Friday, May 31, 2013

Right Where I Am 2013: Three years, Five months

I get a text once or twice a week about getting together for a play date. Simon is a few months older than G, and he can say her name now and screams when we drive by their house and don't stop. They get along as well as all toddlers do, and they hold hands occasionally. I try not to fast forward 12 years in my mind, when holding hands is something much more weighty.

G's mom, and I have a blast when we get together, even if it's just trying to tame the chaos that our children are together. We share current town news, upcoming events, and our hard dead baby days. The circumstances aren't similar in any way, until you get to the picking out a baby casket, and how to tend to a grave you no longer can easily go visit because you've moved.

We shared the other day how we watch children the age ours our supposed to be, and try to imagine what ours would look like, or how they'd act. And how it guts us to think on what we're missing. I draw and paint butterflies for her, and she participated in Dia de los Muertos with me back in October.

And I know that if we didn't have each other, the move to this town would be that much harder.
When I'm not in charge of a my two year old and the normal responsibilities of running a household, I'm planning my next art project and what my next run will be. I'm surprised to say that running takes up a large chunk of my brain space now. An earlier post described my shame in forgetting a BLM holiday due to my anger in having had to miss a race due to illness. That forgetfulness is unheard of, until this year. I speak about Lyra, and miss her more than ever. But it's not always at the forefront of my thoughts like it used to be. I'm not sure if I can say that's a good thing, or if I feel like I'm losing the hold I had with that grief. I won't ever lose it all the way, if that scenario is accurate.

My running has allowed me breathing space to feel a sense of normalcy again. I'm a part of an online running/athletic community where we encourage, support and ask questions about whatever we're trying to accomplish. There are no politics, no religious questions or thumping, and for the most part, no one divulges much of their personal lives. To everyone there I'm just Rachel, a newbie runner who dabbles in strength training and crossfit. I've lost four toenails, my knee has been injured, and I had to miss my first half marathon due to bronchitis.

And it's kinda nice sometimes to only be known by those things.
I'm learning who I am still. Who I am with her gone. And who I am without now feeling I have to tell everyone about her. Who I am as me, and not just me missing her. I suppose the two are synonymous. Just like with live children, you have to figure out who you are, separate from just being "Mom". But it's never questioned that you are still "Mom" and your heart would never love your child(ren) less. So I have to remember the same goes for Lyra, even though I don't have her here with me.

I think it's scary to look back at what we've come through. I don't ever want to go back to that kind of pain and hurt again. I hate thinking of Lyra's death as some catalyst for change that could not have happened otherwise. But the grief and pain and my experience of loving her still caused change. And for the first time in a long time, the hurt is not at the forefront of my thinking.
Year One: Right Where I Am: One Year Five months
Year Two: Right Where I Am: Two Years, Five months

Add your "Right Where I Am" here.


  1. It is amazing how the circumstances of your loss do not matter when you are both just moms missing your children.

    "Just like with live children, you have to figure out who you are, separate from just being 'Mom'. But it's never questioned that you are still 'Mom' and your heart would never love your child(ren) less."

    Wow. Yes. I need to remember this when I worry about Bear getting lost in the hustle and bustle of life and his little brother. He won't get lost--my heart won't let him. thank you

  2. I love how you frame your different selves - runner, mama, grieving mama, friend, woman. We are all juggling all these things and always striving for balance. Beautifully written!

  3. Thanks for your thoughts and what is going on in your heart and mind right now. Sending love.

  4. I'm finding reading posts like this and Angie's so helpful. I recognise so much from both.This makes a lot of sense to me. x

  5. You inspire me with your running. I'm so glad I met you through this project last year? the year before? You know aside from the reasons we're here. And I know exactly what you mean by "And it's kinda nice sometimes to only be known by those things."

  6. Wincing at the toenails! But that is far from the point.

    It is interesting isn't it? How sometimes being a mother to the living isn't as different as you might think from being a mother to the dead? Sometimes I feel that I was all eaten up with learning to be a mother to the daughter who survived and being a mother without the other daughter who didn't that I entirely forgot that I was also supposed, and allowed, to be someone outside of either of those things. I loved your description here of being an artist and a runner and a mother and a friend. All co-existing alongside being who you are with her gone.

    I'm so glad that you have G and that you can talk openly about Lyra, I'm sure it must have made the move easier to have that kind of connection. I also do the 'flash forward' when I catch my children holding hands! Can't help but wonder who will be holding their hands and their hearts in the future and hoping that it will be somebody kind.

    Thank you for writing this post, remembering your beautiful little Lyra x

  7. Echoing what Mama Bear said, I love how you write about always being Lyra's Mom, even when you are other things as well. It's hard for me to not feel guilty or neglectful about that sometimes, maybe because I still want all that love to translate into tangible action.

    I am so glad you have G's mom and that you can talk and share and laugh so openly.

    Sending you love and remembering Lyra with you.

  8. My daughters death was a catalyst of change for me-- I have become a different person, it is almost like an awakening. But I would foresake the awakening for having her back any day.

  9. I'm surprised by how much headspace running takes up for me too, and not just the time actually out running, if you know what I mean.
    I am glad to have you in my life, both as someone to grieve with and as someone to be inspired by as a fellow running buddy.

  10. So glad that you have G's mom and running. Keeping busy helps me get through the harder days. Thinking of you and Lyra. I wish that none of us had to live in a world without our child/children. Sending you hope and hugs. xo

  11. I so get this. I feel like I'm in a similar place. To be known as the mom who drops her kid off looking a fright in her running clothes, rather than the mom whose daughter died before she was born. It's a bit of a relief.

    So glad you're rocking out on the running. It is such a vital piece of who I am, and it's nice to know people who get it--aren't just judging the time I spend on it as escaping from my kids (oh yes they do). It is, for me, a necessary piece of being a productive, successful parent and human being.
    Anyway. Wish we could meet up from a run someday and chat. You really get to know people when you run with them :)