Well, I made it. The long anticipated weekend of sadness has passed without much ado about something really big to me. We were originally going to go out of town and hide, but we decided to be thankful after all and stay in town only planning to see one family per day. The idea was to spread the love out as much as possible so as to enjoy our time here and there rather than everywhere all at once but nowhere that matters. Hair standing on end, screaming from one suburb to the next.
I can’t believe it’s been a year. Last year I was sitting in this same living room with this same damn Christmas tree thinking about things like thank you cards for the checks to help pay for the memorial service, and how I was going to fall asleep without crying. This year I’m thinking about how to get Lily to fall asleep without crying and how much I love where we put the Christmas tree this year. I have changed over the course of the year, though. Somehow I’ve come out in the end – or more like just barely into the beginning – less predictable emotionally, more emotionally disruptive and wholly unstable than I was before. I’m less willing to be nice for the sake of being nice, much more willing to be angry. I’m often flustered, irrational, at fault. I said bitch on the phone to my mother the other day. I wasn’t calling her a bitch, but I said the word. And I wasn’t just repeating something someone else said – I meant to say bitch and I said what I meant. Because that’s what I do now. That’s how I roll. I say what I mean because…I mean it.
I raked and bagged up leaves in the front yard today, all by myself. Lily helped me, but I’m taking all the credit. David and our neighbor did it last year and I remember looking out the window at them like it was yesterday. Why does that day stand out? I was at the kitchen table, blogging, occasionally checking the soup I was cooking (or maybe it was bread I was baking), Lily was playing in and out, I was 8 months pregnant and browsing Etsy for new prints to hang on the wall in whichever room we ended up choosing for the baby. I could see them through the front window and remember feeling so safe. It was very sunny and crisp outside and so warm and cozy inside. David would take breaks and come in to drink some tea, give me a kiss, see what Lily was up to. Olivia felt so natural to me in that moment. One of my favorite memories with her. As a family, we were happy that day. I can remember lots of other times during that pregnancy where we were not a happy family. The Holmes’ were having trouble many, many other days. I had a lot of guilt after we lost Olivia that I cried her away with worry about our future. I truly did not think David and I would make it if we had another child. I’m still not sure. Things were not good. We were frayed to what we thought were our edges (we learned they were not). We were tired of trying to make peace and we saw no end to the struggle in our near future. We were this close (fingers pinched together) to giving up.
She saved us, is something I would say if I thought about it that way, which I don’t. I don’t consider myself the type of person who could stay happily married to someone through our child’s death, but not through her life. What kind of backwards love would that be?