Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the extreme ends of the same spectrum

I have this crazy recurring dream of sorts (it happens when I'm awake not when I'm asleep...still it's an imagining that is far short of a "day dream" since it's more of a nightmare). Regardless of what I should call it, it is awful. I fear it.  And it's rather simple.  A friend or family member says, "Oh, Alicia, it's so good you're still the same old Alicia." No one has said this to me. But I fear it.

I am not the same.  Yet if you ask me exactly how I have changed, I fumble around for the specifics. So many ways. So many ways.

I've moved to the extremes, I believe. And--here's what's strange--it's the extremes on both ends of the same spectrum.
I am stronger and I am broken.
I am more compassionate and I am more judgmental.
I am much more open and I am much more private.
I stress much less and I worry much more.
I am much more thankful and I ask for much more in life (more than it can now give me).

And now the big question...why worry about whether other people "see" me now or not? Who cares, right? Well, that's tricky. We all want to be seen of course. (Sadly how deeply do we really get to know many of the people in our lives?) What's complicated is that all the people in my life want me to be happy again; they desperately want to believe that "I'm all better" and being "just the same" would prove that really. All of that bothers me because it feels like they are forgetting Miles and they aren't seeing me because they so blindly believe I'm "all better." But loss and grief are already so damn isolating. I feel that I've seen into this place that not many other people see. And if someone believes me to be the-same-old-me...well, then, I'm just all the more all my extreme-ness.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I am totally predictable with books. I love a good memoir. Specifically, it seems, I love a good memoir that involves a mother and/or father (but always the mother) being a strong, independent, totally memorable, fairly outrageous, and rather crazy personality. I don't go out looking for that book description but it seems to be the one I like again and again. It started with Don't Let's Go to the Dogs tonight. Most recently it's The Glass Castle.

Honestly my "book memory" isn't that good. Mitch will recall details from a book for eternity. For me, it's more like 5 minutes...the perk is that I can reread books and love them as if they are new again. The thing that I've discovered as I reread these two books is that they both involve the loss of a baby (the sibling of the author in both cases), not as a focus of the book at all but rather as part of the life story of the authors. Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but it's got me thinking. Does this just confirm that the loss of a baby (and being part of "the club") is more common than we realize? Or that it becomes taboo to discuss the loss of a baby so it always seems rare? Or that the death of a baby influences a mother to a degree that she's more likely to be strong, independent, rather crazy, and fairly out-of-control? Or that it influences a family beyond measure and that the death of a sibling is not only part of their story but the (or at least one of the main) defining points of their lives?

I've come to no conclusions of course, but there it is...lots of wondering. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011


My second child is now older than my first.

I still say, "There's your big brother Miles" as we look at his photo when she looks at each framed photo on our dresser. Miles will always be her big brother yet always a baby. It's just one of the seriously messed-up details that goes along with losing Miles. It's one of the things we deal with--because we have to (there is no other alternative really, is there?). Yes, their ages just crossed. I think of how old he should be, yet he'll always be four and a half months. I need that, I realize. Because all of my memories of him are real; all the thoughts of him from the day he was born until he was four and a half months are real. Imagining how he would be after that is just that--imagining.

Oh, Elliott looks so much like him; she is his four-and-a-half-month old daily getting further away from being his age and size. Will I ever have such a squeezable, kissable reminder of him? These days are precious. Because we have them with her. And because she reminds us of him.