Thursday, May 31, 2012

right where i am 2012: ten months six days

my fingers tap and reach out through the ethers to try to connect. this internal landscape can be so isolating.

i breathe in and out. i can feel the mark of nathaniel's life and death in my lungs and heart.

i mourn. i wake every morning at 5:30 and journal for about an hour. i scratch out the anger and the rage and the jealousy and the despair and the gratitude and the grace and the fear and the love. i keep a close eye on the wound and probe it, try to keep it clear of debris. i treasure the honesty and truth nathaniel's life brought me. i hate the honesty and truth nathaniel's life brought me.

i take mourning seriously. it has seriously kicked my ass.

i draw almost every day to escape the limitations of words and sentences and to spend time with nathaniel.

i went to vancouver bc over the long weekend - just me and my living son. i laughed - honest, genuine laughter. i only cried a little, in the mornings. yesterday, on our drive home, i was struck at the realization that i hadn't been thinking about nathaniel, his life, his death, loss, or grief, for several hours. it was the first time that happened. i think about nathaniel all of the time.

i've planted hundreds of vegetable seeds this spring and nurtured them under lights. i reflect a lot on the miracle and wonder of what lives and what doesn't and why. my yard used to be lovely, but now it is an urban experimental farm.

i have not gone back to work. my work insurance coverage has lapsed because i don't have plans to go back to work. i don't know when i'll be ready.

i'm not pregnant, not ttc. many in my cohort of loss, both on-line and irl, are either pregnant or actively ttc. i go to real-life support group and there are all new faces. the other parents who lost when i lost have graduated to the subsequent pregnancy group. many of my internet pals are either pregnant or ttc, and their journeys are now informed by pregnancy and new babies. i feel like i'm stuck in remedial grief, and frankly, i'm afraid. there doesn't seem to be an easy way forward. . .

i am changed because of nathaniel, in ways that i can try to describe and in ways that i can't. i'm both more bitter and more loving, more open and more closed. i'm more agitated, and i am not yet more peaceful. i am changed in that i kiss more people. i am not afraid to take pretty much anyone in my arms and plant my lips on their face or their lips. i kiss more people than i did a year ago. i want to.


  1. Its so hard after loss, it redifnes us and makes us question everything about life and what we want now. Codie and I have actually become more closed off towards others. Thinking of you and Nathaniel.xo

  2. Oh, Suzanne. I don't know if this will sound weird (or pretentious? I hope not), but I am proud of you for taking mourning seriously. I think it is a brave thing to do. I know that often we don't want to be called brave because brave means choosing and we didn't choose this, but you can choose how you mourn. I have not taken mourning seriously enough - I have not given it enough of my time and attention - and I am beginning to learn the consequences of that. Somebody from my support group said to me last night that we have to learn how to be parents to our dead babies and so much of what you are doing sounds just like that: parenting, being Nathaniel's mom. Love to you and to him. Thank you for sharing.

  3. i reflect a lot on the miracle and wonder of what lives and what doesn't and why.

    Me too. A great deal. One who lived, one who died. And I'm stuck there, contemplating that puzzle, and I suspect I'll be there for a long time yet.

    I also felt that I was in remedial grief as my time line diverged from so many of the people that I had met in the early months.

    I love your kissing of others, the want to kiss others. It's beautiful, i wish I could find the same impulse in myself, that generosity and that love. We are, all of us, so very brief and we have to plant our lips whilst we can.

    Remembering your dear son, Nathaniel

  4. God there is so much depth in this post. You write so beautifully too. The imagery and the stories all are so telling. Ten months...that was a tough time on the road of grief. I felt like time was inching forward, like it had it's grip around my throat in a choke hold.

    Taking grief seriously is a full time job and ten months is next to nothing. I love your urban farm and watching the seeds grow.

    That last paragraph really says it all.

    Peace and love to you.


  5. What an amazing piece of writing. I hardly know which piece to pick out as the bit the spoke to me the most. This was all so moving.
    Thank you. Nathaniel is missed.

  6. Oh Suzanne, this is beautiful.

    Last week I planted all sorts of veg. Zucchini seeds, tomatos, peppers, spinach.. I also reflect on the life growing in my garden. I just want everything to sprout and blossom and thrive.

    I'm glad that you connect with Nathaniel through your art. Your profile photo is stunning. You are a beautiful artist and a beautiful mother Suzanne.

    Thinking of you and Nathaniel always. xx

  7. Suzanne, so much of what you said struck a chord with me. I went away for several days almost 8 months after losing Avery and it was the first time I felt distracted from my life without her. It was nice, but all too fleeting. I'm so glad you were able to have some moments of genuine laughter. <3
    What you said about planting seeds and wondering why some things live and some die, reminded me of a lot of the thoughts I would have... I'd even envy a mere fly buzzing around, angry that it was allowed to live and my daughter was not. We ponder life so much on this journey. It's crazy what we end up thinking about, that we probably would never have given thought to before!
    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog and thank you for sharing Nathaniel with us. My thoughts are with you. Sending my love. <3

  8. "i'm both more bitter and more loving, more open and more closed." this is so very true.
    Our losses are very close, my daughter was born sleeping August 11, 2011. I am so very sorry for your loss of nathaniel. I also feel that writing and doing creative projects and gardening is helping me cope. Many people I know in the BLM are pregnant again too, and I am not sure if I will ever be able to have another. It is strange place to be, and the grief can be all-consuming.
    So glad to have found your blog, thank you for sharing where you are now.

  9. I admire your grief. I feel like it takes a tenacity and a persistence I don't always have. I get tired first. I don't know if that makes sense. It's like I just don't have the energy to devote to it that I feel it deserves.

    Thinking of your sweet Nathaniel.

  10. I am glad you got to go out of town and laugh out loud. I know you miss Nathaniel with EVERY breath you take. Not that you need approval from me..but it is okay that you are not on anyone elses grief timeline but your own. You don't have to be pregnant or TTC. It is okay to just be sad and missing and mourning and grieving. It is so amazing to me that you journal for an hour every morning! I bet that is so therapeutic. Sigh. Sending you a giant hug...

  11. I take mourning seriously too and I have to say the things that have made me the most angry since my sad journey began in 2010 was when people didn't take my mourning seriously. It pissed me off, still does to this day. People have no right to judge what they do not know. I appreciate the beauty and honesty of your words. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing right where you are <3

  12. Beautifully written. Everyone mourns differently, I worry I push it away and it's going to come back and take over when my guard is down. We're all doing the best we can.

  13. Suzanne, this is beautiful. I went back to the beginning of your blog and read your letter to Nathaniel, and dissolved into a puddle of tears. I am so sorry he didn't get to stay with you, your beautiful little boy. 10 months is forever and also not long at all. Not at all. And that first year - not that there's some magical change that happens after 12 months have passed, but that first year just beats you raw.

    Your last paragraph made me smile, the way you have changed, the way you kiss more people now. I love that - it feels like a beautiful rebellion, somehow.

    So much love to you.

  14. What beautiful, powerful, spare and intense words. You are a gifted writer and, as Sally said, everything in this post felt so rich to me.

    "i take mourning seriously. it has seriously kicked my ass."

    I held my dead daughter in my arms and knew nothing of what came after but I remember thinking, "there is no way around this, the only way is through" and, in that moment, I gave myself permission to mourn as actively and as fully as I needed to, whether it was "right", whether it was "good", whether it was "ugly".

    I love Nathaniel's name too. If Emma had been a boy, it was going to be her middle name and I considered it again this last time too but felt that it was still somehow hers but it remains one of my favourites.

  15. Suzanne, I'm so sorry your precious Nathaniel is not with you. I remember that first year when the grief still was so overwhelming that I thought I would drown in it. I thought of my son every second as well and, I still miss him every day. I'm glad you had the chance to laugh with your other son; love and laughter are what keeps the world go round. Wishing you peace and healing.

  16. You have often been on my mind, dear one. I wonder how things are in your world....I kiss more people, too, and hugs--long, long hugs.

    I miss you here, darling Suzanne. have you been illustrating work on your journal? I'm intrigued and want to know more. I hope whatever it is that it provides you with some measure of solace.

    Sending love to you and your Nathaniel. Could we write the stories of our babies and put them together and get them published?

  17. "i am changed because of nathaniel, in ways that i can try to describe and in ways that i can't. i'm both more bitter and more loving, more open and more closed. i'm more agitated, and i am not yet more peaceful."

    Yes. I sometimes feel the person I was before is a total stranger - I am so utterly different now.

    I think in some ways, you are doing the 'best' thing (if there is such a thing) by grieving and letting yourself experience it now. I rushed into my subsequent pregnancy because I needed it to survive. A lot of my energy went into that. Now that Hugo is here, I feel like the grief has flooded back... and that I'm being dragged under again. I'm so happy that he's here, but so consumed by grief again as well. It's so intense and difficult.

    Remembering your lovely Nathaniel.