Monday, July 26, 2010

Raging Lunitic

Processing... It Isn't Pretty. (I wouldn't bother reading if I were you).

God. I hate my story. I'm sick of myself. But I can't just get over the pain of this. I want to so bad. I don't want to be this grim reaper person. And yet, all I can say is I feel myself slipping deeper as time has moved on...I think my subconscious knows it's loosing the battle. I think the part of me that was still looking for her is starting to realize she really is gone.

There is panic in this. And new ways to feel the pain of loss. Dreams at night, of a baby that dies. Visions of my baby - this tiny little person, named Gwenyth, that I used to have here at home, living with us, here with us. Then gone. A phone call from a doctor to tell me her heart stopped. The rush to get to her. And all the Guilt even as I know I am not God. Even as I know because I am not God and just a mother in a human body that all I could do was love imperfectly. That because I am confined in here and not all-knowing, that I am prone to mistakes and cannot protect my children from everything that is "out there" ready to take them down. She got a virus. After all she had been through. A virus took her down when my head was turned. And there was no warning that she was leaving, not even the very hour that she left. There was no warning.

What do you do with the image of a baby who wants to nurse, but is too weak? What do you do when that was the last time you held her? I didn't know that was my last moment, last close moment with my Gwenyth. I didn't know I wouldn't get to hold her again. I thought there was no worse feeling than seeing your baby long to nurse but not have the strength. The tiny whimper. I thought there was no worse feeling. I needed the doctors. I remember how much I needed the doctors to help my poor baby get well that day. I knew something was wrong with her then. But she wanted to nurse, she was fighting, she was there, she was going to be okay with a little help and some decisive doctoring.

Go home, pack, be there asap after the helicopter lands. It is an hours drive to where they were flying our child. We had to move. I remember Myers, at our house saying "the helicopter hasn't taken off yet." We would have heard it from our house and he noticed it really should have left by now. I took it to mean she was doing better. Myers was not on the same page, but I didn't know that.

Then the phone call. The rush to get back to the hospital (God. Align your will with mine, please....please God...let her stay. Life. Breath life into her. Please....)

The last time I held her she wanted to nurse. But she couldn't. I gave her back to the doctors. It was out of my hands. All I could think of to do, all I could offer as her mother was something she wanted so desperately but couldn't take. We left to pack. Her heart stopped. The helicopter never took off. She never got near the helicopter.

Now, I need to wrestle that memory down so that it stops yelling at me. It is one of my last memories of Gwenyth. And it is cruel.

My brain also plays Myers, standing there, that evening, that night, his arm having dropped down to his side, cell phone in hand, telling us a story with the words that still are bouncing all over in my head even now, "she fell off a cliff and she died." My husbands sister, a girl I loved with Myers and his family, the kind of love you take for granted because they are in your life for so long, the kind that you don't even think about because you just love 'em as if they'd always been there. She was seven when I met her. My husband and his mother and siblings lost all her days. She was Lane's daughter and their sister and now she... the word still seems so incorrect to apply to her. My stomach is sick as I type this here. Sick.

Two-by-four. Twice. In one day.

Eleven years ago I rode a bus down to Chattanooga and I remember the morning sun glaring in my eyes and I had tears for Myers and his family. I couldn't imagine what they were feeling. Their father had died suddenly and not exactly simply. There was a rush to the hospital and hopes that he could be saved. There was a helicopter transfer. There was no avail. I had only just started dating Myers and I saw his family have the rug pulled out from under them. I remember the palpable feeling of stunndness. His youngest siblings were two and five. It was two days before Thanksgiving.

Believe me, I know I'm not the first person to experience horrible things. And we live in such a bubble in the good 'ole US of A. I know others have experienced worser things, even here in this bubble. I know - I wrote of a story right here on Gwen's blog. The family in Bucks County, PA who's house caught fire. But, I cannot escape my humanness and how much it hurts to let go of a loved one. I cannot escape the images. There is not a lot of control in grief, it has it's knife to your back and it leads you where it intends. Each walk in grief is as unique as is the lost person by whom the grief was born. "Each loss is personal" -E. Kubler-Ross. Straight on.

I can do "okay" I can be "okay" and I can get through the day. But inside I'm wandering in a giant building with hallways and rooms upon rooms and no place to sit anywhere. No windows. Just doors, hallways and rooms and rooms of thoughts. I do believe there will be peace for me one day - only because I know that I simply will die if I don't get through this and come out of this mansion of nightmares to some sort of arrangement, agreement, amicable and muted co-existance with all that now lives with me. I will survive only because it is too exhausting to remain here. I go forward because it is too horrible of a place to stay. I long to get to some place where I can find some relief. I lunge forward out of sheer desperation that eventually I'll find a chair in a quiet room with maybe even a window. And, yes, there's that knife to my back as well. Forward. And, add to that a little girl that I love deeply and needs and deserves a sane mother. I have to get to this place everyone promises exists. But the way "forward" is not fast. It is not linear. It is a maze and it is exhaustingly slow. Add to that a child who needs a mother. Try doing anything complex with the needs of a two and 1/2 year old. Slow.

There are lonely places always for those who left so suddenly when I wasn't looking. Lonely places. It will be a long while till I'm not driven crazy at times by the excessiveness of the loneliness.

I think in some ways, I will always be looking for Gwen. I think that is the nature of the beast - the beast that is called loosing a child. Suddenly. The dust never settles when it's your child. Part of me will always be a completely raging lunatic fighting against all the powers that be...

I said it wasn't pretty. I told you not to read.


  1. I read, and I'm glad as much as my heart is heavy. I continue to think of you often as you travel through heart wrenching and days of much longing. Some of your images bring back so many memories... I will continue to hope for strength and grace for each passing day (and for that room with a window!) Janelle

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I recently watched a netflix documentary on Mark Twain, and I'm sitting here reading a Ben Franklin's autobiography, and I just finished the auto-biography of Richard Feynman (Nobel prize willing physicist, helped build the first atomic bomb).

    I am amazed by these people.

    For Mark Twain, while still in his early 20's he talked his beloved younger brother in joining him on a steamboat ship - Samuel Clemens was then not a captain but just an apprentice, and his brother didn't want to come, but Sam, loving his brother so much, pushed and pushed for him to join him, because he believed so deeply that his brother would come to love the Mississippi. Just a few months later, his brother was killed when his steamboat (one Sam should have been on, expect Sam got in a fight with the captain) exploded.
    Talk about raging guilt - yet after all that, Mark Twain when on to make millions of people for generation after generation fall in love with that same river - becoming THE great American author of all time in the process. Lost his first born son too, then went on to write Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Fin after that - hallmarks of the glory of childhood innocents.

    Richard Feynman lost his wife to cancer. He drove mile after mile to get there to be by her side, went through three flat tires during a war where every ounce of rubber was used by the military and tires cost a months wages - finally had to ditch the car and hitchhike. Arrived at the hospital in time to let his wife die in his arms. Went back, the very next day, to Los Alamos, and played a vital roll in helping complete building the first atomic bomb. - Once those bombs were dropped on Japan, he walked around lost - he'd see people working to fix a road, or build a storefront or skyscraper, and he'd think "Don't they know? Why are they bothering?" - He believed it was all over. Then he spend the next 40 years of his life getting young students to fall in love with Physics - and helped train some of the greatest minds alive today. In the process he won the Nobel price in physics.

    You have to decide what is important. If it life, the rush of the wind, the feel of sand, the questions of a child, the wisdom of a parent, that makes this a wonderful experience - if Love is strong, or if the loss is stronger. What you have seen, what you have done, is HARD - and if you give up now, you help prove that it is too hard - too much - too great to handle. What you could do now is amaze those around you by making it clear, that for you, it is life, love, and happiness that are powerful and consuming. That loss, is just that. The loss of something you were capable of appreciating in full force. And that you appreciate all the rest of life as well. There is nothing but blinding joy around us, and little room for shadow in all that glory.


Ten years loom and as always seems to be the case, I find myself struggling the most in the days ahead of the anniversary  - be it her birt...