Elegy for Amy

Inside the Box December 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 1:54 pm

One of the things that gets me is her box. Sometimes, I walk into our room and I see her box and it just seems so … gauche, maybe. A little bit awful. Tacky. Everything that remains of her entire existence, in a decoupaged memory box with a green bow, like a place you’d store letters from old boyfriends or photographs of your childhood friends, except there’s an entire human being in there, and 6 months of my life in there, and an endless fount of what-ifs and could-have-beens and if-only’s. It shouldn’t be so tidy, or so overly precious.

I don’t open the box very often, anymore. At first, I opened it a lot, I would have carried her around with me if I could have without seeming totally insane. I wanted the box under my pillow and in my purse and really I just wanted her back but only that last part is still true. But something about her very alive brother makes it hurt too much, to look in the box, to see her pictures, how fragile and small and never getting any bigger, any better, any healthier, just frozen forever at way too small to survive. And then there is her brother, taking after his father and already nearly half my height, huge and robust and, well, alive. He’s alive. She’s not. Somehow that feels like failing her all over again, when I get out the box.

And it feels like failing her that I don’t want to open the box right now. I’m sure I will again at some point. I feel terrible about it, and I wonder if it’s okay that I don’t want to open the box. The one thing people told me with all of this baby loss stuff that is inexorably true though is that whatever you need, however you feel, it is what it is and that’s fine. It’s always fine. Amy is not more or less loved, or more or less dead, if I can’t look at her pictures right now. I’ll look at them later. I know that’s true. Still, I worry.

And that box, man. That bow. I wouldn’t want her things anywhere else, anywhere less pretty, anywhere less important, but sometimes it just seems so goddamn trite.


What Is Lost December 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:21 pm

This blog started out as a place for me to get all of the complicated emotions surrounding losing our first child out in writing. An ode to our daughter, to Amy, and to us as a family. And then it was a place to record the fears and ups and downs of the subsequent pregnancy after a loss. To post the terrible things that go through your head but can’t say out loud. And then we had a little boy, a wonderful, living son. And so this blog sits in such a weird space in my life right now; so many posts I’ve almost made and then decided not to.

Because I can think of no better phrase that captures my life right now than “my cup runneth over.” Way over. Like a karmic bounceback from losing your daughter, in the span of six months, we’ve had a living child, enjoyed several successes professionally and financially, and most recently were able to purchase and move into an amazing new home, a dream-home kind of home. The people we love are all happy and healthy and so are we, and frankly that’s luckier than a lot of people get. So it feels kind of … petty, almost, to write about being sad that Amy’s not here to share it with us, when I am happy and we are happy and so very blessed. Except for the daughter we’ll never get to raise, we are living a pretty charmed life. I don’t want you to think I don’t know that – especially since Amy, I feel our blessings acutely, every day. Even the small ones. And these aren’t small ones.

But some days, it’s hard to escape the knowledge that without Amy, there would also be no Levi. Either because he wouldn’t have existed or because we wouldn’t have known about my incompetent cervix and we would have lost him, too. To have a second, we would have always had to lose the first. If we’d been told that up front, would we have done it? Who can know, and of course that’s not possible anyway, but it’s still the truth. Without her, he wouldn’t be.

And so sometimes, even though I am happy, even though my life is lovely, even though we are so blessed – sometimes I am still sad, because our daughter is still dead. And sometimes people tell me that I need to just get over it, that I need to let it go, and maybe they’re right, but I’m not sure that’s possible. I see a glimmer of what we’ve lost in every little girl I see. For a long time, I thought this was because I didn’t yet have a living daughter, and maybe if we do one day, maybe then I won’t see Amy in a strange little girl’s skipping down the street, maybe then I won’t be jealous of every little baby girl born to my loved ones, and then finally I realized that’s not true – I could have ten more children, I could have ten more daughters, and Amy will still be lost, and I will still be jealous of those who have no lost daughters, and I will still see her, from time to time, in every other little girl, even my own.