Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cirque de Tristesse

I went on vacation!  An impromptu, "hey look at that bus price" trip for a long weekend.  :) Made possible by the generous childcare contribution of my husband, and credited to the joyous occasion of my sister-in-law's birthday.  And the sheer glee of surprising her, with the help of my other, equally dear but unbirthdayed sister.  

And I had an absolute blast acting like a kid at a sleepover with them--complete with minor pillow fight--helping bake and eat the cake, going shopping at glorious Wegman's (okay maybe I'm a little easy to please with that, but still.) And being treated to Quidam, Cirque du Soleil. Which I enjoyed save for one key moment...

Accompanied by pensively eccletic music, a white clad acrobat hung from the ceiling on long red scarves, flipping, twisting, rolling, writhing, falling, collapsing.... 

And all I could see through my tears was my Pepper, struggling with an umbilical cord that wasn't working anymore.  

My first thought? "Seriously?? I'm on vacation, right?! I'm taking time off! Getting away! What the heck??"

In the moment of most likely escape from my norm (and Cirque is about as far away from my dishwasher-run norm as I could hope to get), it found me.  Again.  Grief just appears, silently holding out a hand to take its due in tears, then skulks away till the next ambush.

I cannot hide from this... dammit.  It can find me absolutely anywhere, in the most innocuous situation, sneaking in to suddenly upstage whatever else is going on.  While the episodes are more widely spaced, and somewhat less intense... I never knew when the attack will come.  

There is no place safe from it.  Her life and death are a part of me now, for worse and better.

Improvement was that I could hide it, bawl on a bathroom break, recover sooner to aptly present myself for the acceptable public consumption of my loss.  My sisters-in-law would have been perfect about it.  But overall, and from other family, I sense the following: "It's over, Katie. You're getting better.  Stop dwelling on it."  (I love that one.) 

And silently, the thought seems to be that Pepper should never be mentioned, because that would "make" me sad. 

No.  Her life continues.  I fail to see how the idea of ignoring her existence makes anything better for a mom.  And while my grief does, indeed, increasingly becomes more socially acceptable... better?  More like accustomed to the reality of a more fragmented heart.  Aching as I approach a non-due date.  I'm not "dwelling" on it; it's just that I seem constantly surrounded by wonderfully pregnant women, and beautiful infant girls.  Whom I adore, and want to be near...  But I can't escape what happened, what is, and what--in my humanness--"should" have been.

I haven't a clue how people do this without faith.  That light is so piercing in this heavy darkness.  That reality is so present, pressing on the emptiness, this temporal world waiting for the eternal. 

Where she is now.  As always, I found myself involuntarily apologizing through the silent sobs.  "I'm so sorry baby.  Momma is so very, very sorry..."

And as usual, she smiles her joy in my spirit and says, "Don't be, Mom.  I'm perfectly happy."

Someday, I will be too: completely and totally happy, without interruption, in lux perpetua.


  1. Second half not intended to be in bold...sorry!--from Katie

  2. Its sad how fast people expect you to be over it, They just don't get its not something to get over. She is your baby. What happened is something that you will live with the rest of your life and find a new normal to live with. Some in my family act like Abby never existed. No one wants to mention the death of a baby its to horrible to think about. They don't like facing reality our reality. Samantha is proud of her older sister and isn't afraid to tell others about her sister. Most don't know what to say. The tears and grief will find you when you least expect it. embrace it. Those feelings are yours and nothing to hide. If others are uncomfortable that's their issue. Within 2 weeks after Abigail's funeral I was showing my MIL a picture I had done of Abigail and my FIL got all upset asking me why I wasn't over it yet. That I needed to forget she ever existed. Some even people who are very close to us just don't get it at all.

  3. He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

  4. Finally made it back here! Thanks so much Jen; you definitely get it. And Imelda: perfect! :)