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Archive for September, 2010

Holes, and Being Whole

People are very kind.  They are very concerned, and they want to help.  Mainly, they don’t want us to feel bad.

It’s impossible not to “feel bad”.  That’s the way things are.  Grief isn’t something someone can remove for us.  This is our reality.   And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to not feel bad.  I love my daughter.  I want to feel her loss.

In the kind and sincere efforts people make to comfort us, one phrase is repeated over and over.  “You’re young, you’ll have more children.”  That is neither here nor there.  Whether or not we have more children, Liza will not be with us until we’re all before the throne of God.  Another child won’t fill the hole of her absence.  We loved her, as a person, not the concept of two children.  And that person was taken away from us. 

To me, our family feels crippled.  Handicapped.  Someone who was supposed to be here isn’t.  And won’t be.  But I don’t want to fill that place with a crutch of comfort phrases, or even another child.  I love Liza.  And even if she isn’t here, I’m going to love her and name her as my daughter.  Her life was very short; but I wouldn’t want to trivialize it by forgetting it.

When Liza died, my strongest emotion was fear that she didn’t know I love her, that I didn’t love her enough.  I prayed frantically that God would tell her I loved her, that He wouldn’t let her forget.  The image of Liza playing by God’s throne, and God speaking to her was the only thing that held me up in the first few days.

There is nothing else I can give Liza, but to love her and to remember her.  I couldn’t give her health, I couldn’t save her life, I couldn’t even buy her a dress to be buried in, because they don’t sell dresses in that size here; she had to wear her sister’s hand-me-down. 

Maksim tells me I need to let her go.  He’s worried because I sleep badly at night from thinking of Liza throughout the night watches, and dreaming that I’m trying, again, to get her to eat something, or checking to make sure she’s warm enough.  I go over and over what might have been, how I might have changed things… Maksim doesn’t like to talk about Liza, but when I went in to bed the other night he was crying by her photo.

I don’t think that I’m holding onto Liza.  But her absence is something that will have to be a part of me.  I know life goes on, and we’re functioning just fine.  But Liza is always there, in my thoughts.  Every time Sofya and I do something together, I know it’s something I’ll never be able to do with Liza.  Every time I see a baby I count how old it is in relationship to Liza.  Sitting in the rocker while Sofya naps, I watch Liza’s feeding times go by on the clock. 

There are so many things in life that she will never do and I will remember.  And I know that of course she’s better off in heaven.  (If I didn’t, plenty of people have told me.)  She’s not sick, she’s not in pain, she’ll be able to see everything around, to run, to dance.  She doesn’t have to be forced to eat.  But I am not a heavenly being, I’m very human.  And I would have liked to share our earthly life with her.

So I do feel bad.  And I will feel bad.  And I’m sorry that makes people uncomfortable.  But I don’t begrudge other people their happiness; on the contrary, I am happy for them.  I am happy for pregnant women I see on the street, and the women pushing their baby carriages, I’d love to be able to help them if I could.  So there’s no reason for people to feel awkward.  Yes, I’m sad.  And even when the inevitable day comes that I don’t spend a fourth of every hour thinking of Liza, I will still be sad in a part of me.  But I’m happier being sad than forgetting- or never having had Liza at all.  I don’t pretend to know why God decided this was best; but we have Liza, and we love her.

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