Back in the real world.....
The Thing Is by Ellen Bass
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air,
heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
I will love Ruthie Lou again and again and again. If given the choice to go thru this pain, this heartache but to also experience the love, the miracle and the blessing of Ruthie Lou then "yes, I will take you, I will love you again."
The morning after Ruthie Lou left us, I awoke suddenly with the weight of my dreams heavy in my heart. I felt such a loss, the pain tremendously hurting in my chest. I dreamt of being back in the world, without my baby, my child, my heart. The tears flowed without sound, without help. Chris came in, probably waiting for me to wake, waiting for the tears that he knew would begin the moment I awoke. We have had loss before, he knows my routine, my sad times. Mornings and nights, pretty much my bed makes me sad. I am safe there, vulnerable and free to let it all out, so I do. Chris and I came home Sunday, after spending one last night of rest at the house, one last night in Ruthie Lou's home, the home we shared with her. We got up the next morning, packed our stuff, packed her stuff and got ready to go. Before we left we sat out under the gazebo, my favorite place with Ruthie Lou, and visited with the dr/co-founder of the house. We talked about Ruthie, talked about life and loss and told many stories and shared some great laughs.
The drive home felt like we were returning from someone else's life. So tired, we could barely speak but when we did, laughter filled the car, inappropriate laughter will get us thru this, I am sure. Laughter is healing, too. Since coming home, we have gotten to rest, it's going to take a long time to catch up on all the "going, going, going" from the last month. I am so thankful our bodies physically allowed us to keep going, we were able to truly stay in the moment most every second for Ruthie Lou, our bodies allowed us that gift for her. Now is the time to crash.
I thought the moment that we entered our home that I would crash from the devastation of losing our angel...I am still waiting for that moment, I am sure its coming. But I think I am still "high" on Ruthie Lou, her love, her strength, the joy she brought us. I have my moments, Chris has his, thankfully they are not mostly at the same time so that we can hold each other up, but we speak of Ruthie all day, with smiles on our faces, love in our hearts.
I miss her so much, her smell, her hair, the softness of her skin, holding her in my arms but I imagine her here with us, wanting us to love each other, not be torn apart. Someone said to us through this mess, that Ruthie Lou did not come here to ruin our lives, she didn't come here to tear us apart and I remind myself that all day. I am not denying myself the emotions of her loss, I feel them as they arise but I just love her so much and I feel her here with us right now.
Before bed last night, I went to turn off the light in our living room and there was a ladybug on it, I told chris and he said that he had seen one with us the day before. She is with us already, she hasn't left our side.
Which brings me to this...
I have wanted to take some time to talk about the house that we stayed in with Ruthie Lou. I haven't mentioned it directly yet because for the 12 days we were there, the best 12 days of my life even knowing the outcome, it was our safe haven. We were protected there and we wanted it to remain that way while we stayed there. The George Mark House in San Leandro is an amazing, wonderful and blessed children's house, one of a kind. Please take a moment to look up this facility, (www.georgemark.org) not only to see where Ruthie Lou lived but also because it is truly a godsend for families of children with special needs whether it is cancer, disabilities, critically ill children, etc. It offers a safe place for families to be a family with the greatest support system of drs, nurses, child life specialist, social worker, even the maintenance, housecleaning and security are all such wonderful kind and supportive people. I cannot say enough about the George Mark house other than they are truly wonderful and amazing.
Also, we have had many questions about a public celebration for Ruthie Lou and we are discussing our plans right now. We think that a celebration for her life, the gifts she has given us is only fitting, I only hope we can do justice to celebrate her appropriately. We imagine there will be quite a large group of loved ones there so our first priority is to find a location to accommodate everyone...so as we decide a date & location, we will announce it for all of you.
Thank you so much for your continued support, messages, phone calls, etc. While we cannot respond to all of them, they bring us such great comfort. Please don't feel as though you are intruding on our space (as some of you have expressed that concern) I think that makes things more awkward. We don't want awkward, at some point we have to return to the real world and we don't want awkward. We know this is most horrendous thing a family can endure, there are no words and we realize that but nothing will make us feel worse than the not reaching out.
Your words are like hugs to our souls and we need so many hugs.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.