The juxtaposition of joy and sadness, darkness and light, satisfaction and desire. It is all there at once, sitting side by side, sometimes one looms larger than the other. And this is my heart, this is the deep aching inside, the crux of the emotional undulating of my body. I am a mother. I am with and without.
With and and without my children.
Mother's day opens the month for me with a reminder of what is coming, the ever present tug, the feeling of not enough and yet how can this be with so much? How can this feeling of not enough loom so large when so much around me says fullness, light, love and beauty?
And yet, and still, and always.
It is May, and with it yet again comes another few weeks of holding my breath, of remembering, of aching, of longing. Who ever knew that this kind of longing never goes away, that this kind of tug on the heart remains. And for as often as I have said yes to the world, there is always a pause. Yes, but...
It is in this time of year when darkness comes early for me and remains long. It is the night of winter, the time of waiting, of wondering, of longing. The nights are often longer than the days with the smallest of noises wakening me, and the easiest distractions pulling me toward the memories.
If I were able to describe my longing, I would, but it is a deep and cavernous longing filled with the sort of ache that no amount of love, of exercise, of companionship, of hope, of food, of conversation, of joy can fill. It is a longing that burrows deep within the interior of my heart and mind and can only be understood through some kind of emotional experience that can only be felt.
Nine years this has gone on and finally, finally after nine years, I am beginning to understand that my grief has no middle or end. Certainly, by all means, there is the beginning, there is always the beginning because that is the place from which all of this cracks wide open. Which brings me back at once to May, to the start, to the last Mother's Day with and the first Mother's Day without. To the last week of May with, to the first day of June without.
And it is in this emptiness, the place from which this longing springs deep and eternal.
Why is it that I can no more remember what I ate for dinner last night, but I can remember these last few days with and without? I can remember the smells, the temperature of the air, the eyes of the doctor, the hands of the technician, the sad look on my midwife's face. The sadder look on my husband's face. The confused look on Carver and Sophia's faces. I can remember the cold feeling of the gel from the ultrasound machine, the colors of the walls, the meager bar of soap in the bathroom, the plastic flower on the door, the feel of the thin string in the bathroom to pull on in case of emergency. In case of emergency, the oxygen mask will fall and you will never be able to breath again in quite the same way.
In case of an emergency, place the mask over the mouth of your child first and then yourself. Yes, yes, I would place the mask over my child's mouth first. I swear to god I would if you would have let the damn mask fall. I would have placed it over her mouth first, and held my breath until the chambers of her heart were beating again. And only then would I have placed the mask to my mouth. Only then.
May 23rd. And in these last days, hope still remains because she still remained tucked inside of me floating in that comfortable chamber, no mask necessary for breathing.
May 23rd and birthdays and Mother's day have passed, and while I can't seem to get comfortable in bed, I know that these last few months are always the hardest.
May 23rd and still for seven more days, Grace remains suspended in my body alive, and I remain suspended in a kind of ignorant bliss that my body is about to rape me of.
With and without.
Forever and ever.
This is my grief. This is my love.
This is who I am.