doesn't anyone get it?" day.
And inevitably, it comes- "are you o.k?"
It's useless to try to explain that I am having a difficult time trying to mend the broken pieces of my soul back together.
It's been three years.
And people don't really want to know that you're not o.k.
They just want to be absolved of responsibility for your mood. When someone asks if you're o.k., what they're really asking is for you to behave- to put aside that part of you that is in that desperate, dark place. They want to know that tomorrow you'll be in a better place.
But today- today when it's fall and Christmas is coming so quickly- today, my daughter died.
I woke up this morning and for a few moments I had no problem integrating the good and bad, because my memory was foggy and I forgot who I was.
Then I remembered that my daughter died, and it was just another day to the rest of the world.
The cut was new.
And it goes so much deeper in the fall, when I am remembering the last stages of my heavy pregnancy with her.
Integration becomes all but impossible.
Then the days begin to swing back and forth. These joys I find in so may small incidental moments, sheltered inside of the tumultuous waves of grief that roll in.
Regulation becomes improbable.
And when I am asked, "are you o.k.?" it's a slap in the face. It's the removal of the reality of my experience and a reminder that life has gone on.
It's the validation that my loss is not the center of the universe, and that others have grown tired- or worse yet- have forgotten that I have a perfect explanation for my drawn features.
My daughter died today, and each day she dies yet again- an unending cycle of memories that will not correct itself in this lifetime.
So please, don't ask me if I'm o.k.