Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eva Destruction

D and I watched Whip It Sunday night. It made me laugh out loud and want to knock people down, but I am decidedly not the type. One of the characters had the roller derby name "Eva Destruction" and while I managed to enjoy the movie rather than consider the myriad entendre, I slept fitfully. Friends visited with their twins earlier in the day. I love their girls and know them and their complicated history, so I do not regard them as I might the nameless enviable twins that just appear out of nowhere all the time. I used to look at those twins wistfully. I try not to look at all anymore.

But I have no explanation for what I am feeling and why. I am tired of feeling like liquid, like all my structure has left me and I am a puddle. Sunday was a beautiful day and usually that is enough. We went to the playground along with every other family in our town (it seemed). The boy scout troop, ever helpful, offered the rest of their brownies to us. It being pre-dinner, we were responsible and politely declined.

While at the park, I was spotted by the wife of a friend of D's. Last year when we first moved to our small town, we all went out to dinner together. It was an unmitigated disaster. Okay, so it wasn't a catastrophic oil spill, but it sucked nonetheless. We didn't know the place had video games and we do our best to avoid them. So my son went a bit haywire at the sight of electronic games. I think we ultimately had to carry him out while he frothed at the mouth. But his behavior was perhaps more tolerable than mine. Imagine, friends, our first "date" (because really, that's what it was; a date to see if we are compatible as family friends, fit for playdates and birthday parties). The other lady was heavily pregnant and I blurted out our whole sad tale. I felt strongly that to know me you must know this fact about me. I felt that there was little more to know than the fact of babyloss. And she very nearly ready to explode! Suffice it to say, our husbands get together every so often for beers at the local dive. And I hate  feel embarrassed and resentful towards them, begrudge them their normalcy and all the assumptions I have made about their reasons for quietly, politely avoiding keeping me at arm's length.

There's no winning, it seems. I might tell someone and Eva's story is either received appropriately? warmly? but swept aside or the other person runs for the door. You know the desperate trapped animal look a dead baby story can elicit. Either way, I feel alienated. Alternately, I can stay silent and in some situations I have -- either because the context is too "light" or too many people are around (such as the neighborhood gatherings, of which there are many). In those cases, I agonize over the how and when and what of telling. She's not a secret. She's my baby and talking is the closest thing I have to holding. I guess that is why this place is so important to me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pick Up and Drop Off

My daughter and I have a 2.5 mile drive together from her preschool to our home. Lately on that drive, she has been telling me, every day, only when we are alone, that she is so sad that Eva can't come back. Every day. She said that Eva is her best friend and that she wants her sister. All I can do is validate and agree with her feelings and try not to drive off the road.

Her grief is new in a way. It is expanding and taking shape as her understanding of what she has lost is just beginning to dawn. As knowledge and understanding have spread their weight over me and become a general pall rather than an acute agony, I have grown accustomed to its constant presence. Certain muscles have been conditioned to bear the load, even as others have atrophied. But this three year old wonder of mine is just awakening to the twin she'll never see. She is just starting to map her life knowing that she should be going to the park and playdates and to bed at night with her other half. And my validation is a pity. It's meaningless and feeble, just as my mother's "no one ever said that life was fair," was such a poor substitute for wisdom or comfort.

My grief is new in a way. I have long known that Eva's death would be experienced by each of us in a way unique to us. I knew that the time would come when my twinless twin would really mourn. My grief for her loss and her sadness is like stirring a great cauldron, raising those bits that had sunk to the bottom of the pot and started to burn, nearly but not entirely, forgotten.