The Absence of a Particular Friend

The Absence of a Particular Friend
Stream of Consciousness Sunday
This week, I’m participating in “Stream of Consciousness Sunday”, hosted by Jana of Jana’s Thinking Place. The idea is to type for 5 minutes, a brain dump of sorts, and then to publish without editing the writing at all.

It’s been a hell of a week.

We had the support and love of so many this week, these past few weeks, this year, but the absence of a particular friend weighs heavily on my heart. I know that friends sometimes come and go, and I have seen the disappearance of a couple of good friends in the last few years, but this one… she’s not supposed to come and go. She’s supposed to be here, my sister by choice, my best girl, and I miss her.

I wonder if it’s something I’ve done or said. I wonder if my grief is just too much for her to handle, or if she blames me for Clara’s death but doesn’t want to say it. I wonder if she’s just moved on, found other friends. I hate to admit to such a petty emotion, but I am overwrought with jealousy of those other friends.

She’s my friend, after all. We’re supposed to rock on the porch together when we’re old and grey… even after the men have gone, we’ll still have each other. We’ve joked about that for years.

How can she move on without letting me know? Or… did she? Maybe she’s just busy? Maybe I’m overreacting… over emotional? It wouldn’t be the first time. I’m not the most emotionally balanced person this week; I will admit it.

I miss my friend though. I miss you a lot, dear friend, if you’re reading this.

The Absence of a Particular Friend

Six and a Half Months

I’ve taken a couple of weeks off, but this Sunday, I’m participating again in “Stream of Consciousness Sunday”, hosted by Jana of Jana’s Thinking Place. The idea is to type for 5 minutes, a brain dump of sorts, and then to publish without editing the writing at all.

Stream of Consciousness Sunday

I wonder if it will ever cease to amaze me, how quickly a bolt of grief can flash through a perfectly good week and leave wreckage in its’ wake that takes days to clean up.

I was sitting in afternoon car line, waiting to pick Lakin up from the middle school. Addah was passing the time by running around in the grass and climbing into and out of the front seat. The driver of the car in front of us got out and walked around her car to the rear passenger door. I remember that I admired her haircut and the cool knee-high boots she was wearing.

She leaned into her car for a moment and then straightened up, holding a beautiful little baby boy. He was just the cutest thing, with big wide eyes looking at everything over his mama’s shoulder. Addah edged closer and asked her how old he was. She smiled and replied, “he’s six and a half months, honey”.

My daughter turned back to our car, leaned in the window and asked, “Mom, how old would Clara be now?”

“Six and a half months, honey.”

Tears flooded my eyes and my hand on the gear shift was white-knuckled and sweaty. Addah climbed into the front seat and put her small hand over mine. Her eyes said that she knew what I was feeling, that she felt it too, and we didn’t need to voice it any more than that.

On the same day, David came home and told me how a teacher had brought her baby girl into work that afternoon. He was cleaning the first grade art room, when a small group of teachers came in to admire the baby. Her proud mama was telling them about all of her milestones, how she was sitting up by herself, cooing and cutting her first tooth.

He said the little one watched him over the shoulders of the adoring women, and as hard as he tried to ignore her, he kept feeling drawn to stop and gaze at her sweet little face. I asked him how old the baby was.

“Six and a half months, honey.”

That was days ago, and neither of has been able to shake the confusing mix of depression and jealousy, desire and inexplicable anger, regret and loss that tore through us, separately but equally, in that moment. It’s hard to focus on much of anything else, with those emotions tap dancing on our hearts.

We miss our baby today, terribly.

Sand Butterfly for Clara

Less Shopping, More Enjoying

This Sunday, I’m participating in “Stream of Consciousness Sunday”, hosted by Jana of Jana’s Thinking Place. The idea is to type for 5 minutes, a brain dump of sorts, and then to publish without editing the writing at all. The writing prompt for this week is… How Do You Christmas Shop?

I am not a big fan of shopping, and Christmas shopping is no exception. In fact, it’s really my least favorite time of year to be out at malls and department stores, because it’s just so busy. It seems like, the closer we get to Christmas Eve, the less kind people are to their fellow shoppers, and I’d rather not be around that… but that’s just an excuse to avoid the noise and crowds.

I like to do a lot of our Christmas shopping before December, and we buy some things online. We don’t buy much, honestly, because we just don’t have the money and we already have all what we need. When we do have to go into a store that’s cram-packed with Christmas shoppers, we go together… it helps me to deal with my social anxiety when I have David’s hand to hold onto.

It makes me a little sad to realize that my girls are getting too old for toys anyway. They don’t play a lot with the toys that they already have. They are more interested in doing their hair, experimenting with scented bath and body products and listening to music on the stereo in their room.

As the girls have gotten older, David and I have tried to spend more time and focus on doing things together as a family. We’ve walked downtown to see the Festival of Trees, driven through Roper Mountain’s Christmas Lights, baked sugar cookies and gingerbread men, and delivered random acts of kindness to strangers and friends.

Plus, we have our own house this year and that makes things so much more wonderful altogether! Not to sound overly cliche, but I’m just so grateful for my little family, and so glad that we have so much love in our home.

Our Family Christmas Card 2012

In Memoriam – Our Baby’s Memorial Service

This afternoon is the day of our daughter Clara’s memorial service. We placed her headstone yesterday, and today we will all gather to remember and honor her. I am dreading this, because it seems so final, even more so than her cremation did. We have debated whether or not we will scatter her ashes at this memorial service, and the end decision is that we’re just not ready. I like having her ashes here, on the bookshelf by our bed, next to her picture, her footprints, and the statue that David bought for me on the day she was born.

Our daughter would be 11 weeks old today. She would be smiling, trying her hardest to flip from back to tummy, making sweet little noises and blowing bubbles at us. Maybe she would be fussy, cutting her first teeth and wanting to nurse around the clock, gearing up for a growth spurt. I wonder which of her sisters she would be most like. I know they would be in love with her, doting big sisters who adore her, because I’ve seen how excellent they are at taking care of their little cousins.

I would give anything for a chance to have our daughter alive today, right now, keeping me awake at 3 in the morning or fast asleep, curled into her daddy’s arm. I would give anything to have seen the sparkle in her eyes, so that I could hold that in my heart forever.

Please think of us — myself, David, Lakin, Addah and Clara — this afternoon. Honor her by remembering that she was here and that she touched our lives in amazing ways. Light a candle, whisper a prayer, think a loving thought, and hug your children and loved ones closer today.