grief expanded and compressed….. and expanded

I live in New York City. I lived in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. The feeling of shock and otherworldliness filled the streets. We all walked around silent, looking one another in the eyes for answers. None of course. The unthinkable, the impossible had happened. We passed MISSING signs, we check on friends who worked in the towers, we stood on Houston St with the military vehicles, then days later on Canal closer to the tower’s remains, wanting to DO something… but like the hospital ERs – prepped and aching to help there was little to nothing to be done. It was over. That is all.

After Will died and after Tiger died there is was again- that familiar emptiness ….. the depth of knowledge of the unknowable spreading before you. The loss of something so great you would never wrap your brain or your heart around it. But the eyes to link with around me? The communal understand that put no demands on the bereaved, that knew exactly what had been lost and didn’t fumble with words, or Pollianna the hell out of loss, the beautiful silence that sang so loudly in unison?…. that was missing. Lucky for everyone else that was missing. Related but so very different.

And then there was the beauty that sprang from the devastation of 9/11. On the streets, in email boxes, in newly formed non-for-profits, in expression and art. Loving kindness. And while different too, that was also related. Those that were silent with me, that helped me to plant Will’s tree and spread his ashes, those that danced for me and Tiger in the hospital and cared for my daughter, glow, the pregnancy loss support group. That is not to be forgotten either.

Anger and endings and even ugliness sadly also have their say around 9/11. Maybe in some ways for our own tragedies too. But today the tragedies can be linked, the beauty and love remembered: in honor of ALL who we have loved and lost. There is at least nothing to lose in that. The emotion, the shared space, the loss of dreams.

Where do we go from here my love? Where will we be tomorrow?

I don’t want to grieve forever. I don’t want to wish forever. I’m trying to parse the difference between honoring and grieving. It’s work- lovingly remembering and creatively honoring a dream. More often than not I need that work and dive in: I find it healing. It takes me back to that powerful world after Tiger died but before he was gone. All walls had crumbled and the sky went on forever. I was drenched in sorrow and fully alive. Maternal energy hung around me like the saints’ glow on a Catholic holy card and escaped out- having lost its intended (earthly) destination. I wanted to be anywhere but there, yet embraced my surroundings, my new eyes, my body that didn’t die. I think this is where the magical thinking lives for baby-loss mothers.

We want another child and my body can’t do it. I really want someone to carry our baby. And then, since that seems impossible, we want to adopt…. because I believe that another child is meant to be in our family. Still, I believe that. But some days I just don’t have the reserves.. to be my age, to be so dependent on a stranger and their sadness of giving up a child, to be so far from the joy of carrying your own. I am struck numb at the process of being interviewed and judged to love a baby. Who could love a baby more than Tom and I? ok then, prove it.