Friday, January 29, 2016

Grabthar's Hammer


It's windy in my world, which makes sense to my soul. The dust hasn't settled in my world, today.

I am often the calm in the storm of the lives of my friends - I used to joke that I was the person people would call in the middle of the night if they needed to leave an abusive partner, despite the fact that I'm just about the smallest person with just about the smallest car.

Except I've answered that call, many times.

I have stood by and made the important decisions, like photo albums and prescriptions. I have been the voice of reason when the 150 pound jade plant was the anchor that kept calling "stay."

I have blocked the driveway with my body and my trusty steed to aid the getaway. Driven tearfully into the sunrise as someone else's butterfly wings dried, opened, and prepared for flight.

Even when the phone doesn't ring, I often find myself speaking the answer on the behalf of others. 

Now, I play a different role.

Like you're right - there is no god, no sense, no rhyme, no reason. No right action. When a baby dies, there is literally no right thing anyone can do or say. You become a mountain of pain, dissolving pieces of yourself that used to be solid into liquid anguish - erupting regularly, irregularly. Spontaneously. Destroying anything and everything, like friendships, savings accounts, plans, futures. Pasts.

And that's ok. It is all ok.

The death of a child is not a survivable thing, and I say this as a woman who has experienced the next worst thing, a woman who can hum the tune of loss and grief but can't seem to remember the words.

A woman whose womb has never been able to catch and sprout.

The woman whose child has died is a living symphony of fury - an epic opera - an auditory hallucination that colors and clouds and obscures everything else.

A cloud of ash that blacks out the sun.

I've spent a lot of time looking through the green-tinted glasses of envy and jealousy as other women - as this woman - announced her pregnancy, celebrated her future as I tried very simply not to die. And then to see - to stand witness as the biggest gift in the world carves the biggest hole.

And the sun explodes.

People who say "everything happens for a reason" are people whose lives have never truly been touched by grief. It isn't truth, and I say that on great authority. What is true, maybe, sort of, if you want it to be, is that we can make meaning of the asteroids and volcanoes in our lives.

The deaths of stars.

And this is what I've done, in this instance. Knowing this mama in a variety of ways, I know several things. That if she were to populate a place - a realm - to send her child, she could only hand this child to the person she loved and trusted the most, her brother, his namesake.

It would have complex characters who play double agents, who understand grey, who keep things interesting, like Snape.

It would be ruled by the Goblin King.

And so while I know that Alan Rickman and Davide Bowie didn't die in order to be on hand for the great crossing of this tiny child, I choose to believe that this is the case. Because I am a writer. A storyteller. A finder and maker of meaning.

Because I don't know the words to the song, and there isn't a right thing to say. And I'm too far away to sit shiva, and I'm not Jewish anyway.

But I know the melody.

So this is for you, dear baby Josh, on the day of my dear Jon's death.

By Grabthar's hammer, you shall be avenged.

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