winter never wins

A cousin mentioned recently that she admires the way we’ve moved on, that the moving on seems somehow heroic.

When Celia was alive and dying, I didn't recognize my actions as brave, I simply did what felt necessary at the time.  I'm still just doing that.

I’ll never understand why we had to be the family that lost a child. Sometimes I tell myself that it’s because we had plenty of good people around to shore us up.  I can't think of any real reason though. All I know is that I’m glad we kept going.  We surrounded ourselves with evidence of life, watched the boys waxing even as she waned.  Stopping to look at the truth of that now, the way we keep going, I realize we are more excited about the future than we are sad about the past.

A friend told me at the bar over the weekend that our blog has led her to believe we're the best parents on the block.

We offer deceptively smooth spaces to our community of voyeuristic observers.  No one sees the pile of issues, unsorted for days, hiding outside the frame of a polished picture.  We have issues.

The house may look immaculate but I am a mess. I am too quick to hush and too slow to hug, I spill grumpy instead of grace.  Most of the time the boys are fast to forgive my multiple mothering errors, but I tend to let my failures shout louder than my successes and forget that more than either is all the gray between.

Another family member sent a note last week thanking me for words that appear on her computer screen and feel to her like loving nudges, help anchor her to what's real.

Some days I feel like I am actively trying to convince myself of everything, and I am exhausted not from doing so much, but from feeling so much.  Some days the wreck of my heart is held together only by sticky fingers and strong will.  There are days when I struggle with reality and days when I care way too much about what could have been.  There are also days when I feel like my connection to the universe is less fragile, days that feel so closely connected to a dream that I cannot separate them from the Amen.

I've been staying up late at night the past few weeks, corresponding with a friend who knew her son was dying, trying to answer questions and offer comfort.  He died on Sunday.  He was four.

I wish we were not the family familiar with minus one.  I wish we had a magic formula that could multiply the years and divide the heartache.  I wish Batten would not rob one more mother of one more minute.

I fell asleep on the couch last night at 8:00 o'clock, right after I put the boys to bed.  There are days that turn into nights and then new days, and we keep going, we keep doing what feels necessary at the time.  We maintain excitement for the future and manage the gray in between.
We are all the best people, all heroes, all walking one another home.


Kate said...

Sister. You are so precious to me.

Kristy Grachek said...

This was wonderful. Thank you.

Emma! said...

Jenni, as someone that knows your family only through your blog, please take heart. I feel like you're such an inspiration, especially when you open your heart up to us strangers and let us know of the struggle you still face daily. You've been such a champion in the face of adversity, specifically because you have taken the time to show your grief. Thank you for letting us in to share your path, if only to help you bear the load you're faced with for a short time.
Many hugs from Louisiana,

Anne Caughey said...

Amen. People are always telling how much they admire my strength. I understand they compliment they are trying to give. It isn't strength that pulls us through difficult days and difficult feelings. It's not having another option available. As I always say, the sun keeps coming up every morning, whether I want it to or not. Not a day goes by that I don't repeatedly wish that things were different. That I don't imagine things as being different. I will never understand either. Never, ever, ever.

Tiffany said...

Thank you for your honesty. Your words are always so beautiful, honest and poignant. The offer comfort yet truth. You are an inspiration don't forget it!