The Palisades were in front of me, “New Jersey’s Grand Canyon”. Formed 200 million years ago, they were named by native people for rows of trees, Europeans for fence posts. In the fall, the cliffs are blotted with iridescent blobs of foliage in photos. I feel like I have painted them a million times. I have never seen the Palisades, but I was seeing them when I closed my eyes, in my mind’s eye. To each side I felt the presence of my familiar guides, those who, on previous occasions, identified themselves with articles of clothing, languages I used to know and names to call them by. Warm hands on my shoulders. This where I stood for the scream.
There was a heaviness around my heart which I carry sometimes. This can be alleviated by screaming. My body was quiet and at rest, but my soul screamed. The answers tumbled through my consciousness. I was not screaming for me alone, but for all those throughout time who had lost and missed their beautiful children. I screamed for everything that had hurt across the ages, that is what hurt when my child died. There was pain from the lines of people who lived along the Hudson River, and who lived along my own ancestral line. We are all the same person, really. There was pain which surrounded my own center, and which hung heavy in the atmosphere. I had been aware of a similar fog last year, after my mother had passed and I had become sick. It had a mauve color and hovered close at that time, but now was clear and everywhere. Some part of the pain dissipated with the scream, but I had barely touched the surface.
Recently I was told that I was standing in front of a cliff, figuratively, and I had only to picture myself on the other side. This is the same paradox I have been living for a ridiculously long time. Alone, afraid, isolated in grief, yet at the same time more connected with the universe than I ever imagined. “Pinnacles” was the word Susanna gave me in a dream soon after her death, to describe where she was on the other side. “Pinnacles” and “kaleidoscopes”. The Palisades are a cliff, Susanna’s pinnacles are infinite mountain peaks. From her vision as I had been allowed to see them, mountains erupted in rainbow fractals, rays emanating from Susanna’s hand as she swept it across the sky and sang “Let it Go”. Still my baby, but she had grown to fit the shimmering ice blue gowns of Elsa from Frozen.
There is more to be said and written about our story, Susanna’s and mine. It is not just about us anymore. Mountainous, horrendous, and spectacular at the same time. Our story is everyone’s story, in time.