Mon 13 Apr 2009
the blog turned three the other day. and it snowed. huh. fuck you too, April.
i could swear i’ve had no time to bake any celebratory blogoversary virtual cupcakes this year, except…erm, they’re virtual. practically instant. perhaps it just feels like the circles we run in out here are too choked with sadness and fear lately for anyone to want to eat any.
grief makes me uncomfortable.
when i was in high school, five friends and i put on a play called Passacaglia in the local drama festival. we played the denizens and matron of a nursing home, rhapsodizing back on dreams deferred. my cynical, virginal self had to speak the line “we made love” aloud without dissolving into ironic distance or giggles. we powdered our hair, wore Tender Tootsies. the six of us spent a lot of time together that spring, talking about aging and who we hoped we’d be when we got old.
the following spring, one of us drowned, with her older brother.
their funeral was, as you would imagine, enormous. they played U2′s With or Without You. and i sat in the back, compelled and repelled all the same by the proceedings, my eyes on Sarah’s white coffin and the bent heads of her parents. i felt sad and angry. and scornful at the same time, at the weeping and the wailing from those whom i knew had known her no better than i, those who cried because it was a time for crying.
i wanted to say, i knew her. i knew what she wanted to be when she was ninety years old. but my claim to her seemed so small, so peripheral, that to speak it at all felt like playing a part. i did not know if i deserved to mourn. to do so publicly felt somehow distasteful…not to do so, almost disrespectful.
i always feel weird when private sorrows become hugely public, go viral. our society creates spectacle out of grief, and part of me recoils, afraid of appropriating, claiming what is not my own. and yet to pretend grief is not in the room when it has swallowed all the air…that only harms, i think, never helps. grief is the dirty underbelly of living, of community, of friendship. if ever you think it’s not present, scratch a little deeper. or wait.
in the three years of its existence, the blog has been the site of more public grieving on my part than i care to think about. it is the place i put things i cannot say in my real life. i do not want to walk into the grocery store today and say, hi. did you know that this is the anniversary of the day things went irrevocably wrong for me? that four years ago this morning i was airlifted to the IWK because my water broke? i was 24 weeks, almost. my son was born a couple of weeks later. he died the morning of the last day of the month. my son. my Finn, firstborn.
i am so uncomfortable with grief even after the intervening four years that if i had say the words above aloud to someone today, i’d grin all the way through, my rictus of pleasant polite-itude desperately trying to counter the message.
so i tell you, here. because it is April, again, and i need to mark it. without the grin. without needing the grin, or tears either.
i’d feel ridiculous telling anyone in person that tomorrow is nine years since my Nannie died, after a good long life and a miserably long death. but i tell you. i acknowledge, remember aloud, onscreen. a line or two is all.
and my heart is calmed, having borne its small witness to these people whom i loved, thrown those words into the chorus of sadness and memory and love that exists out here.
which is, i suppose, what we are all trying to do as we muddle through this mess of an April.
in one of April’s happier anniversary dates at our house, a “yellow cake with a yellow train” has been requested for Oscar’s third birthday next week. i tried to talk him into chocolate, to no avail. nearly-three-year-olds are a hard-headed people, i am discovering. and as sweet and quirky a kid as Oscar can be, he knows what he likes…so yellow his cake shall be. and possibly homemade, if i do not chicken out and buy a box of Betty Crocker yellow.
now, i have no clue how to actually make a cake from scratch, let alone make it, uh, yellow without adding brain cancer food colouring. but i like a challenge, so if you could bring on your best yellow recipes whilst i mutter curses at the babysitter for cultivating strange, non-chocolate-centred tastes in my offspring, that’d be great.
if it’s too ugly to serve to the three-year-old set, rest assured i will hand out virtual slices – and photos – here. one can always aspire to be on Cake Wrecks, if nothing else.
ah, blogging. you make everything just a little less lonely, at least.