Land of the Lost


This morning I realized my son had drawn me into his sneaker obsession. It has been new to me, this situation of sneaker release dates and elusive rare shoes to be collected rather than worn. You can never have enough. Yet, I understand obsessions and addictions of any type. We look for ways to distract ourselves. He and I both understand that no pair of sneakers will take our loss away, but we cling to what might feel good as we go forward. We grasp for footing.

Once my boy had woken up today I introduced him to a television show which most American children and I had been obsessed with when I was his age. I have likened how I feel in the world these last two years to Land of the Lost. Like Marshall, Will and Holly I suddenly found myself in a world to which I did not belong and could never imagine making my home. Grief, shock, anger and despair dog me on the same scale as dinosaurs. The hollowness of Susanna’s absence feels like the widest primordial cavern. I have learned to scavenge for water and scrape together a hearth for myself and my family, also a threesome. We too have dropped through a portal and woken up somewhere we never dreamed we could be. We once knew the name for this world but not its eminent appearance in our reality. Land of the lost, absolutely. Yet there are more worlds than we know, right alongside us.

Easter is coming, again. Another Easter without Susanna and all of the memories of her last couple of days with us. I evade the thoughts of celebrating yet I will hang the egg wreath on the door because I know she is watching. Susanna is waiting for joy to return to match the depth and breadth of all the pain, or at least give it a run for its money. Spring is an eruptive force beneath the ground. It looks pretty upon arrival but contains the creative energies which shaped the earth. Nature has the power to heal and I will not stop waiting. I will forge ahead like always. I will forage for reasons to hang on and survive, because I have to. I will buy sneakers, because my boy and I have to go places. We love you Susanna, every step of the way.









One, Two, Three, Right Now

I searched for a file in my memory, an MTV music file. The song is “Right Now” by Van Halen. With Sammy Hagar, after David Lee Roth had left. The video is full of thought provoking bits of text and I have always remembered this line: “Right now it’s cold where someone you love is”. The imagery is of a cemetery, perhaps suggesting that “cold” means gone and buried in the ground, but I do not think so. I have retained the line for all of these years because I think it means that all people have their share of days where they feel no proverbial sunshine. Just something to be aware of, while you go through your life as a conscious human with loved ones.

This weekend is difficult for me. Easter was later than April 5 last year, and was two days before Susanna died. The year has come almost full circle, with or without me. I am still holding out for the return of joy and peace. In all honesty, I feel about a millimeter closer to peace, though I can see it approaching every day. In its own time. I can only speak for myself but I believe my small family is proud of having put one foot in front of the other every day, be it with great trepidation most of the time. We are still here, even though it is still cold where we are.

On “Good Friday” last year, Susanna and I went shopping together in the mall for spring clothes. I remember feeling a dull and achy anxiety and dissatisfaction that day, and for all of spring break. I had a feeling that time was running out in some way. It was. In contrast, Susanna had such a beautiful and peaceful day. She chose four dresses, two of which she never wore. She ate two large slices of pizza and brought home two bags of pink and blue cotton candy, which sat in the cabinet for weeks until they evaporated into hard piles of sugar. What she really wanted to do was ride the escalators. I taught her that day to count as it was time to step off, one, two, three, now! I wanted to help her know how to keep from stumbling. She loved it so much as a game that we did it over and over. When I ride escalators now, I try to remember to count as I get off, and to feel her hand. It is hard to have a quiet enough mind to remember, right now, but sometimes I do.

Springing Eternal

Easter has been my favorite holiday for a long time. I am not a Christian, I glean wisdom and love from a few different religions but practice none in particular. For me it is the nature holiday of the equinox and the return of life from under the ice, resurrection. Besides matters of weather and new life sprouting, I love colored eggs and blobs of candy dusted in colored sugar, baskets of shiny faux grass, dipping eggs in cups of vinegar scented water with magic paint tablets. Spring is the very beginning of the fair days and everything good to come.

This year I have entered spring with a lot of fear and anxiety. I can recall every last detail of last Easter, the days leading up to when Susanna left us. Every event, article of clothing, words said. I am far from healed and these days are always with me. I try to make sense of what happened and understand her death as our destiny, because I know it is. At this point I sort things through by allowing the pain rather than denying it. It hurts. Not just on April 22, my life hurts. This is not a problem to solve but a situation which is not as strong as my spirit and my love, even on a day when it feels like it is.

I entertained the idea of not doing anything I did last year. Not hanging the egg wreath on the door, or putting decals on the windows, hiding eggs for my son or baking cupcakes for Susanna’s friends at daycare. Quickly I can hear her voice in my ears saying “But Mommy, it’s EASTER!”I refuse to close out life even if I want to. Blank days and numbed states are what they sound like, but joy and beauty will stay along with brave choices to participate amidst pain. Whatever may happen from here cannot take my love away.

My daughter’s life lasted only into the springtime of how long the many of us live. I have not so far spent much time thinking about what she would do if she had stayed. It is not like that awful insurance ad people talked about after the Super Bowl, with the boy lamenting everything his life would have been had he not died. Instead I am always hungry to know what she is doing on the other side. I get glimpses when I am able to be quiet enough to see and hear. From my mind only I can remember what her crying or struggling sounded like while she was here, but my heart only picks up soothing encouragement and a slew of divine giggles. Grieving parents will be able to tell you that they live in two worlds. I no longer feel comforted when people say things like “everything is exactly as it is supposed to be.” This only reminds me of more innocent times when I did not have to live this earth life without one of my children. But taken a step further into cosmic eternal time, I know that I can look forward to seeing how there was a plan and everyone survived. I will feel like I do when I dream Susanna is with me. A feeling of together which does not end upon awakening, but just springs eternal.

Susanna on Easter, 2013
Susanna on Easter, 2013