Some days it feels like the words turn to syrup in my mouth. My brain is trudging through a mountain of snow, and not getting anywhere. Some days a small part of me cries out, well what did you expect? Some days I have moments of clarity, as I grasp a phrase or a word, and I know it can help me to explain. I'm a quiet person, I am not quick witted, I take things in slowly, process them, carefully construct my words as best I can. I am a writer, not an orator.
I write about dead babies. I write about other things, sometimes, but mostly I write about loss. And I can never find the right words, the words that will be like a magic wand and make people understand. I keep trying though.
I don't just write about my own losses. I write about my stillborn niece a lot. Sometimes, I write about all our losses; sometimes I hone into specific losses that I read about, hear about, where I am affected greatly. I can never capture it right.
When I'm not writing on those topics, I'm branching out into other forms of loss. Spouses, siblings, pets, dreams, hopes, childhoods, futures, freedoms... I am constantly putting myself into the shoes of someone else. I do that even when I don't write; but when I write it out, I am held accountable to get it just right. I can't just get into their shoes, that's not enough- I have to become the imagined person. I write about losses, because no matter what happens in life all our obstacles are essentially the loss of something. I think all our journeys deserve understanding; and literature, poems, art... they help us to understand. That's one of the reasons why I write, why I paint, why I draw- I want to try and make my world a more understanding place. The other reason... it helps me heal, it helps me understand.
My friend and I meet to discuss what we're working on, and it's no surprise to anyone anymore that my pieces are all works of grief and time. She pointed out to me the other day that the one thing I don't write about, is the telling- the thought process of discovering your loss for the first time and really working through it. This is true to an extent, I normally stick to what's most familiar- the fall out.
What happens during... is very hard to express. Screaming no in your heart, at first, feeling it claw it's way out of your throat. There's emptiness. It's hard to touch on, because it's so raw, it's hard to draw it in and give it form. I struggle with writing about it, how something can come at you like tsunami waves, striking your core. How after it happens once, and it happens again, you start screaming not again, instead of, or even with, no. I can write about the pain physically, but before the pain comes, while your waiting... for me, that time can't be described. It was time I lost. The time after finding out, before coming to terms... it feels like a huge chunk of my life was just wrenched free. Like I was in a coma, and I only awakened when I realized time refused to stop for me. So I bucked up, and caught up. I can't describe that time, because it is a time when I mostly tried to simply think of nothing but the emptiness inside.
I'm going to keep trying to capture it, but it's difficult.
Sometimes I question myself, ask why I can't break the shackles and let it be. I think it's because, I know the words are out there somewhere- I just haven't found them yet. I keep thinking I'll find them, that I can find the perfect words for me. Sometimes, when I'm in my zone, I imagine the words coming to me in fine tendrils in the air. I reach up and grab at them, and release them if they don't fit just right. And I keep trying, until I can't get anywhere with it. But eventually, I always come back to it.
Sometimes the words fail me completely, and I fall back on my canvas sheets. I grab my acrylics, I grab my brushes, and I let my hands guide me. I let the grief guide them. And together, we weave the story into the threads. It doesn't always turn out beautiful, but at the end of the session, I feel at peace- sometimes. In that space of time though, I stop thinking about it in terms of words and definitions, and think solely in nameless feelings- undefinable.
I have a lot of grief, and I am slowly trudging through it. Grief I thought had been long laid to rest cajoles in the sorrows of the future. Sometimes I feel like I'm swimming through ghosts, thick with should-have-been.
In the spirit of working through loss through whatever medium suits you...
I wanted to share a blog with you, that I found out about last week. It kicked off today. It's called Still Life 365. The project is to gather pieces of art, poems, etc... about miscarriage, still birth, and infant death- a post a day for an entire year. The details on entering are posted at the bottom of the blog. The first post was put up today- it was a group poem. I was caught breathless by it. Even if you don't want to submit something, I recommend checking it out. I think it's a wonderful project, and I wish the best of success for it.
And I can't forget about Exhale- they should have a new issue out any day now. It has been a wonderful place to read from others going through the same things, or similar, and broadening into topics I myself may not have even experienced. The artwork has also been powerful, the poems insightful. I am very much looking forward to the next installment.
With that, I'll leave you with a poem... in the spirit of my post. It's not finished yet. It's just a rough draft- another attempt to put words to the undefinable. There are so many of those, where I start but can't follow through. I don't think, no matter how hard I keep trying, that I will ever be able to. And maybe, that's the point. It's a grief so bare, that there is just no way to ever encompass it, not entirely...
The light danced on the bed-
beyond my closed eyelids
rays of morning came shining
a heavy sigh escapes these lips-
that would rather have kissed
than dealt with this breath
the light casts shadows knowingly
dark and secretive
in the corners of my heart
like the cry that never came-
the breath never drawn-
the shadows on the blanket folds
of her burial ground-
upon my warm