I suppose it’s because I’m leaving my job. I suppose it’s because I’m leaving the industry I’ve worked in for six years, I’m leaving the place that I conceived, carried my son and went back to after Gabriel’s death. I suppose it’s because of that I feel this need to return to places.
To stand in the bathroom I used to run to and cry in. To walk through the library I walked in that day it was raining, when I saw the statue of the beautifully pregnant woman. To walk through the city square, to walk past the desk I sat at. To sit in the coffee shops I have sat in. The meeting rooms. The elevators.
I am not the same woman, but I worked in the same place. I could touch the places I touched when I was pregnant and there was some comfort in reaching back. I leave this place where Gabriel concretely existed.
These places in their way sheltered me: the people who actively gave me comfort and succour and the people who utterly ignored my bereft-ness – they participated in my grief if only by watching it.
I don't want to leave
But you can't live for free
You can't eat the air
And you can't drink the sea
The new job is amazing. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s a brilliant move for my career.
You see, I couldn’t take this job if I was the mother of a living four year old. It simply wouldn’t be possible. I will commute, back and forth, to another province, 2 hours each way on flights – gone from Sunday night until Friday night. I couldn’t be the woman running through airports with a laptop case and a suitcase, with a child at home. I do not believe I would be motivated enough to live a peripatetic existence for a job.
There is a place in me that doesn’t want to move forward because it believes if I stay here long enough, Gabriel, that life I thought I was going to have will find me. Suddenly I will wake up, and the room next to me will have a four year old, red headed boy in it.
And I leave this place, I leave Gabriel, I leave all of those dreams behind. I face the hard truth: there is nothing for me in this place any more. I have gone as far as I can here. Moving forward requires moving on. To stay here would be to bide my time, waiting for a thing that can never come.
There will never be a little red haired boy in the room next to me. There is just me, with my suitcase, waiting to catch a plane.
So I'll join in the leaving like all of the rest
Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver West
Murray McLauchlin’s song I have quoted from, No Change in Me, talks about East Coasters moving away for work, and their terrible yearning for home. Grief, at least it seems to me, is a terrible yearning for what we thought home would be. As my career takes me further from the way I thought my life would be, I realize baby death means saying good-bye to unexpected things in unexpected ways. Have you had an unexpected good-bye?