Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Heart of Summer

I wrote this to a friend a few days ago, and it pretty well sums it up:

"Every time I think I am getting something like perspective regarding Roxy's death, summer comes and the whole god damn thing drops right onto my heart like a piano and fucking smashes it."

The heat is such a visceral call-back to Roxy's death. It was so terribly, oppressively hot. If Hell is this hot, I hope it's at least not quite as humid. I found my mind wandering back three years ago to where I was on this EXACT day, less than 2 weeks from Terra's scheduled C-section... Waiting for Roxy to arrive. A girl!!! What would THAT be like? Scrambling to get things finished, wrapping up loose musical ends, cataloguing and organizing at work in preparation for my absence... feeling hopeful. Jesus, that was, I suppose, the last time I truly felt that way: "hopeful." Since Roxy died, I don't dare "hope" - I "wait and see." That's the best I can do. I guess I am always braced for the worst. No one's death could surprise me, I don't think. A few nights ago, I was sprinting through my house at 4am, checking that doors were locked, checking that kids were breathing, and checking that there were no murderers or kidnappers hiding in closets. Yes, I am that kind of crazy some nights.

My friend Sandi, who lost her beautiful daughter Riley almost a year to the day after we lost Roxy, sent Terra and I an email today and it just had "Roxy" as the subject line - (This post is going to jump around isn't it?) - just seeing her name made me feel SO grateful... anyway, it occurred to me how truly wonderful it is whenever someone says or writes her name to me... I think people avoid it sometimes, as if hearing it could remind me that our first daughter died. As if that realization ever leaves. In every single room I walk into, there is someone missing. Every single room.

Roxy Jean, I remember when the heart of summer stopped beating. I hope it didn't hurt.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My back, my head, etc.

Before my daughter died, I had always imagined that this sort of severe grief was like a guillotine... bang! Comes down the moment you find out he or she is gone, your head rolls off, blood spurts out of your neck hole and that's that. It's not that easy though. I have to say, after 3 years, it's more like a slow, flesh eating disease. It eats you from the inside out. It twists up your bones, wrenches your muscles, jerks and strains your nervous system and turns your skin into wax paper.

After a month of severe back problems, MRI, X-rays, etc., I was ushered into physical therapy. Turns out that depression and anxiety aside from the obvious fun, also create/amplify physical problems as well. It affects posture which, over time, puts stress on your spine and muscles... I've also been having headaches which I thought were due to vision problems. Not so... Apparently, they are cluster headaches, and they are often caused/amplified by (drumroll please)... you guessed it!! Anxiety and depression!!

I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and examined the way that grief has most likely accelerated my aging. My hair is white... my spine is hunched and sore... eyes are tired, dark and creased from squinting... Jesus Christ. I think I'm just now, 3 years later, realizing how tired I am, physically, from being so often in a locked and hunched position.

So... that's my goal for year 4: learning to unlock.