24/52 and Six Months In

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“A portrait {or four} of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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Izzy—In the kitchen, enjoying some time in his favorite “spinny” chair, whilst reading
his Thomas the Train pamphlet that came with one of his birthday toys.
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The only endearing thing said by the boy that I have to share is from today… the only one I thought to write down this week.

“I like oatmeal. But I don’t like mosquitos. But I still like rock-n-roll.”

I love that he speaks up in list form about what he likes and doesn’t like. It’s just funny. But it makes me happy that he feels he can share those things with me. I want it to always be that way. He’s been a joy this past week. First, over his birthday weekend, which was tough for me and part of why I have not been able to write about it here. Then, to have his laughter or the way he incites laughter in us on this day that marks exactly six months out from the day we lost our Anysia… it’s been a blessing and a needed antidote to the heaviness that one such square on a calendar page can hold. We spent part of the day traveling from nursery to nursery to look for a tree to plant in her honor. We were unsuccessful, and disappointed that we could not plant on this day. But we also want it to be just right, so we are trying not to get hung up on a date… a day in which it has to be planted… but rather a season, and that season is now and will be for a bit. We’ll find something. And when we do, it will be just right. Also looming {and a wonderful reason to have our Laughter with us} is the one-year anniversary of the day we received the shocking news that something was wrong with our baby, only 13 weeks along and living in my womb with 27 weeks to go. It’s a day that I have tried to write about for an entire year, and never once have I been able to bring myself to it. That day, finally come to call, is just one week away. I hope to write about it soon. Perhaps it will be here, though I struggle to think that it will, because I have come to realize that I have a profound inability to write here anymore. I’ve come here many times to do so, and always “walked” away. Blank screen. Cluttered mind. Or not cluttered. Just a loss for words. Anyway, I’m finding this period to be one of the toughest yet… harder than any other in the entire last year. No one would know it. There aren’t tears or e-mails asking for prayer. There are no conversations {other than with my counselor… who’s been away on vacation for two weeks}. It’s just a serious and heavy load I bear that is nothing like what I ever pictured grief to be. It’s so private, hardly a soul would know it’s there. But things are different anyway… so different, that even if I did wear it on the outside, I don’t know that anyone would be around to notice. That is the progression of this thing. It’s this nothing-to-be-done-about-it feeling of defeat and singularity. It’s like you are given a house to carry. Grief is the house. Shutters and windows and shingles and all. The house eventually falls away to just a frame. In time, grief will become only a 2×4 or two… by the time you’ve come through it and are living with the loss as much as you ever will be able to. Long before grief is over, the town that came to help you carry it is gone. But when that time comes, you’re not at a-couple-of-two-by-fours stage yet. You’re still trying to walk with a giant frame on your shoulders as it wobbles from side to side. Sometimes, you can hardly even stand, let alone walk. And all that has fallen away from this frame so far has left sharp nails, exposed. Without a town to tell you where they’re at, you are bound to hit one every once in a while as you shuffle the frame around to regroup your grasp. This is where skin, thick or thin, gives in. You bleed. Hopefully, you heal. You may even scar. So transparent is that grief as a frame, surely anyone could see it if they were there. But all who once carried have gone, and nothing can be seen by what is no longer there. Eventually, I think, even the frame will fall apart. It has to. It can not stay stable for long if you just keep on walking, no matter the pace. Any movement has to loosen the joints somewhere along the road. It just has to. But you are still the only one with the frame. And you can’t wait until that first piece of the frame begins to dangle delicately on its one last attached nail, because you know that it’s just a matter of time before the frame gives way… soon, the load will be even less. Until one day, the last two boards you hold onto are all that you’ll ever have to carry of grief… the only pieces left that you’ll have no choice but to keep, because by then, they will have become part of your flesh. Wood and flesh, one. The boards you carried so long, now your arms. Right now, I’m still very much under my frame. Some days, I’m just standing. Others, moving with it, or it with me. But all days, alone. In other words, like most grief, loss-of-a-baby grief is isolating. Perhaps one of the most isolating. This is the most I have been able to write about grief—my grief—in a long while, though I have tried many times to come here and write a post on only grief. I hadn’t even intended to write this much. But the house picture came to mind as I was typing, and I chose to let it flow. It may well be something I look back on some day and think, what was that all about? But right now, it makes sense and gives me the words to say what I did not even think I could. Perhaps I should have highlighted, cut and pasted this into a separate draft… for another post, another day… the one about grief that I’ve been putting off. But I’ll let it remain here in my weekly Project52, only because this week’s Project52 happens to fall on the six-month milestone of my daughter’s birth and death. How I cried when I looked at her photos yesterday. It was this one that really got me…
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View More: http://sherahgphotography.pass.us/anysia-bateman

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I put these words with it on Facebook…

The calendar tells me “six months ago today”. I waited a long time to meet her. I thank God every day that I was able to. She heard my voice, maybe even saw my face… not sure. Someone at the hospital told me that they saw her open her eyes when I would talk as I held her… as if she recognized my voice. I hope so. People tell me I’m doing well… or that I appear to be doing well, anyway. And it’s true. God has sustained me. I’ve held up. {Have been held up}. I’m holding up… even when a wave hits. One photo, though… I have only to look at one photo, and it’s December 19th all over again for me. So, six months down this road… yes… I am. But in many ways, it’s just been six months of December nineteenths… because I do look at her photo—at least one—daily. This was the one for today.”

I want people to know that just because I appear to be {and am} okay, grief is far from over. And not a day goes by that I do not think of her. However, I also want them to know that I love to share about her… but not because I want anyone to feel bad for me. Only because I want to share with others the joy and light she brought to my life, and for them to perhaps understand grief a little bit more.

This is a much longer post than I what set out to write. It was just going to be my usual Project52 post… short and sweet. I guess in talking about the little guy and the laughter he brings, especially when it’s needed the most, I was led to thoughts of her as well. Maybe in the next few days, I will be able to post about Izzy’s birthday. I’m hoping also to somehow capture {whether through photos or writing or both} our journey of finding a tree to plant for sweet Anysia… one which will go down in the ground along with her ashes. For now, I’m signing out. Hoping this little burst of inspiration to write here again will be the spark that starts it up anew.
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Black and white photo by Sherah G
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