Saturday, October 18, 2008

remember that Jonathan Tropper quote i posted earlier....?

In blogging, my posts are not always good or happy or interesting or smart or funny or correct or snide. But as I look back at some of my earlier posts, I find that the most tragic event in my life was losing my only child. During this time, I wrote myself out of sadness, depression, craze, hurt and respectful reproach towards God. I wrote poems, short stories and other longer literature during this crisis. It helped; it helps. Losing a child is so severe to one's existence that at times, you no longer desire to exist.

I remember my great grandmother who did everything possible for me when I was growing up. She fed me well, cooked me three meals when I stayed with her; she taught me to sew, to plait, plant; she dressed me in nice clothes from Dillards and other at the time, fancy, stores like Stripling & Cox. I always had durable shoes, pretty shoes. Even my maternity outfits were top of the line and girls in high school marveled at me, "I know you pregnant and all, but you sho be sharp." Of course, as I have expressed somewhere earlier, that all changes when you have a baby (in my family). You are no longer the focus; the baby becomes the focus and rightfully so. Which...reminds me of an Asian woman with whom I crossed pathways 5 years ago. She was walking in a Davis shopping mall parking lot carrying a small baby boy, probably about 4 to 5 months old; he was sleeping. I was headed back to the bus from a long day of leisure, eat and nothing. I said to her, "Gosh, I wish someone would carry me like that." She said, "Now, now, you've had your turn." I have never forgotten her or her response and it made so much sense in a larger scheme.

They (my grand, great-grand, and mother) did the same for my daughter and even more than they did for me. Most of the time, Jenn was frilly and the happiest thing you'd ever imagine. With the little bit my family had, she was always clean, dressed well and full.

The time came, however, when my great grandmother could not do for me and that time was when my child passed. It doubly broke my soul to see her want to do, to help me with my grief, but could not. I'm grateful that my grandmother was no longer with us when Jenn died. She probably would not have survived it.

So I have hurt in the most harsh way a woman can. I can't think of anything worse, except one:

Working in a library...if you go looking, chances are you'll find it. Of course this is what my great grandmother used to tell my grandmother and my auntie about some men and their infidelity.

I think a blog should also include a show of vulnerability and truth. I used my mother's tragedy to pull strength from during my own loss. And when there came times that I wanted to !be! with my daughter, in her death, I thought of my mother and how, and why, and how again. She had been through my kind of loss, but so much worse than I will ever know or understand.

This is a part of my history I have not necessarily kept quiet, but just never have a chance to speak about--and why would I? My brother's loss was my very first experience with death and I remember everything about that day as if were yesterday. I remember sitting in the kitchen corner wailing in disbelief; I remember my brother's last words--I was bent in his ears crying deep, but low--the paramedics said if I didn't quiet down, they wouldn't be able to do vitals--so I cried low. I remember going before a grand jury and I remember that awful--doubly-- hurt of worry when my mother was placed in jail. A short time later, I remember my hair had fallen out in the back, just slightly above my nape because my nerves were so bad.

This was a time that would become my history.
When Jenn died, I remember asking God, "Again?" Both lungs collapsed and she took only 2 breaths in four minutes---there was brain damage---her father said. I remember telling God that if he could not give her back to me they way he gave her to me, healthy, beautiful, smart, an avid reader, an A B student, an alto singer, vibrant, a thinker, then I could not live seeing her any other way, disabled, helpless, lethargic, incoherent--I loved her too much to live such a change.

I find peace in my and my daughter's longevity and history together. We were so good together and had been since the day they literally took her from my stomach. I often wonder how her father must deal with her loss given he had only spent a weekend and 2 weeks with her in her 14 years of living. And even though her entire life was spent with me, I do get jealous at times because he was there at her side when she died--that's the kickass of irony. I was in the Colorado Airport, Texas bound from California. My father and I. I have been through that airport once or maybe twice since---it is the place where I learned my child was gone. I will never forget the look on my father's face as Jenn's father must have told him; I was persistent to take the phone; he then told me. I jumped up and down and screamed, in my father's arms, clinching---a coal black teddy bear my step mother bought for Jenn some years before in Monterrey, California. She had been hospitalized then for an asthma attack while vacationing.

I have always understood that these tragedies had nothing whatsoever to do with me or anything I did or did not do. The reality is that it is only those picky things we named life and its sister, fate. And from time to time, oh I'd say about every five years or so I cannot believe how I became me. Imperfect, but so very very well, healthy and unusually proud.

My mother will never heal and I suspect Jenn's father will not either---and--though they are both good people whose lives will forever reside in the midst of their respective accident and lack, they are forever cursed with an inability to sleep peacefully.

6 comments:

Spring said...

Aw, JM, it just breaks my heart. But I have always felt such admiration for you as well because of the way you live with happiness and hope, you are shining bright in many ways in spite of losing your girl. love, spring

Shawna Yang Ryan said...

Oh, Renee. I love you, lady.

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