At the friendship bench dedicated to Zoe at her school
In other years I have these posts written in my head long before the anniversary of the day you left us, but this year there just don’t seem to be any words, so this may be a little disjointed.
I’m borrowing some words from another bereaved parent, songwriter, author and musician Nick Cave, from the depths of his grief after losing his son: “I think I’m losing my voice… just file it under lost things. My voice, my iPhone, my judgment, my memory… isn’t it the invisible things that have so much mass?” Continue reading
I don’t believe in those five stages of grief. There are plenty of other theories around. This isn’t one of them.
Dear Zoe’s mama, in 2006
I know you know she is a miracle and you love her fiercely. But I know how you struggle every day with mothering. With getting it “right.” When your refluxy baby screams night and day and cannot get the sleep she needs – and you cannot get the sleep you need – you feel like a failure. When listening to her cry feels like the deepest pain, like listening to the little girl inside of yourself cry, and there is precious little you can do to soothe her. Continue reading
So far I have kept almost everything belonging to Zoe. I may not always. But when I go to her room with the intention of clearing out just a few things, I get lost in memories and end up putting everything away again. Continue reading
Zoe. One year since you left your poor, tired, cancer-ravaged body behind. We never wanted you to leave but we knew you needed to be released from this. I remember not being ready when they took your body away and feeling at peace when they brought you back home. In your woven willow casket, dressed in your favourite party dress and well worn sparkly shoes, surrounded by tokens for your journey you looked just as beautiful as ever to me; my sleeping beauty. Continue reading
“Have you ever really held the hand of someone you love? Not just in passing, a loose link between you – but truly clasped, with the pulses of your wrists beating together and your fingers mapping the knuckles and nails like a cartographer learning a country by heart?”
― Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls
I am finding words hard at the moment, so I have borrowed the ones above. For six years I learned the map of Zoe’s hands, and now it is a territory forever imprinted on my heart.
When she passed away, Lisa from Features Forever made a mold of her hands and yesterday the stone casts of them arrived in the middle of a rainstorm, a small parcel on my doorstep.
The first feijoa just fell off our tree. When Zoe was two, the autumn before we moved to this house and it was empty, I would bring her here to eat the feijoas in the sun on the front steps. Feijoa harvesting (and figuring out what to do with all the feijoas) has been an autumn ritual since then. we created many feijoa cakes, feijoa muffins, feijoa, ginger and apple crumbles and feijoa chutney together. The year she was having chemo I even noted in this blog post that she was living on feijoas and hot chocolate.
In a year of firsts without her, some catch you by surprise. This one is hard too.
That was a couple of days harvest in April 2011. Here’s the link to the recipe for the chutney we made last year. I chose it so we didn’t have to peel all the feijoas.
This is a picture of my day today.
Some days, I wonder if am inhumanly numb. I go to work, I go to the gym, I go to social events, I laugh, I enjoy myself. I even told someone I hadn’t seen in a long time that Zoe had died and was more sorry for how mortified she would be for asking after a dead child than I was upset at telling her.
Other days it seems tears are very close to the surface and always at inconvenient times, so I fight them, some days just for moments, some days all day.
Some days there is no escaping it and I spend hours lost in grief.