Two thousand eighteen
I started crying as I logged into my admin page for Writings for Sylvia just now. It isn't that I don't mean to write as often, its that time is different now. My lack of writings I know has bottled up and tumbled out periodically on my Instagram but the hard, tears falling on the keyboard, exhausted sigh with completion work that usually I am able to put into my entries is energy that moves me. It is heart work. It is therapy. And it is exhaustingly comforting. I remember so vividly sitting down to write my first entry, thirteen days after Sylvia was born. I remember thinking that what I was starting was something I never wanted to put down because this, whatever this was, was a part of her. I don't look like the mother of a daughter. I can't hold her hand, teach her new things, learn her quirks, talents, and sense of humor. I don't have the year and a half of experience raising a little girl, hearing her cries, feeling her hugs and seeing her smiles. What I have are the emotions, the memories and the human connection that I am able to put into words. When I don't write I feel guilty and when I feel guilty, I avoid. I tell myself I can't go there emotionally right now because this and this and that all need to get done. But today I stopped myself from the forward momentum of my daily tasks for a reason that I don't quite know. You need to write, I told myself. So here I am, sobbing as I type this.
Sylvia was cremated and sits on a shelf next to our bed in the urn that Carlos made. On holidays or celebrations, we take her with us and she always has a special place that she sits and watches. We have taken her on trips even, when Leo was four weeks old we went across the state to my sisters for a long weekend and she came with, tucked in a bag. When Carlos and I go out of town and we are not able to bring her, we take her over to my parents where she sits in their living room, warm, loved and surrounded by family. Every morning when I wake Leo up from the bassinet that is just a couple feet away from where she sits, we tell her good morning. I talk about her as often as I can to him and in any conversation or passing thought that contains my children, both are always mentioned because the guilt I would have if she were left out would strangle me. The reality of these things nearly crushes me when I pause long enough to think about it rather than going through the motions. If I could describe physically what a broken heart feels like to me, it would be that the very back of my throat feels like its being pulled down through a pit in my stomach. It feels like my core is empty and dark but heavy.
Leo will be four months old next week. This year, only a month in, has been conflicting. We are starting another year without Sylvia. This will be the year we celebrate her second birthday. It will be the year that her sibling turns one. There is something so blindly raw about the first time you experience something that almost makes it seem like the second, third, and forever else time shouldn't be so bad. The extended support system outside of family and close friends sometimes doesn't feel as strong because you should 'be over it', you should 'know what to expect', you should 'be better prepared', you should 'not be as sad'. But that thought process simply isn't true. Finishing out another year without her is terrifying, heartbreaking and a huge reminder that this is the pattern of the rest of our lives.
For this new year I am planning on having scheduled time to devote to writing not only because it connects me with my daughter and other families experiencing the same heartbreaking reality but because my heart and my head desperately need it. Happy new year friends. xo