Lucia's death ripped something essential out of me. The human connection gene, perhaps. The sense of ever feeling normal again. I searched for it. I mourned it. I just had nothing to say to earth people around me. This experience couldn't be summed up neither in a word, nor a groan. People tried to connect to Lucia's death by mentioning their own grief, or anguish, affliction and sickness. Their pain, though palpable, their suffering, though unmistakable, had none of the cadence and rhythm of daughter-death suffering. I had never felt so alone. So misunderstood. So self-absorbed in my pain, yet searching, demanding, a way to see another's.
I had been on a mothering board when Lucia died. First the pregnancy due date board, then the pregnancy loss board. And I just checked and rechecked that board.
Someone say something. I demanded at 2am, the soft blue light of my computer illuminating the tears on my face. Say anything.
I wrote her story. I thought if I could just get the facts right, the emotions in that moment, if I could capture that experience of having your heart ripped out then going home and celebrating Christmas, then maybe I would understand how to live this miserable life without my daughter, or someone would explain how to me. This forum was filled with mothers of all ilks who had lost babies or children. There were lots of hearts <3 and emoticon hugs, and lots of I-can't-imagine-what-you-are-going-through, and many many many references to my girl as my sweet angel baby who was clearly needed in God's plan. There were some prayers and promises of prayers, and candles or promises of candles. Someone sent me a private message there and we began exchanging emails. Her son stillborn three days before Lucia was stillborn. Those emails amazed me, enraptured me. Molly wrote what was in my head. Everything she said and I said were new to both of us. Going to the market, what people say, the feelings of wanting to die, but not suicidal. She mentioned Glow in the Woods.
At the time, I had no idea that Glow in the Woods was only eight months old. Glow in the Woods seemed eternal, otherworldly, wise, funny, articulate, insightful. A beautiful place with ethereal photography and the most honest writing I had ever read. This was what I wanted my grief to be, the home I needed away from a world that simply could never comprehend the death of my daughter. The forum wasn't used very much at the time (a fact that all of you know is very different now), but no matter, I read each and every post. I read the entire site in a matter of weeks and I couldn't wait for more. I bookmarked each regular contributor's website. then I bookmarked the sites they linked. I found my tribe. And God, I needed a tribe.
Kate Inglis founded Glow in the Woods in 2008 after meeting with fellow babylost writer Bon Stewart. Over wine, they talked about everything, and needing a place that was completely free from angel-talk. Throughout the next few months, they discussed it, fleshed it out, found other people like them who wrote in completely different, but important ways. This is how Glow in the Woods came to be—two grieving mothers trying to find a place full of marrow and grief and substance and beauty, a place without prescriptions for grief and healing, or euphemisms, or platitudes. A place where our children were dead, but not angels, not special, not turned into something else, but real children grieved for who they were, what they could have become, and all that they could never be. A place where grieving parents talk about how we live after this experience, about the ugly parts, the dark parts, the beautiful parts, a place where we create an even playing field here where we are all grieving babies. They envisioned this place of beautiful writing, photography, people. A warm glow in the woods that you might find of your long dark cold walk. And so, this year celebrates five years of extraordinary writing about babyloss, living after, existential crises, moments of beauty, connection, grief, alienation and love.
Throughout this fifth year of Glow in the Woods, our guest writers will include some of the original six writers sharing what life has been like since Glow, or what Glow has meant to them. I am interviewing Kate herself about founding Glow and her work and grief. There will be an interview with Elizabeth McCracken about her book Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination five years later, and writing about grief. And then there is the always extraordinary writing from our regular contributors and friends who join us.
As we talk about year five, I wanted to share this TEDx video of Kate Inglis discussing parallelism. She defines parallelism on her blog as "the phenomenon of communities of alone-ness that spring up around traumatic, aspirational, or creative epics." In our talk, which will be up in the next few weeks, we talk about parallelism, Glow in the Woods, her loss, coining the phrase "babylost" (Did you know that word was invented by Kate?), and other ideas that all spring from parallelism. We are alone in our skin, but we can be heard. We can abide. We can be understood. Her words at Tedx will resonate with you, I think. Make you think about this space in a way that broadens it. She founded this place of extraordinary beauty, and for that we are forever grateful.
Tell me what you think about parallelism and Kate's talk. Springing off of Jess' last post, what specifically has Glow in the Woods meant to you? How long have you been reading here? How did you find us? What do you tell earth people about this space?