Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
- MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5

it doesn’t matter, of course.

it is only a website and if i am not here it is not the end of the world. i tell myself this.

it’s just a website. a collection of digital words and images in a genre that’s been declared regularly dead for the last four years. dead like the squashed slug on the bottom of my back steps…except, unlike the slug, the blog has a whole Jesus thing going on where it regularly resurrects itself.

or at least quietly continues on, dead or no. i like that about blogs. dead is just a state of mind.

i repeat this to myself as i stare at the trail of ants marching back and forth around the slug’s worldly remains, efficiently erasing all trace.

it’s only a website, i mutter. and dead is just a state of mind, anyway.

i look around and wonder if i am my own set of ants.
***

once upon a time, if you wrote something, you knew when you were done. the story or the book came to an end and then – if you were very very lucky – it passed the sanction of the gatekeepers and went off to the printers and that was it for that particular tale, that voice, at least until the anniversary reprint edition or the sequel.

print media have an inherent finite quality. they create artefacts, discrete objects. books can’t be 73,000 pages long. you run out paper, of arm strength. you are bounded by physical constraint.

digital media have no such clear lines. i’m in the midst of writing about this, on my theoryblog, for the Reading in a Digital Age class i’m teaching this summer. i’m in the midst of writing a bunch of things, one of which is my long-suffering and increasingly long-overdue thesis proposal. i’m writing all the time.

but i’m not writing here.

at the end of April, i marked Finn’s birth and death here, as i have every year but the first. i didn’t write of him that first year. the blog was three weeks old. Oscar was eight days new and still in the NICU. my very first boyfriend – he of the first sloppy kiss by the bricks out behind the junior high – had just died of AIDS. he was thirty-five years old. his funeral coincided with what would have been Finn’s first birthday.

i was so full up with life and death that everything was dust in my mouth. i sat at the hospital computer and opened up a post window and closed it again. i was not certain, yet, that this was a place i could speak of anything beyond the platitudes of baby poop. i left the hospital for an hour or two, with Dave and my mother, to dig and mulch Finn’s trees. i went back to the NICU to feed my baby. while my friend was laid in the ground, i sat in a hospital rocking chair, my shirt lanolin-stained and my fingers dirty with soil, crooning OMD’s If You Leave to Oscar. it was the best i could muster, for all of them.

that dust is gone from my mouth, now. i have written it out. and that voice has been precious to me. but this year, in the post for Finn, i said “there really isn’t anything else to say, anymore.”

and i realized that that i do not know what to do with this voice.

if this were a book, i would simply say done. rest now. and i would close the covers and feel immensely satisfied at a chapter closed, a piece of life’s work done, and proudly.

but if this were a book i would have said nothing yet because it would still have to go through the gatekeepers and the editors and there would be no thousands of comments and conversations and networks formed here over years, no traces of friends found and since gone and i would be the lesser. and i know it.

yet i think i am finished speaking in this voice. i think i am finished with this story, this piece of the narrative. i think its hour upon the stage is done.

i do not want to mark another birthday.
***

this August, in NYC, i’m lucky enough to get to host a BlogHer panel entitled Blogging for the Love of It. and i do love blogging, dead though it may be.

but i do not know what to do with this one.

it is only a website, i tell myself again, but i shake my head. i know better.

part of me shrieks RETIRE IT ALREADY BEFORE IT WITHERS! DON’T LET IT DIE OF NEGLECT! KILL IT! KILL!

another part of me recoils and throws my arms around this space as if it were a living thing, because that’s what it’s been, to me: a voice, a network of relationships, a narrative, a precious, tenuous growing thing. an artefact, yes, for my children. but so much more. in the grand scheme of things ever written, a tale told by an idiot, indeed. but to this happy idiot, a life’s work. or at least the beginning of such. an enormous, beloved chapter.

i do not like declarations of done-ness. i am not done with the network, the relationships, the people. i’ll be around, on the theoryblog, on Twitter, in the too-many places i’ve had the privilege of stretching to.

but this voice has dwindled to a whisper, and it occurs to me that in this digital age of infinitely expandable and reproducible and extensible creativity, perhaps what we miss is the built-in sense of knowing when to stop, of being pulled up short and silent by physical constraints. i cannot run out of paper, here.

maybe i wish i could. it would be easier, that way, to say fini.

here, all i can say is see you around. and xo.

 

i maintain it was nobody’s fault, but rather an unfortunate accident. i could have prepared, had i known to expect her. she couldn’t prepare, because she didn’t realize the chasm between us.

until Tuesday.

The Awkward Event:
the rapping came at the back door which was odd because it was a weekday and nobody who would use the back door knocks and i was on my feet, bewildered, stealing a glance at the car through the window as my feet hurried me to the back of the house. i registered that i was still in my slippers as my hands wiped themselves against my jeans and automatically reached up to smooth bedhead and check for offending particles in my teeth.

it was 3pm.

i caught bare shoulders and a stray bra strap in the mirror as i shuffled by and i was just struggling one arm into the paint-spattered hoodie i’d slipped off earlier when i heard the door open and she entered the kitchen just a second before i did.

hellOOOOOo. her voice announced her, jarred me; not an inquiring tone so much as a demanding one. where was i? it came up short as we both stepped into the kitchen via different doors.

i smiled, or i think i smiled. smiling is a reflex, right? i meant to smile.

she is one of my oldest friends. we greeted each other with an economic half-hug and stood in my back doorway.

what are you doing? i asked, intending more friendliness than my voice really managed and trailing off before the accusatory “doing HERE” slipped out.

not working, she grinned, shrugged. what are you doing?

my answer spilled before i could stop myself, but when it did, i let it sit for a beat, between us.

working.

i am working. that is what i do when i am here all day paying other people to look after my children. this is where i work.

and all the while she was here – which wasn’t a long visit, she took the message – i know that beat hung in the air like my rictus of a smile.

The Internal Monologue:
the beat meant to say, oh, my dear friend.

it is *nice* that you’ve come back from Bermuda and have another week off from your government job and it’s nice that you’re keen to tell me you don’t even open emails for work during holidays because surely you can have just two weeks actually off even if i can’t quite fathom the concept of not opening email for two weeks, let alone unplugging entirely, and it’s nice that you get to engineer this complete separation between professional and personal life for a two week period.

i don’t get it, but i got to tell you, it sounds nice. really. it does. nicer than Bermuda, even.

the beat meant to say, i feel helpless because we have become different species, my friend, and i know you don’t mean to offend and neither do i. i swear on my mother.

but here we are. and i should have offered tea, and i know it.

it is the 24th of May, the Queen’s Birthday. the old rhyme my grandmother taught me ends, “and if we don’t get a holiday, we’ll all run away.” i need a goddam holiday. but Victoria Day or no, there is no running away from the fissure between my friend’s life and my own.

so instead i offer this, a helpful primer on my kind.

print it out if you need to. share at will.
*** 

A Primer, to Facilitate Pleasant Relationships between Networked Humans and Those Who Love Them:

i am homo new medius: the networked human.

this is life, with a few tweaks and variations, for many of us in the 21st century.

maybe you are a networked human, too. or maybe you just know one. perhaps you have a friend or family member who has become swallowed up by networks and you no longer know how to interact with him or her.

please know that the gap is kinda painful on both sides. homo new medius probably cares about you, just as you care about him or her. but cross-species friendships and family relationships take special care and understanding.

Networked is Constant
first, it’s important for those of you who aren’t networked to understand that being networked is not actually a bad thing. it’s just different. it’s very different.

for some of us, it allows privileges like working from home or being part of our kids’ lives in more flexible ways than traditional jobs allow. for most, it’s an add-on to already busy job and life commitments. but it’s part of the price of being engaged in the culture or arts or education industries in the 21st century. business, too, though not all of them have caught on yet.

it also enables handy things like paying mortgages even with an Arts degree.

for many of us, it means doing what we love. it is a privilege, just a bit of an all-consuming one.

it tends to mean we work a lot. often on scattered and widely distributed projects, often using widely variant voices and skill sets in the run of a day. we do a lot of sharing of our work, because impression management and reputation-building are part of getting more work. we’d share your work too, quite generously, if you were putting any out there.

Networked is Time-Managed
being networked means that our personal/professional divides have long since blurred in ways you probably find baffling and disconcerting. we may have tried to explain this to you once or twice. we have probably given up.

it means the notion of a vacation in your sense of the term – unplugged not just from technologies but from the professional aspects of who we are – is as quaint and foreign to us as any other holdover from the Victorian rift between the domestic sphere and society.

it means that we are uber-connected, but that our relationships – particularly those not with young children, for whom many of us make special exceptions - have to be managed, because we are juggling multiple deadlines most of the time.

homo new medius can actually be decent friends, i swear. we’re often good communicators, though we prefer to communicate in-network. we’re usually pretty tuned into relating with others. it’s just, if you want our undivided attention so we can relate to YOU, you’ll need to give us notice, the same as you would for any other busy professional.

Networked is Always In Two (or Six) Places at Once
and so – and this is the Most Important Part of the Primer – while you may find us in our houses, that does not mean we are actually sitting around eating bonbons and watching Days of our Lives.

or if we are, we’re probably still working straight through it.

homo new medius can be found in a variety of semi-natural physical settings. we are also almost always simultaneously in at least one other online setting – at the very same time – working or sharing or learning or doing whatever it is that your particular networked human does.

our failure to respond to your unannounced visits or phone calls with unbridled pleasure and hospitality is not intended to be rude. it is, rather, simply, that you don’t recognize our work habits. you will not see us barging into your offices unannounced expecting to chitchat for no reason beyond the social. please accord us the same the respect.

Networked is Not Your Monkey
and yet, i know, you mean no harm.

to you it looks like we’re just home, piddling away on nothing. or Tweeting. to you, those look the same. sometimes they are. but not usually.

but when you assume they are, and you joke and diminish things you don’t understand while still demanding our time, you make us feel kinda like we’re in the zoo, required to explain our own personal brand of exotica.

if you want to visit your networked friends, please bring your own peanuts. also, do not expect us to drop everything at your convenience. that is all.

Pro Tip: if you would like to schedule a meeting outside prime productivity hours – when we’re usually still working but more amenable to taking a break – that’d be great. and if you ever want us to explain to you how this networking stuff works, just ask. we’ll mostly be happy to show you.

though beware: it’s catching.
***

Coda: i’m not advocating networked as The Way to live. today, a ticket to Bermuda and two weeks radio silence sounds absolutely beautiful. and i need to do a better job of carving out time for my friends and family who aren’t part of my online networks, because they’re important to me.

but we live increasingly in a world wherein the divides that used to operate between time-on and time-off don’t hold anymore, and while those of us who’ve made – for business or pleasure or some mix of both – the move to more networked practices are literate in how the other half live, the reverse is not so true. or is limited to the righteous annoyance (relatively justified) of all of us who’ve ever tried to have a conversation with someone unable to tear their nose out of their phone for three seconds.

still. i believe that networked humans and non-networked humans CAN get along. i believe in a world of peace and love between those of us trying to learn to walk the blended personal/professional tightrope, and those who’ve chosen other walks in life. this is my missive to them.

did i miss anything? any other homo new medius out there with anything to add?

 

it was 3:20 when we all raced in from the park and scattered.

four people, six different directions. the calculus of families. physics probably says it’s impossible but i have always said pshaw! to physics.

physics wins, of course, in the end: thirty seconds after scattering the two smaller ones were back, pulling me in entirely opposite directions. physics will not allow me to split myself in two.

physics is a damn honey badger.

but i have my own secret calculus: three, not two. sometimes the invisible has its own demands. i said, i am going to the basement now. and then i disappeared. sha-zam. magic.

they followed me, both of them.

but when i pulled out my laptop, they pulled out Lego and Plasticine docile as lambs and there we sat the three of us companionable and so perhaps it was magic after all.

and i made it in time.

i saw the numbers on the clock. i blinked and there he was, small and splayed as they swept him away from me to the bright lights and the yellow gowns flooding the room. dark hair and a trail of blood and one perfect ear and then i could see nothing else, then or now. the window closed. gone again.

i typed into the Facebook status update: “3:24 pm. seven years. happy birthday, Finn.”
***

there really isn’t anything else to say, anymore.

we planted two new baby trees, at the new house, but that was mostly by happenstance. we went over to the old house to see the trees planted that first Mother’s Day, seven springs ago. they are thriving, strong. we bought some cupcakes on the way.

a regular day – life for the living. a cacophony. physics.

until i sat down late last night and opened Facebook again and saw the comments, the likes, the acknowledgements. the love.

for us, i suppose. but for him, too. for a child almost nobody ever met.

each time i write about Finn, i feel a bit skinless, even now.

not because he makes me sad. he never made me sad. his absence made me sad for a long time, but it does not, not anymore.

still. too effusive in my words and you might think me maudlin, unkempt and troubled by grief even after all this time.

too casual in my “liking” of your comments and you might think me crass and cheap and ridiculous.

i do not want to be maudlin, or crass.

i simply want him to be part of my story.
***

seven years ago today, i woke like a bruised thing.

he had been there. i had held him. and i looked ahead and i thought i might choke to death on the silence.

i knew i could not sit, seven years hence, in polite sane company and tell strangers on a park bench: i had a son. he would have been seven today. he’s dead.

in person, in our culture, you cannot do that.

but in the networks of social media, you can. thank Jeebus. some say Facebook acknowledgements take all the human connection out of sorrow and remembrance: perhaps they do, by some people’s definition. but i would say they add back in a whole other dimension of possibility. i do not need you to wail and gnash your teeth on my behalf, especially not anymore. i do not need you to hold me.

i just need a space to speak him, now and then.

Josephine is reaching an age where she is beginning to understand “dead.” Her great-grandfather died last spring, and she has come around to understanding that he isn’t coming back. She knows, vaguely, that she had another brother. Oscar has told her Finn is a star in the sky. I smile, and say maybe he is.

but the other night they were going to bed and Oscar mentioned the stars, and Finn, and suddenly, from her side of the room, a sob.

i don’t want to die, Mummy! she burst out, her voice small and cracked. even when i’m an old lady, Mummy! i don’t want to be lost!

my heart. i went to her and stroked her hair said, of course not, pet. you will never be lost, my love. you are tied to me, to Daddy, to a thousand stories. you will always be my girl.

magical thinking, perhaps. physics might object.

but i write of Finn to tie him to me, to weave him into the fabric of my life. to say, you will always be my boy.

you have given me that space. you have received him, and nodded back, and layered love and kindness where once there was only absence.

he is dead. that is what it is. it is surprisingly okay.

but he is not lost: he exists here. he has a record, like the rest of us.

and more than that, i cannot ask.

so what i wanted to write last night on Facebook was, thank you. just thank you. and yet so much more.

you are sleeping and for a minute, mouth open, curled small in your bed, you look again like the curly-headed toddler whom i still expect to see, some mornings before my brain entirely catches up to the present.

you are big, long now, leaner, solid. your Buddha belly is only a memory. you have a front tooth coming in. you will have been here six years tomorrow.

i believe it in the waking hours.

yesterday morning, i drove you to school and before Posey and i were even out of the car, you’d grabbed your dinosaur backpack and were running away across the spring frost, all badass in your new jean jacket, and i grinned before i called you back for a hug. you came. later, when you whinged “MumMY” for the seventeenth time in a minute and i barked like a fishwife, your resilience, your unto-your-self-ness, was a glorious thing to observe. i marvel at you, child, i do.

yet in the half-light of dawn, still sleeping, you are a different sort of marvel. i reach out my hand and my fingers in your hair tell me, yes, here. safe, mine.

you, Oscar.

six years later, i am still a doubting Thomas of a mother.

you were my unexpected child.

oh, you were planned, calculated, hoped for against thin and fragile hope. but never had i imagined you, until you came. and never did i bargain for all you’d be.

your brother was my firstborn, the child i’d invented and daydreamed of since i was the size you are now. i am a firstborn, my mother’s only. my father is a firstborn. my friends, all my growing up, were firstborns.

your sister is my daughter, my longed-for girl.

but the second-born son? was no one i’d been expecting, ever. until you came.

i forget now, how i was in our first days together, when this blog was new and i was still brittle from your brother’s death and the fear and the long months four hours from home in the hospital where he was born and died before you. it had not even been a year.

i was afraid you would not make it. i was afraid i was too broken. i was afraid i would want too much from you.

i didn’t know the term “rainbow baby” then.

but that’s what you are. the beauty after the storm, the covenant. the rainbow does not negate the destruction that came before, but it brings wonder to the process of rebuilding.

you are the rainbow that has not faded.

and still, six years in, i marvel and reach out to touch your hair, full of wonder, full of grace.

(Oscar, almost six: thank you, sweet | salty Kate)
***

you learned to read this year, to ride a two-wheeler. sometimes you to remember to say “please.” you try. mostly.

you can multiply, years ahead of your time, and your father and i half-hold back on scaffolding these worlds, knowing full well smart only goes so far in life.

you love music: you want to be Mick Jagger when you grow up. you play the spoons. you have a curious affinity for Scottish martial tunes that i confess to entirely indulging in spite of myself.

you are moving past your love of dinosaurs into a Star Wars and Star Trek and Space Oddity sort of phase, where each morning when we leave the house in the car you count backwards from ten when the ignition starts.

you are learning to draw. your rendition of David Suzuki at the art gallery the other day kinda blew my mind.

you’re still working on jumping with two feet.

tonight, before bed, i will dig out your hardcover Winnie the Pooh book and read you the poem below…or perhaps you will read it to me. and i will likely smile a little over-bright and some small part of me will wish it could be true, because i would keep you, Oscar, the way you are right now except that would only be for me and you are far too much of a marvel unto yourself to want to hold you back from rocketing out into the world.

and so i will just tousle your hair to remind my fingers again that this rainbow remains, and i will kiss you goodnight, and say happy birthday, my sweet boy.

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

- A.A. Milne (1927)

it is not-quite-spring but the snow is mostly gone, reduced to salt-and-pepper-crusted mounds.

we have no cherry blossoms here to herald the end of winter, only crocuses, the modest, cheery crocuses that pop up even before the mud loses its icy cover.

when the crocuses come it is spring, for me, and i am a child again after school at my grandmother’s house and each year when they first pop through she takes me outside, deliberately, around the edge of the house to where they grow and we smile upon them. or they – bright things in the gray of the long melting season – on us.

one year i saw them first, making my way from school towards the tall yellow house and their purple and yellow-orange buds were there, popping through, and i saw them and ran in and she got her coat and i was proud, for seeing, for noticing.

they are out again. in that same garden bed at the house that is now just across the street and Dave spied them last week, out for a walk in the half-warm of the evening and i felt my face drop thirty years and i beamed and waved and pointed to show my children, Look! Crocuses!

the same damn crocuses. well, not really. but kinda.
***

last night after supper, we left the house and dug the Radio Flyer scooter and the little pedal-less run bike out from the new shed for the first time. found the helmets. still glove weather here, and matching sets were procured and we set off.

they elected to go downhill first, snaking down a sidewalk and around and over a block, then back three, the long way to the Lebanese grocery that is the neighbourhood corner store in these parts. it too is a relic of my childhood, though its owner is thinner and whiter of hair, now. he knows the names of all the teenagers who come in; accepts that i know his, though mine has long receded for him.

i introduce the children. Posey chooses chocolate milk. Oscar hands over the bill.

we are on the way back when we spy crocuses on another lawn, a few blocks from home. we stop, like pilgrims paying homage.

and then the children right their respective wheels and start off ahead of us, both still stumbling a bit, learning balance, finding their feet.

Two or three years, i said to Dave, apropos of nothing. That’s all there will be of these walks, like this. he nodded. a hockey net loomed in the middle of the street ahead and it did not look so utterly foreign as it would have even a few months back.

when you have small children, their age and size is the measure of the world.

to the parent of a tiny baby, especially the first time ’round, even older babies – those round, crawling, laughing ones – are enormous and strange. the window of parallel kinship is narrow.

i have never been able to see ahead, very well, with my kids…i’m always only barely keeping up with where we are. and so children who are older than mine, even by a couple of years, have for the longest time looked to me like mini-adults. smaller, yes, but impossibly old nonetheless. seven and eight and ten have been unimaginable worlds, for me.

do they need parents, these giant children? they stay up late. they wipe their own bums. they go places independently.

they have seemed another species, their families built on entirely different structures than my own.

’til now.

suddenly Oscar is almost six. i pick him up and stumble to adjust to the weight of him, long limbs, fifty-plus pounds of boy.

even Josephine stretches up up up, the soft baby roundness disappearing. her hand snakes up for mine on the stairs rarely now, but when it does, i grab it and marvel at the delicate bones emerging from what was once the softest, tightest grip.

we are entering a whole new phase.

suddenly those big kids we happen upon? the ones i’ve been unable to see as children?  they begin to shrink like Alice in Wonderland, to look…like kids again. long, gangly ones, less cuddly perhaps, but still so very much…kids. logic and proportion.

this is what happens when your babies are gone.
***

i thought it would be sad. it is in the sense that i would like to slow things down and stay and stretch the time out in this twilight of what has been.

but there is nothing for it. we grow up, all of us. it is the way of things and the alternative is far more terrifying, yes. but there is more.

in the strange, surreal nostalgia of this return to the neighbourhood in which i was a child, i am confronted daily with the ways in which we do not leave our childhoods but we carry them within us, layers of sediment.

in my daughter, i see the last days of toddlerhood and the bright, fierce emergence of a big girl to be reckoned with, but i see more. my last baby, tiny fuzzy bird-limbs splayed against the skin of my body as she slept.

i look at my son and see the big, big boy who karate chops his way through his days and reads and does not want to hold my hand in the hall at school anymore. and still, in the tilt of his head, the same curious, open spirit we first brought home: our rainbow baby, joy after sorrow.

it would be a terrible disservice to my children to keep seeing them through these lenses as they grow.

and it would be a greater disservice to stop.

the best gift my grandmother gave me, i think, in all the years in which she was my extra parent and my caregiver, was that she continued to see in me the child i’d been.

oh, i grew older and too cool and there was that time i slouched in the front seat of her little Datsun as we drove to junior high because i did not want the ruling clique to see me with my – ack - grandmother, as if having one were some sort of mortifying embarrassment…and i was by turns surly and frustrated and enamoured by all that i wanted to rush to embrace. she saw that. she honoured some of it, critiqued my mother for some, i know. but she did not mistake that prickly, uncertain becoming-adult for the whole of who i was.

the spring i was thirteen i had big pink glasses and a Frankie Says Relax tshirt and my jean jacket collar and my shoulders were all turned up against the world most of the time. we lived there with her, that year, and it was a hard year and my mother did not know what to do with me and i did not know what to do with anything and my grandmother was nearly eighty-one and unused to having two extra people in the house.

but when the crocuses came out she met me at the door, as ever, and her eyes were bright and they did not say you told your mother to fuck off this morning before school.

they said, simply, it’s you. it’s spring. come see the crocuses with me.

and so we did.

it is April. twelve springs this year since i’ve seen myself reflected in her eyes, and mostly – even living here – she seems like memory. time does that. my children grow and i wax wistful and i know these early days will soon feel gone and historical and…simply done.

yet there they are, the crocuses, those same damn crocuses, kinda. and they remind me that my babies remain in the long limbs of the children in front of me, as the child who once welcomed spring flowers remains in me. and i suppose my grandmother does too.

and so we wave at the flowers, and some part of me is waving to the grownups in these tiny bodies still beside me, holding my hand.

they were away.

they pulled out of the driveway and i waved from inside the house though it occurred to me after they drove away that i could have stood in the driveway, waving until they could not see me anymore.

i’d like to be that mother. i’d like them to remember me that way, the way i remember my grandmother, standing in her pastel housecoat in her sunporch, waving until i walked out of sight of this very corner.

even into my adolescence, when i was otherwise too cool for school and riddled with the agonizing cringe of self-consciousness, i always waved back. the smile on her face as she watched me go sang, be well! i go with you!

i was one of the grand old ocean liners, an occasion every time i left.

note to self: start waving.
***

but Friday afternoon they drove away with their father, car piled high with plastic dinosaurs and cups of milk and the miniature Strawberry Shortcake with the scented scarlet nylon hair, smooth and glossy and eminently easier to comb than that of her three-year-old owner. hairstyling implements are weapons of torture when directed at Posey but delightful if aimed at ponies and Strawberry Shortcake. at least for a minute or two.

i threw in all the DVDs i could find. it’s a five hour drive to Dave’s parents house.

between the hair-combing and the dinosaurs and DVDs and the Read-It-Myself books that i placed conveniently by Oscar’s booster seat in paroxysms of proud motherly fantasies of him reading sweetly to his little sister, Dave probably got, what? ten minutes of quiet on the drive? fifteen?

i don’t know. i didn’t ask.

i was alone.

they left for forty-six hours because i had a writing deadline. half-way into it i’d completed a draft, based on days of work beforehand, all on a program i hadn’t used before but had been saving away on, diligently. then, whoops, i discovered that program doesn’t allow saving: when i’d closed the document to email it, i lost everything.

every word, gone.

cue swearing and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

that is how i spent my weekend alone, grunting like Sisyphus back up the hill of my own ideas, pushing the stone of my own chagrin and self-recrimination and disbelief.

still, i was alone.

alone. nothing but my work to get back to. reflexively, i sought out the children as distractions from the job at hand. nobody needs a bum wiped? my brain pouted hopefully, as i winced at the blank screen in front of me. i could almost see the old words. every time i looked for them they grew fainter in the rearview, and more and more beautiful.

that first draft has now become a verifiable lost Atlantis of Shakespearean proportions. may it rest in peace.

but i had time to recreate a thin shadow of it, because i was alone.

in my life as a parent, time alone is terrible and beautiful. beautiful for the unbroken stretches, the chance to forget the clock and the routine and mealtimes and the thousand tiny interruptions and really, truly throw myself into the flow.

terrible because alone? it is a devil’s bargain.
***

every time things go wrong in my life i am shocked by time’s irreversibility. really? i think. but i just HAD that. i can SEE it.

my hands flap and scrabble at the invisible clock, trying to turn it back. just a bit. a smidge. i blink, conjuring with all my powers that moment just seconds ago when whatever it was worked. or was unbroken. or Was. Not. Blank.

i am dogged and faithful in my magical thinking, my repeated beating of my head against the wall of time’s directionality.

it makes me irrational, fighting against my own reality in this tension of inbetween, in this life where deadlines meet snow days and trips to the ER because kindergarteners walk on the monkey bars, sometimes, and where i am always rushed and there is always something left undone and i am regularly convinced i am drowning.

my writing. my research. my parenting. all tied together in the constant push-pull of doing nothing quite as well as i’d like.

i stare baffled at the spectre of that alone time i used to have: the creative headspace, the flow. i still believe it’s out there, somewhere, not eaten by schedules and deadlines and responsibilities all freely assumed.

it isn’t, except on very occasional weekends when that car piled high with Strawberry Shortcake and plastic dinosaurs goes hurtling down the highway through moose country with the people i love most packed inside it.

and that is the devil’s bargain.

i could blink and find myself on the other end of a phone call, stunned and shocked and disbelieving. but they were just HERE. i can SEE them.

i do not let my brain go too far down that road. it makes me feel sick in my throat.

but standing alone in my kitchen, i see that the aloneness will come anyway, eventually. time moves only forward. and someday i will have long forgotten what the hell i was trying to write on Saturday and all i will know as i shuffle around my empty kitchen in a housecoat is how fast those kids grew up.

and so i mutter my secret mother’s refrain, a plea in two parts:

i want to be alone. just for a bit, though. just for a bit.

and then we all keep swimming on together, never quite going under, and i beam and wave until my arms hurt.

 

for almost six years now, i’ve written here. at least a few posts every month. sometimes, in the heady old days, twelve or more. but always a few.

i kept going because i was afraid if i stopped, i’d stay stopped.

until this month. i’ve been busy, under deadlines, distracted. three weeks went by. bless me internets, for i have sinned. it’s been nearly a month since my last blog post.

the words piled up in my throat and it felt strange, not to write, but also kinda…freeing. like unintentionally walking out a door and just keeping on going, collar turned up into the wind, not looking back.

yeh. self-aggrandizing fantasies. i was totally Bob Dylan, 60s-version, in soulful black and white. maybe i’d walk on ’til i found me some Allen Ginsbergs & men in heeled boots to hang with on suitably seedy streetcorners.

Photo courtesy of vvanhee

suddenly i can see why old rock stars get grumpy about playing their ancient #1s over and over and over again, no matter how much gas those hits have put in the car over the years.

old identities trap us, in a sense, like flies in amber.

and in the radio silence of the past month i wondered what it would be like, to close this door.

if i stopped, who would i be? what would i miss?
***

this is my brain on inertia.

the longer i hang on out here on the misty flats of the so-called long-dead personal blog, the more i suspect the radio silence – whenever it creeps up and swallows another of us – never comes from having nothing to say.

it comes from getting out of the habit of speaking.

and then the shame and fear creep in and we doubt ourselves. and maybe we stop. maybe we walk away. maybe we try to become experts on something people clearly want to listen to, instead.

because what value can there be, in just…writing?

i talk in my head all the time; stringing long disjointed narratives that trail out and weave tiny baskets of madness in my head, like waking dreams.

i assume you do this too. don’t crush this illusion for me, please. let’s just call it our little secret.

(well, ours and my neighbour’s, who caught me today as i scraped spring-wet slush from the sidewalk, words leaking aloud. i spun around and smiled, tried to look normal. she gave me a remarkably kind look as she scuttled back indoors. perhaps i should make her a pie. though my pies might be scarier than my muttering).

but that muttering? it’s a private activity. i don’t assume that everybody wants to hear every thought that runs through my head.

it’s just that the longer i go without filtering it somehow, without speaking aloud, without writing, the less i can tell the difference between what i need to say and what’s just noise.

Dave went to India last week. i work at home, so i didn’t talk much in the time he was gone. i mean, i talked to the kids, but my kids are small and forcing them to act as sounding boards and filters for the kaleidoscope blur inside my head seems…inappropriate. and he & i talked on the phone, but…he was half a world away. in a place i can barely imagine. and nine time zones removed.

by the end of the week, between his absence and my extended blog vacation, i was totally, absolutely fine…but unsettled, unsteady. i was Lassie, ears permanently pricked. Timmy, are you down the well?

and then i knew i couldn’t stay stopped. i couldn’t walk away.
***

this space steadies me. here, i make myself look in the mirror. here, i make myself speak.

when i do, i am lucky enough – sometimes more, sometimes far less, but still lucky – to find my words received, and reflected back slightly differently. this space is where i force myself to believe that i have something to say.

oh sure, i have my niche spaces. they’re easier: they’re focused. i write about academic research or open online courses or upcycling and renovating and i understand going into those posts what i want out of them.

here, i seldom do.

this house of who i am when i’m online? this lived experiment? has many rooms.

Twitter’s still where i spend the most time: i can work and play there, both. Facebook’s the kitchen party, where the old friends are and the longer conversations unfold. LinkedIn is the parlour with the plastic still on the furniture. Pinterest is the guest room i wish i had.

the theoryblog? it’s my study, with the door propped open because i don’t want to be alone.

but this blog is truly mine own…a space i no longer have in my embodied life. it’s my bedroom circa adolescence: the place where i am still working out who i want to be, the place from which all those other public identities got their voice.

and so i’ll stay here, try to stay in motion, try to keep speaking. not because the words are always important. but because the writing them matters. to me.

what online spaces matter to you? why? and how do you keep Timmy out of the well, in your own head? 

 

i turned forty and Dave said, happy birthday, have a new house and i said yes, that will more than do and then we both took a deep breath and jumped off the bridge together.

but then he added, i know the house is a big deal, a big financial commitment. but for your birthday…it’s still your birthday. maybe you’d like me to ask Kate to come visit, and take some pictures of you? Bon at forty. sort of a marker?

and my breath caught a little because yes, Kate! and yes, how cool! and yes, the days and years slip by and i am the one behind the camera, always, and it would be nice to have a record of who i was, here and now in these first days in this house but oh, will i look silly? and oh, will i look vain? and oh, oh, will i recognize myself in what comes back? 

i hide in pictures. i like them fine, but it’s because i have a mask. a smile, a gaze cultivated over twenty-odd years. it’s “photogenic,” if i get it right. not ingenue, though the risk of that is fading, with time. the mask stumbles towards “straight shooting yet pretty enough to pass, to be left alone, to not be judged.” it is a tough line to walk in a female body, especially a female body that feels…alien…to its owner, as mine always has. inside, i am David Bowie. i wish i could explain.

instead i try to haul my shoulders back, neck up, chin downish, eyes straight ahead, smile. try not to look pinched. i have learned to mostly get right. it it is almost instinct, now. and i delete the rejects.

but there are so many ways in which i have never seen myself.

we were packing as we talked, Dave and i. i lifted my grandmother’s ancient paper-bound black photo album, white corner tabs holding each photograph to the page. i flipped through. people long dead smiled out at me. my staid, prim grandmother, posed at the seaside with a sandpail in her hand. she must have been fortyish herself.

call Kate, i said.

and she came.

it was like playing, for an afternoon. like dress-up with the Master Pirate of them all. i looked at them and i gasped. then i wondered….what on earth can i do with these? they are…lines. they are roles. they are versions of me i’ve never seen, on film or in mirrors. maybe reflected in others’ eyes. some i recognize. most i don’t.

yet i am grateful that i got the chance to be them, for that few minutes. for the record. before the moment passes forever.
***

when my grandmother died, in the spring of 2000, her dear friend Lottie sent my mother and i a little envelope. i remembered Lottie, a bit: a fun little old lady who laughed a bit like Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. compared to my grandmother, she was quite lively. still, the envelope shocked me.

inside were four black & white snapshots of two couples, both middlish of age, in the woods.

wearing…leaves.

Adam & Eve-style leaves, though figs are rare around these parts and they were more likely maples or elms or something. i don’t specifically remember the leaves, because i was busy staring agog at the images of my grandmother and her husband and Lottie and her apparent first husband – or so my mother said, as both the men predeceased my arrival around these parts – naked as the day they were born. except for leaves.

there was something profoundly innocent about the photos. something playful. there was a little note from Lottie, though i have no memory of what it said. only that i laughed, and my mother laughed, and we stared at each other bewildered, and laughed some more. there it is. you never know everything about a person. ever.

Lottie has since gone to Jesus. i think – and hope – my mother still has the photos somewhere.

and lest i am leading you down the false primrose path, here…there are NO NAKED PHOTOS of Dave & i wearing leaves, here. there never will be. YOU’RE WELCOME.

but. if you look, understand. these photos here, my contemporaries…they are not for you. these are for fifty years hence. maybe i will be here still, old and crabbed and jabbing bony fingers into the throats of my unfortunate young relatives and acquaintances, rasping lookie here, dearie! see these here lines! these were ME, once upon a time. you see? 

do you see that i was HERE, dearie?

that is what these are for. would that everyone had a Kate to make such a record.
***

first, she sat me by a window and i stared across the street at the house i once lived in with my mother and my grandmother and there were smiles but they were kinda soft and nice and a little self-conscious and so she can show you those, later, herself, along with some sassy ones. those are for now, for avatars and reality, not for fifty years from now.

we went upstairs to the old school desk my father’s younger sister dragged home one day forty-odd years ago, the desk i’ve admired in my grandfather’s basement pretty much ever since. mine now.

this is the photo that tells you what i think i look like.

this is the photo of me trying to balance elegantly on the desk, which is made for butts smaller than mine and is not bolted down. i was tipping.

this one struck me because the only other time i have seen this look on my face in a photo is in one of the two that exist of me holding Finn. i do not know what to make of it. i stare back, looking for clues.

she said, do you want to do something sexy? something boudoir? and i laughed uncomfortably and said Jesus no and i then i gave her my sexay face.

then she said well how about you wear something flowy? and i said i don’t own anything flowy and we looked in the closet but that was a dead bust until she saw Dave’s corduroy coat with the elbow patches and my inner drag king raised his eyebrow and i said, i could maybe do something sexy in a tie. a tie is sexy. flowy and lingerie? not my sexy.

so she put my on my new dining room table in my underwear and a tanktop and a tie and Dave’s coat. in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. in full view of all the new neighbours. and i felt like an art exhibit. it may have been the tie.

then she said, lie down. and i did.

she said, take off the jacket. and i did.

those shots came out looking like no version of myself i’ve ever seen, even in my mind’s eye. and they will make me believe until the day i die that i once – at FORTY, no less, and most especially satisfyingly for all that – looked very much like my own idea of sexy. and pulled it off.

i will not post them, only because…they can’t be unposted. they’re not naked. i’m wearing a tank top. and grannie panties. and a tie.

they are no more Me than the photos of my grandmother with the leaf were Her. still. they’re kinda beautiful.

when i’m gone, Kate can play Lottie and share them with whoever remains. i hope they laugh.

then i put my jeans back on, and my slippers, and she caught me far more naked in the eyes than any picture of my unshaven legs could make me.

maybe this final one of me alone is my favourite. if the top shot is how i want to see myself, this next is more as i actually see. my inner world, made visible. my slippers. my old jeans, the banker’s chair, the curtains i hung myself, this old radiator. all in the living room where my grandmother lived. the bracelet.

the TIE. that makes it dress-up.

the next morning, before she rode off into the sunrise, Kate took pics of the kids, and Dave, and all of us. there are a few stunners, moments to be framed. my favourites, though, are the outtakes: the real. the dinosaur trying to eat his sister. the mom face, saying now Josephine. sit DOWN. Dave’s tired, wry eyes. the sweater i’d been wearing for two days.

these are the rest of my life, the other roles, the pieces that make the secret self of slippers and ties feel rounded and…more.

these are the images, the memories, the ideas of me that will make those people fifty years from now laugh, startled.

i am both, here, at forty. this is my record.



 

 

we are moved.

if by “moved” you mean most of our stuff is here and not there except for a few stray things that are frozen to the yard outside at the other house.

if by “moved” you mean perched slightly dazed amidst piles of boxes and tools and stuff we keep hoping will put itself away. ahem.

if by “moved” you mean desperately trying to create spaces to hang wet winter things in a house without a mudroom. yay Dave and Dave’s dad, for building hook racks. sexy, serious hook racks.

if by “moved” you mean “caught wearing the same sweater for the past three days and a hat because it’s rather dry here and no human being on the planet has done wrong enough to be subjected to the sight of my hair.”

if by “moved” you mean a little amazed and choked up by the whole reality. i may look like the “before” Cinderella, painting basement floors, but when i surface from the to-do list long enough to breathe, i feel like somebody tossed me some glass slippers. and they haven’t yet shattered.

oh, there are leaks. and lots to do. and the chaos isn’t exactly my thing.

but i wake up in a room with light flooding in, and i set my feet on old pine plank floors, and i feel at home. we’ve been having breakfast down in front of the gas fire, these cold mornings. no furniture in the living room yet, except the kids’ little craft table and some old mats we dragged home from Thailand years ago. it’s cozy.

it’ll be beautiful, someday.

there are three floors to get lost in. Josephine beetles away to hide, frequently: you turn your head and she’s gone. luckily, she cannot hide for more than thirteen seconds at a time before her giggles come pealing from  a corner, a box pile, under the basement stairs.

Oscar got to hang his Hot Wheels track on a wall, for the first time: we’ve never had enough room, before. there is space to play, space for the mysterious treasures of childhood, for the art they create.

this is our house, we say to each other, blinking.

it’s only a house. but it is a gift, too…a fresh start. a circling back to a history i thought i’d lost, in all but the story part. and a home not tinged by tragedy, by accident of timing.

a home with room to be mindful, to make choices. a home maybe for the long run. i’ve never thought like that before.

in the fairy tale, we never hear from Cinderella after the happily ever after. but i imagine her, a few days after the fancy wedding, waking up. setting her feet on old pine plank floors, looking around. taking it in, blinking. and realizing there’s still shit to do – there will always be shit to do – but it’s her shit, now. her dream, if she can figure out how to live it.

i like to imagine her throwing on a hat with the glass slippers, and getting to the unpacking.
***
welcome to the dream, friends. i like to call it, in proper Arts & Crafts typeface (and with apologies to Dave, but hey, alliteration…)


we begin with the grand kitchen reveal.

the first room i focus on in any move – outside of the kids’ room, which still needs a few touches – is the kitchen. my Maritime roots and my anal retentive nature dictate that the kitchen is not only the heart of the home, but ground control for household operations. i spent my first morning here tearing through all the boxes marked “kitchen,” trying to work with the space to make it all make sense.

in the end, i’m way more in love with it than i’d had any expectation of being.

here’s the original, replete with hideous fluorescent light.

initially i had thought the green cupboards might go, in the long run: i do still want to paint the walls and ceiling, in the fullness of time, and i have a fantasy of the perfect Craftsman Bungalow kitchen with tomato-soup-red walls and cream cupboards and old-fashioned warship tile in a checker pattern on the floors.

maybe.

but for the moment, we’re working with what’s here, and it’s turning out beautifully. i’m no great fan of ceramic tile, especially in the back of the house over the cold storage room, but insulation is our new friend, and luckily, my slippers are actually wool, not glass.

we moved the original island that came with the house towards the back of the room, in the space towards the back entry and the doorway to the sunroom/dining room. we removed the, uh, colonial legs that decorated it, bellied the kids’ stools up to it, and voila! it makes both a perfect breakfast bar and a mini-pantry for dry goods, with built-in butcher block.

we replaced their island with our slightly smaller birch John Boos portable, bought last year: it’s one of the most beautifully-made things I’ve ever owned. it holds some of Dave’s aspirational red LeCreuset collection, plus the coffee roaster. it serves.

Dave and his dad pulled down the fluorescent light without pulling down half the ceiling (yay, dudes) and installed a pot rack, with built-in lights. love. i keep clanging my head on the pots, admittedly, when i bend over the island, but still…love.


the potrack is really the only thing we purchased for the room, other than two bronzed Bungalow-style cabinet pulls we installed on the glass cupboards. i’d initially hoped to replace all the knobs with vintage pulls, until i counted how many knobs the kitchen actually has. mercy. i had to order these things in from the US: two will have to do.

it’s the first time we’ve ever had a glass cupboard. turns out our shared pottery fetish means we have even more mugs that we want to show off, so we added the cup hooks and hung a few from the bottom of the cupboard. the green ones are celadon pottery we carted back from Korea years ago, and they match the kitchen cupboards serendipitously. the blue beauties are handmade cafe au lait bowls that are just too pretty not to look at as much as possible.

one of the coolest things about this kitchen is the long tall cupboard by the stove: the world’s most giant built-in spice rack ever. accented by the kids’ Miffy apron, one of Dave’s funky coffee pots, and an ancient bowl of my grandmother’s, which probably lived here before.

add in the daily functioning coffee paraphenalia, antique jars and other family heirlooms, and a rather glaring but awfully handy built-in radio left by the previous owners, and you have the makings of my mornings.

what the pics don’t show off properly is the sweet curve of the kitchen window over the sink, with its painted wooden arch now stripped of the false fruit frippery it came with. it mirrors the arch that leads into the kitchen from the family room…symmetry: i likes it. the window looks out to the house that my grandmother was born in, to the corner i walked home to every day after school until i was fourteen. to the house whose current owner brought the tulips currently smiling in the centre of the room.

it feels like home. even, after some adjustments, to the cat, who has found her patches of sunlight.

as, i think, have i.

now come visit. you can help unpack and transform the rest of the space.

the day after. Susan’s gone.

i dreamed about her yesterday morning. we were some kind of Thelma and Louise, secret agents laughing, doing vague, crazy dream-things until little feet woke me at 5:45 am and i rose blurry from the fog and i wondered.

and then i waited – edgy and wrong – all day, and then i heard.

i like to imagine the dream was her saying goodbye. i like to imagine i will see her in the stars. i don’t know if i really believe either of these things, but i leave the door cracked to the possibility.

i do know that i will look at the sky with wonder for the rest of my life, because she taught me.

she will always be a teacher, in my mind. she was my friend, as she was a thousand people’s friend. she was Marty‘s friend, particularly: the real Thelma to her Louise. thank you, Marty, for sharing her. you two were damn lucky in each other.

Susan was one of my very first blogging friends. one of the first people who opened this space up and grabbed me with words by the bones of my wrists, building for me a world of the real that has nothing to do with in the flesh.

except when the flesh has ceased and you know there will be no more words. and you say to no one in particular, hey, there seems to be a Volkswagen parked on my chest. it’s made of cement. and then your heart swells up and leaks out your eyes

this is my first real experience of what it means to lose one of our own. i see us all out here as parts of a web, knots in an enormous 3D crocheted blanket snarled together like one of Dave’s rhizomes, all marvellously, intricately interconnected.

for me, Susan was one of the key knots, a touchstone by which I knew and understood the whole. the empty space that was hers, then, is distributed and strange, the grief ephemeral and yet amplified.

she was not mine, or yours, i know. yet she gave herself to us.

last night, after the kids and i lay in their little beds in their new room under a ceiling speckled with projected stars, i came downstairs and i looked up the comments she’d left here, over the years.

seventy-odd little messages over nearly five years, plus a couple of dozen emails. one afternoon together, running in the rain. gifts, each one.

Susan was adamant that what matters in life – what survives – is what we put into the world: publications and people.

i sat here last night re-reading these comments like old love letters, smiling through the tears that stung and dropped. and i thought, this is what we blog for.

i celebrate her tonight through a few of her words. private words, scattered across my own…augmenting them, making them more. they were a gift to me, these, and the other hundred messages or so. maybe i’m just giddy with the gravity of sorrow and all, but i keep thinking, don’t bogart that Susan. share.

inhale deep, while you’re here. breathe her in.
***

March, 2007. it has always been her perspective on the term “mommyblogger” that gave it dignity, for me:

Personally, I love the term mommyblogger when applied correctly to those
of us who write about our kids
 and delight in it (and who aren’t currently professional
writers or claim other labels and reject the term).

It implies and acknowledges the community inherent in child-raising, and it gives
voice to the nameless
thousands out there who have for centuries carried babies, held
little hands, wiped noses, and helped children learn.

The thousands — millions — tens of millions — who give their all to helping these little children
learn to talk,
read, cook, laugh, love, and find themselves in a big, scary world.
The tens of millions who,
in a world of “Dr” this
and “Mr” that, are known primarily by one name — Mommy.

I am proud to be a Mommy, and proud to be a mommyblogger. That’s my choice,
but right now it feels pretty wonderful.

- whymommy

May, 2008. her capacity for presence, even from far away, floored me. the one time i met her, she made me feel like i was the only person in the world. when her gaze was trained on you, literally or figuratively, you had her whole heart for a minute.

Thinking of you today.

My neighbor over the fence and I chatted about you today. We explained to her mother just
how far away PEI is,
 and how your writing resonates with our souls. She and I have never
talked much, but as we shared our
favorites and wished you well, it was amazing to see.
- whymommy

June, 2008. i wrote about pipers at a funeral, just a musing. and she shot straight back, from the hip. i had forgotten this one, until last night. it took my breath. please read. i don’t think Susan will ever be forgotten, but i hear her. can we find a way to honour this, in our big old crocheted blanket way?

Bon,

I don’t want tears and mournful songs at my funeral. I want parents and children to
gather, to take my
 children in their arms, and to hug them closely when I can’t anymore.
They can sing if they like, but I really
just hope that friends and family will focus on life, and a
future that will encompass my children even when

I am no longer here to set up playdates and parties. I don’t mind if everyone
forgets me, but I could not bear it if
they forgot my children.
- whymommy

April, 2010. she was a rocket scientist, which makes me smile. i can barely add six digits. but we were both researchers at heart, for all the disciplinary differences, lovers of ideas and knowledge. what i realized last night is that we were bound, too, by journeys that both confronted the spectre of separating parent from child, in death. my writing began there, and has ended in healing. would that Susan’s trajectory could have been so clean.

Your voice is a dear one to me, and I am forever grateful that you did reach out on that day.
You have taught me
 so much about loss, and about daring to move on, while
never, ever forgetting.

Last week I heard the name “Finn,” and I snapped to attention, head swiveling so fast
to see the little boy being called
in the park. I thought for sure it must have been a mistake,
and, indeed, he had already disappeared behind the

climbing tree. I only caught a glimpse of his sneakers.

I thought of you, then, and Finn and Oscar and Posey and Dave, and wanted to tell you.

I know because of you that telling you that I remember him doesn’t hurt.
I hope, at least, that that is still true.

I remember Finn, and I am able to talk now to babylost mamas with an open heart,
not running away from the
topic, all because of you.
-whymommy

November, 2011. the last comment she left me. it makes me nod. yep: recognizing luck, counselling belief in beauty, in hope. stretching beyond me to the wisdom of perspective. yeh, that was Susan.

My map? Gone, pressed neatly into the family Bible, history upon history,
not mattering in the end. In the end, all I have is this hand I hold, and I cling tightly,
for he is all that I have.

There is beauty in relationships yet, bon … wait for it, the beauty will surprise you
again even while you mourn the losses of ten.

You are lucky in yours, as I am in mine.
- Susan @Whymommy

this was my friend, her generosity, her warmth, her incredible capacity to give of herself. the comment is remarkably like her final post: in the end, she was not ours, but Curt’s. it lifts the Volkswagen off my chest a little to know that she had that kind of love to hold her and carry her.

i am glad there is no more pain, for her. but it hurts me to think there will be no more words. she put so much of herself – so much beauty and thoughtfulness – into her words.

what words of hers do you have? in your comments stream, or from FB, or just from her own blog? what are your favourites? what can you share?

please don’t bogart that Susan. i am not quite ready to stop hearing from her.

Next Page »