somehow another week has passed since angie died. i cringe writing that. the words “angie” and “died” should not be seen sitting adjacent to one another, it’s unnatural. it is much too painful, i cannot look at them together and yet i stare at the words. i stare until they look more like blurry pixels, begging them to shift their shape into different words… a different name, a different reality. a world without her. today i had to revisit some pictures of her, as i am prepping them for an upcoming slideshow to present at her celebration of life party. why i thought i was strong enough to go through them (again, first time was just before her funeral) is beyond me… it was a million times harder this time around. at one point i threw the laptop in the general direction of amazing husband and begged him to do it, i couldn’t bear another second of seeing her face so full of life. it was so incredibly painful to see this face so full of love and light and positivity, because my sick and twisted mind insisted on triggering the glaringly disparate image of the last time i laid eyes on her.
you guys, i had to see her at the memorial. i HAD to see her again, i couldn’t pass on the chance to gaze upon her face one last time. i was terrified, but called to do so. i knew it wasn’t “her” lying in front of me, this person before me was a shell of what she once was. i “knew” she was already gone, but that was all i had left at the moment, this person that looked like my angie but definitely wasn’t. it was my last chance to do all the things we should do every day with our most loved ones but we let life get in the way… i had to hold her hand again. i studied her fingers, she always complained she had ugly hands. i loved her hands because they were working hands, always busy knitting, or gardening, sewing… they reflected her, they represented everything she loved doing. i had to stroke her long beautiful hair, it didn’t feel the same but in that moment it was all that i had. i soaked her in. i stared at her face, bargaining with her and God to have her suddenly wake up. i begged her to stop this insanity. i knew it was useless and i knew i was temporarily crazy but i couldn’t stop pleading for it to be a cruel joke. i HAD to see her again. i had to tell her i loved her, a million times over. i know she knew that, because i had said that to her over the phone 4 days before she died. but it had to be said again because i would never have the chance to stand before her and tell her. i laid my head on her chest and told her over and over and over again, my tears dropping into her shirt, carrying with them everything i needed to tell her. i’m never going to see her again, and it kills me.
the tears are unstoppable. they sink into the cracks of my keyboard like salt creeps into the cracks of my gaping wounded heart. why is it so hard now. maybe the reality is sinking in that she’s really gone… maybe i was in a state of shock the first time. maybe i just couldn’t allow my brain to accept the truth and i blocked out the pain? the pain, the sinking hole in my heart that only she can fill. i cannot count the holes in this heart. i am reminded of her constantly. i have seemingly held it together these last couple of days, saving my breakdowns for the middle of the night, when i’m finally getting to bed.. when no one can see me lose control. i don’t want to cause undue stress on my family, we are all suffering and the last thing i wish is to burden anyone with my pain. but i can’t turn off my head. i keep replaying the events. i am sick. i am sick with hurt. broken.
and somehow i put one foot in front of the other. it’s been three weeks and somehow i am still breathing. i am still here, not present by any definition of the word, but i am here. i am showing up. i showered, and ate and even left the house a few times. and today went back to work. not sure how i did that, or if i did anything that contributed to society but it happened. and as i ask myself how the hell do i have the strength to do anything, i can only credit everyone BUT me. i would not be breathing without my family and my friends. i have suffered a great deal of pain these last few years with infertility and pregnancy losses, but as i have said before, the pain of losing angie trumps everything. my support group, my friends and family, have literally held me up when i could not stand, now more than ever before.
i cannot thank you enough for your love.
i am so very grateful to all of you who have reached out with letters, emails, texts, hugs… words cannot describe how important your support has been to keeping me from drowning these last few weeks. i’d especially like to thank a group of women, most of whom i’ve never met in real life… my potatoes. a tribe of kind souls who have suffered similar journeys of miscarriage and pregnancy losses, who welcomed me into their family and offered unconditional love and support while i navigated the roads of infertility. they have faithfully continued to wrap their arms around me despite almost all of their journeys taking them over the rainbow, while mine has left me in the perpetual storm. we may be at very different places in life now, but our hearts are alike. i received these engraved plates in the mail today, and bawled my eyes out the moment i held them in my hand. so thoughtful and touching. i will proudly wear them to honor her memory. the picture on the right is one of my favorite series of pictures with angie, just a reflection of her fun-loving wacky personality. i miss her so much.
i know i posted this poem already but i feel called to let it jumble around in my head again… i’d so much like to think of her arriving to welcoming arms.
“what is dying-
i am standing on the sea shore,
a ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
she is an object of beauty and i stand watching her
till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:
“she is gone.” gone! where?
gone from my sight that is all.
she is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when i saw her
and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
the diminished size and total loss of sight is in me,
not in her.
and just at the moment when someone at my side says,
“she is gone”,
there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:
“there she comes”
– and that is dying. a horizon and just the limit of our sight.
lift us up, oh Lord, that we may see further.”
-bishop charles henry brent