Author’s note: Just like every other post, all of the below has felt like the heaviest of truths. And yet, none of it is true at all, not entirely, not all the time. I am out from under the fog of the deepest part of my grief and feel self conscious about this post. I am uncomfortable being angry and honest and vulnerable. In fact, I am quite scared to put this out there. But fuck it. (And I still want you to post inspirational quotes and pictures on my wall and not read my blog if you can’t and have your healthy babies and be so happy and tell me everything is going to be okay and…and…and…. Also, if you don’t like swearing or blasphemy, this is not the post for you.)
I want to drive to the rocky coast, to the highest cliff I can find, the one that sticks out over the ocean the farthest. The end of the earth. I want to stand on its edge and scream as loud as humanely possible, make as animal a sound as a human has ever made. I want to get as close to God as I possibly can. I believe it will improve my position. That obviously he has been unable to hear my pleading from the dead of night showers, my negotiatiing, what I will sacrifice, how I will change, what I promise to do differently, if he’ll just give me my baby back. I want to stand on my tiptoes at the edge of that cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, lean into the wind and scream at the top of my lungs, ” Fuuuuuuuuuck Yoooooooou! Give me my fucking baby back, you bastard. He is mine. I did all of the work, I put in all of my heart, I dreamt and hoped and planned, I created and worried and grew and got ready. He was two fucking cells and then he was four trillion because of ME. You created this miracle but I did EVERYTHING else. He is mine. Give him the fuck back to me!” I have already pleaded. I have begged. I have made my case before God and he has not changed his mind, he has not seen the error of his ways and so now I come to him cussing and fevered and enraged. I have fantasies of standing on that cliff edge and howling my protests. Though I know they will be to no avail. To no fucking avail. I will lower my head, slump my shoulders and walk away from the edge, just as defeated and devastated and alone as when I arrived. I can see it, feel it, all happening, in silhouette. Like a caricature of myself.
I am out in the world and I hear mothers complain about their children, about the shit that feels so important that actually isn’t, liked sleep schedules and weaning and social development, and I want to scream “Fuuuuuuuuck yoooooooou” at them. I want to tell them that this is fucking it. This is it. After this, it’s over and your are alone again and you will wonder where the fuck the time went and you will crave the night wakings and the clinging and the unending concern. But they have heard it, and I have heard it and it’s a fucking cliche but the the bitch of it is, it’s the truth and we can’t know it until we know it. And so, inevitably, I want to scream at myself. At my own endless taking for granted, at my honest-to-God annoyance at my daughters incessant need to be next to me, in the same room, on the same chair. I want to scream “Fuuuuuuuuck yoooooou!” to myself. Fuck you because you know better. Because this is it. Because I already regret the time that has passed, that moments, the events, the milestones that I took so subtly for granted because I would do it again with my second kid. Here I am wishing her into her room to play by herself, imagining her older so that she can happily entertain herself and I can go about the business of prepping the dinner, folding the clothes, writing the business plan, sending the email, and all the other seems-so-eminently-important shit. All she wants is to lay in bed with me, put the covers over our heads and giggle wildly as we hide from the monsters. My baby is dead, she is all I have, I am fucking incredibly lucky to have her, and all I can think of is that fucking laundry and the God-damn dishes. Just like everybody else. I want to scream right up in my own face for being so self righteous and so hypocritical and so entitled. Have I learned nothing from this humbling?
The pregnant lady, the new mother. It’s the same to them. They are just living their lives, being happy or being miserable or being both at the very same time and I fucking hate them. And I feel like they are flaunting it and of course, I don’t even enter their radar. Or they look at me with my little girl and smile at me because we are moms of young children and we sustain ourselves with these knowing glances except I look away as fast as possible. And I am defeated and even my thoughts can only muster a pathetic, “Fuck you” to these moms, just being, just trying to get through the day. What’s worse is some of these ladies are on their first baby, which I have already had. You’d think this narcissistic grief would give them a break but no, they still get the “Fuck you.” I’ve had the glow, the attention, the exhausted joy of a baby’s new presence and still to them I want to scream my curses. For what I already have and have had. Because I wanted more, because I had more and then it was ripped from me and if you were me you’d feel the same. If that beautiful little baby was torn from your arms, you would be the same ungrateful, hateful, angry, unjustifiably judgmental asshole that I am. And then I’d want to be friends with you. Fuck.
I am driving behind a Christian with the fish emblem embossed on their trunk and the license plate frame that says, “Goodness Comes From God” or some other such thing and I want to lay on my horn and press my middle finger to the glass, shake it around and scream, “Fuuuuuuck Yooooou and your fucking God and his fucking goodness because he took my fucking baby.” I would make a deal with the devil to have him back.
Facebook is a nightmare. Baby after healthy, alive baby born. Complaints and pride and each development documented and crowed after and commented upon. It feels like family after family, planned out, perfectly executed and going smooth like butter. Like I was. Like that is something that actually exists. Like there isn’t pain and heartache and even unbearable sadness behind the closed bedroom door at night. But I cannot see it, they do not show it and so I say to them, “Fuck you and your babies and your family and your ease and your happiness.” Even to those whom I was just 5 months ago, even to myself 5 months ago. My nothing but good intentioned friends and family who post inspirational quotes in fancy font with flowers or butterflies adorning the edges to my wall with comments like “You can do it, Mon!”. Who attempt to compare my situation with their completely not equal hardship. This is not cleared up or buoyed by conventionalism. I cannot eventually acquire some life lessons from this. This will be a learning but not one that I will ever celebrate. Anything good that comes from this will always, only be a consolation prize and I will not someday appreciate the growth and self-awareness it has catalyzed in me. I will always willingly trade it for my baby’s life. The people who write me with how heartbroken they are that they can’t even read my blog because it’s so painful. To them I want to scream “Fuuuuuuuck Yoooooou”. Can’t read about it? Try living it. Try bearing it. It’s not a story I am making up that is all too real. It all sounds so dramatic and I wish to God it was just drama. Fuck you if you think I should be over it already, I never knew him anyway, I could have another baby. I don’t miss him because he was here and now he is gone. I don’t miss him because he was such a strong presence in my life. I miss him because he is supposed to be here with us. I miss him because he doesn’t get to know his sister or discover his passions or try to make sense of this crazy world and I see him not with us everywhere we go. I miss him precisely because I didn’t know him. I could have 15 more babies and I would still miss Harvey. There is not a parent on this planet who lost a baby and then mourned less because they had another.
To the universal truth that life goes, I want to scream “Fuuuuuuck Yooooou!”. That people can hear about Harvey and be saddened, grieve and mourn and then just keep going, including my fucking self, is so impossibly unfair because he was so important and this is incredibly tragic and we need to not only remember it but feel it always. It’s that important. It really is. Except it isn’t. Fuck this march of time. I want to scream.
Today, I drove past a two women on the corner: One sitting on the curb, one standing next to a stroller holding an infant car seat, both smoking. And I’m guessing what you gather I wanted to scream out my window. I eat food with the intention that it will strengthen my every cell, that it will fortify and optimize my physicality. I’m not kidding: bone broth and real gelatin and vegetables even for breakfast. That mother smoking next to her baby, has a fucking baby, who is alive, whether or not he is well, at the very least he is alive. I eat better than most, I exercise, I sleep, I do work that I love, I have close, strong relationships and on and on and on. Riding on the train, there is a family, including grandparents, with four children, who do nothing but criticize and belittle and berate. I think about or at least analyze almost everything that comes out of my mouth and how it will affect my child. Am I honoring her? Is she feeling heard? Am I restricting this or that for a reason or just because? I am consciously and intentionally parenting. And so I point my middle finger to the heavens and I scream one long exhale that makes me horse. Not just because my baby died but because there is no justice in their soda drinking and cigarette smoking and my relatively clean living and uterus that can’t carry a pregnancy or labor because the tissue integrity is such that it will tear open and kill or maim one or both of us despite my “doing everything right”. Because I feel like I am better than the people around me and therefore deserve my child more than they do and that is the fucking worst. And that is not who I am. I give people the benefit of the doubt and imagine their struggles and credit them with doing the best that they can do with what they have, in this moment. But not anymore. Now I am broken and angry and humbled because my baby died and I am a judgmental, elitist brat. So fuuuuuuuck me.
And fuck the whole thing. I am so tired of being in an existential crisis. Of my each feeling and thought being so heavy and exhausting and important while at the same time being so totally meaningless. I think of children gassed in Syria, civil wars and famine around the world. I think of daughters raped and beaten, of the mother who has lost more than one child, all of her children and her husbands too. I hear about and imagine the most horrific situations and still my hardship is more than I can bear. My middle class, American life with a great husband, a healthy young daughter, employment, privileges beyond measure and I can feel almost nothing but my own sorrow and pain, I can hear nothing but my own, ceaseless protests. I can see the vastness of all time. All the people before me and the billions after and how one dead baby and one broken mama mean nothing in its midst. We are ants, amoeba, dust on the calendar of the universe. And we just keep going and I have to keep living and pretending to live and try to make meaning and sense of it all. And I am so fucking tired of the whole thing.
I want to be me again. But I am gone, left behind, burned to ashes along with Harvey’s body. Now I struggle and wrestle and wail and ache. And yearn for that cliff. Everyday there is a moment when I want to, need to, scream all of this out of me. Scream so long and so hard that every being, every person, animal, dust particle, cell, and ion knows how real and important and utterly, completely endlessly tragic this whole thing is. How all of the screaming and cussing and anger just attempts to salve this wound that won’t heal, that is everything and nothing all at once. That I just have to figure out how to live in the duality, the multi-dimensionalty, until I die when, God-willing, it doesn’t matter anymore. When God-willing there is no meaning to be made and I can rest, quietly and peacefully.