Throwback Heartbreak

17 July 2009

I got the message after leaving the bank.
‘Call me back, even if you think I’m in class.’
‘Is everything OK?’
‘. . . I’ve got some bad news.’
I knew it was her. I just knew.
‘Courtney’ or maybe he said ‘Arielle,’ ‘died this morning.’
Silence. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t. We knew it was coming. Didn’t mean it wasn’t shocking, nor did it mean it was an easy thing either to hear, or to know that it is true. The fair and beautiful Duchess Arielle the Golden had passed away.
He might have said ‘passed away.’
At that point the tunnel of oceanic sound fills ones ears and all other thoughts, sounds, feelings drop away and are banished beyond comprehension until we start breathing again.
But then, if you hold your breath, that is a little longer until you have to face the reality of life without her in it.
Going back to work was like walking in a fog. Waking up periodically, realizing what I had left out, what I had forgotten to do.
Trying to breathe.
Trying not to make any sound.
Trying not to cry while I was working on each person. On each stranger.
Go back to work.
Don’t give in to the pain. Don’t give up. Others need you. Don’t let despair take over. Don’t be Selfish.
Arielle wouldn’t have been selfish if someone needed her and she was capable of helping them. She’d find a way.
You need to go back to work. You could save a life today. You could prevent another death. You could help someone else to live a fully and happy healthy life.
Do it for Arielle. Do it for all of them. They need you.
Don’t give up.

 

 

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The Ebony & Ivory Ladies’ Breakfast. Morning of the Woods Battle, Pennsic XXXIV, Camp Ebonwoulfe. My favourite photograph of her.

The Procreation Question

We probably all know someone who has asked it. We have probably, most of us, been the one asking. It is a seemingly polite question that holds in its core the potential for horribly painful reactions, whether or not the asker ever sees the result.

 

“You just got married! When are you having kids????”

 

This happened to us at Sam’s Club just this afternoon. A well meaning relative, who hasn’t been up to date on our situation, as he is from a section of the family we simply don’t see very often, congratulated us on our recent marriage and followed it up with, “So when are the babies due? How many months??”

 

I spent the next fifteen minutes balling in the car before I could breathe enough for us to get back on the road and go to Wegmans, my eyes red and puffy, and the ache rising in my head.

 

He didn’t know. He meant well. But that one simple question is like a knife right in the heart. Even when I think I am finally going to be okay. 

 

I want children. I want them very much. And I was going to have one. And then that opportunity vanished in the space of a breath.

 

And I cannot hear the question of “When are you going to have children?” without at the very least a spasm of misery. Because I was going to have a child. I was going to be his mother. I was going to love him unconditionally. For all the days of our lives and more.

 

All we can say when people ask us is, “Not right now. We have a lot going on. O yes, in the future. Yes, we want them.”

 

And I know each questioner is trying to be polite. Okay, some are just being unbearably nosy and selfish. But for the most part, it is a simple, common question, intended to be kind.

 

I am sure I have inquired. I am sorry if I offended or upset you. I had no idea what you might have been struggling with, or what you wanted or didn’t want. That’s probably why I asked.

 

I can’t tell you not to ever ask. Someday, maybe I’ll be ready to respond without choking on my words. Right now, though, it’s impossible. Either I’ll blurt out “Well, after I ‘get over’ the loss of my first pregnancy,” or more likely, I’ll politely say, “O, not right now,” and wish I had a better, more truthful answer, that won’t feel like an attack. 

 

Just, right now, I can not handle it.

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