April, 2008

When last I posted pictures, I promised to keep up better. Evidently I was lying. Sorry about that. But without further ado, I present pictures!

February 17, 2008:
Colored Pencils

I thought this might make a nice colorful picture, and it did. I love my Prismacolor pencils. Sophia and I spent the day coloring. As you can see, both her favorite color (pink) and one of mine (green) are well used.

February 20, 2008:
Lunar Eclipse

I took about a zillion pictures of the lunar eclipse, and none came out as nicely as I would have liked, but I did like the way the bare dogwood tree branches look all silvery in the flash on this one. And the moon, though small, is clearly partially obscured.

February 22, 2008:
Holly Leaves

In retrospect, I appear to have been tired of the lack of color during February, because I appear to have gone out of my way to capture color.

February 24, 2008:
Lenten Drama

This is a performance of a drama I co-wrote for Lent. We did six of these, one a week until Easter, and it was a lot of work but I think people generally liked them.

February 25, 2008:
Desolate Winter Garden

A second run at the desolate garden.

February 26, 2008:
Snow and Water

Snow and water. I thought it’d present a more compelling image somehow.

February 27, 2008:
Drainage Ditch

I have no idea. It must have looked cool in person.

February 29, 2008:
Kids Jumping in Pool

Kids jumping into swimming pool. One of my favorite things about my new camera is the ability to get non-blurry pictures of action.

Oh look, I’ve gotten to the end of February. Now I’m only two months behind! Of course, I took no pictures while ill so that’s about two weeks in April that are unaccounted for, so I’m less behind than you might think by date. I’ll do one more, so I can be in March, and only one month behind.

March 1, 2008:

A sunset, instead of the usual sunrises I offer. The colors were better than I captured, I’m not sure why, but it still looks pretty good. Also you can see all my neighbors’ yards.

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25 Apr 2008, by

Waaaaaaay Behind

I’m way behind on sharing pictures and books. Which shall I do first?

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My dear Simone –

You would have been four today. It has been a hard and debilitating winter but all around plants are blooming and birds are singing, coming back to life, expressing breathtaking beauty. It is a rebirth, but not for you. I thought I might not write you this year. I thought I might move on. It is bitterly amusing to me how much of my ‘moving on’ is external only. I hold you tight and close inside of me and think of you often, but I never talk about you. I sometimes think I’m going to say something about you to someone, volunteer your existence to someone who doesn’t know about you, explain that I wasn’t always a person who cries at everything. But despite my image of myself as someone who talks incessantly and unstintingly, I never quite get to the point where I share you aloud. I write about you, of course, I let myself do that, because its possible to let you through on my fingers in a way I can’t seem to with my mouth. Sometimes I think it is wrong to spend so much time hiding you. It is a deliberate moat between myself and others: you do not know me, because you do not know Simone. Then I decide it’s a favor, really. People do not deal well with grief, specially a grief that’s not their own. Who can care whether I mention you but me or you? And you have that great luxury of being past caring now. So it’s just me, then, and I like keeping you in the depths of my heart. I don’t have to share you the way I have to share the living child.

On the few occasions where I’ve had to explain about you, I’ve found myself allowing misapprehensions and misconceptions. If someone fills in the blank themselves I go with whatever they’ve said. “Did she die of SIDS?” I was asked once and I just nodded; it seemed so much easier than clarifying. And in the end, that was the result of the autopsy, though it leaves out everything that counts. Which is a funny thing about facts. They don’t explain much. At the gynecologist, I am asked each year by the nurse whether I have two kids, because I fill the form out and state I’ve had two pregnancies and two full-term deliveries. I always say “No, just one.” and it feels like a lie even though it isn’t. The nurse then mutters to herself and fixes the chart. They assume two deliveries means two kids, why wouldn’t it? But I haven’t the energy to correct them, and what does it matter?

I have days of doubt, but I am mostly at peace with our decision not to have another child after you. I still have issues with my body about its failure to keep you alive, but most days I’m not foolish enough to think another run at pregnancy will change this. I remember more often now that I don’t actually like babies all that much, and I’m less conflicted at the sight of other people’s infants. I rocked a child to sleep a couple of months ago and it was not a fraught or terrifying experience. The coarser aspects of the trauma of losing you continue to recede. After I wrote to you last year and I confessed to my fears about Sophia’s only-childness, a dear friend of mine wrote to me and gently reminded me that she herself is an only child and that it has its rewards and that everything will probably turn out just fine. And she’s right, of course, it will. Sophia still periodically asks for a sibling, but she also periodically asks for thirty pieces of candy in a row, too, and she doesn’t get that, either. I’m less bound up in her request as the signal of a great void in her life. Which is good. She may have a harder time making family connections, but so long as she has other social safety nets and sources of stability, her life will work out just fine.

I grieve for the fading of my memories of you, Simone. It is not as though I can forget you, but the moments I had with you grow indistinct with time. I can still feel the weight of you against me while you nursed, and I can still see the sunshine dappling your face as you screamed while I bathed you, and I can still touch the fine strands of your dark hair…but sometimes I sift through these senses of you and I know there are minutes that are not represented. There are times that have vanished. I want each second to remain vivid. I wish I knew how to preserve every moment but I cannot. I have lost you and I will lose even the sense of you as time goes on. I think I can’t stand this slow erosion, but of course, I can. With sorrow and helplessness, I am losing you a second time.

I sometimes think Sophia has forgotten you. She talks about you as little as I do, but when she does, I can tell that she too holds you inside of herself. For months at a time she makes no mention of you. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she asked me when your birthday is. Then she asked how old you would have been and expressed sadness that you would not have a party.

Many things change, but not the fact that we miss you. If you were here we would have a party. And cake. I will eat no cake today without you.

I love you still,

Your mother

Simone's Memorial

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So we’re back, with another installation of a story I’d like you to go read, because I loved it a lot. It’s called “I’ll Gnaw Your Bones, the Manticore Said” and it’s by Cat Rambo. I love how delicately it’s done, and how gently. And yet, right there, hard topics but humanely handled instead of jabbed at you. Characters being complex and people-like. Very nice.

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So there was the week I was really busy, which was followed by the week with the surprise vacation I couldn’t tell you about beforehand, which was followed by a second ridiculously busy week, followed by a bout with almost pneumonia. Apparently, it’s not pneumonia without a chest x-ray, but it was close enough to make me feel really awful. Still feeling really awful, actually, and overall pretty weak. I can do one or two things, if I follow them up with long periods of lying down doing next to nothing. Some of the time I can read, but not when I’m dizzy, which is frequent. I cannot recommend almost pneumonia as a weight loss regimen, though I can testify to a personal loss of around six pounds in a week, mostly fever sweat weight, I imagine. I had a number of really bizarre dreams, too, but I failed to remember them even while I was telling myself to remember them.

Still, I am probably going to get better. The doctor gave me antibiotics and stop coughing stuff. Yesterday I ate two meals! Today I’m going to try and make it three.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you?

You’ll probably have to keep yourself entertained for a small while longer, since this inconvenient illness is making me really behind on a number of obligations, so I provide two links, both of the making the world a better place variety: choosing bliss, and compassion meditation.

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