This is me, almost eleven years after my six week-old son died after heart surgery and brain surgery. Under that little stack of books is the scar of his catastrophic birth. It's faded now. I am two houses beyond the house I left for the emergency room. I am in my studio, where I write. At my feet is a freshly-opened box of advance reader copies of the book I wrote—not so much about him, and not a memoir, though it is, kind of.
This is a book for us. For you. For the day after and for eleven and twenty years after. Lots of people will bring lots of different kinds of reckonings to it, in how they read it. But it's for you most of all. For us.
I've got two big things to share with you today! Both are a long time coming.
The day we went live with Glow in the Woods was the first anniversary of the worst day of my life. I asked Bonnie, the first person I'd ever met whose son had also died in neonatal intensive care, if I should make a place for people like us to congregate. She said yes, and she called us medusas, which I loved. I loved the visual of all of us with our snakes. I loved imagining us all sharing tea as the door bursts open, another wailing wretch joining us, and I loved imagining us surrounding them. Oh, beautiful love. Come in, come in.
(Only we can truly look at one another.)
We found our first batch of excellent writers, and off we went. It is a few weeks shy of eleven years since then, and we're still here. This rotating cohort of writers and readers, coming and going as they need us and don't, ducking back in long after to say hello and send love, using the discussion forum to say what they feel they can't say in mixed company.
The first bit of news: Glow on Facebook
We've (finally!) decided to show up where so many of us congregate. We have a new Facebook group—a place to share the latest posts, host discussion, and curate fascinating reads from elsewhere.
This isn't meant to replace the lovely, off-grid island that is our website—but rather serve as an easier way to share what you like, to pass along what you wish the world knew of this experience. And to see when there's a new post up. If you're of the Facebook persuasion, join us over there, won't you?
The second bit of news: the Notes for the Everlost Book Club
So I've got this box of advance reader copies of my book. Notes for the Everlost: A Field Guide to Grief comes out with Shambhala Publications—the ethereal Pema Chödrön's publisher, and I'm still pinching myself on that one—on September 18, 2018. And I've got an idea thanks to my mom, a lifelong quilter with a virtual community that's just as vibrant as ours, except theirs has more fabric, more tea, and more cake.
A few copies of the book will travel the world—a care package of love and reflection and companionship from my studio. Everyone keeps the book for a few weeks, with enough time to read and reflect. Then add your thoughts for the next reader into the collaborative journal we're going to share—a place to jot and doodle your own advice, questions, answers, prompts, and love for the next person on the list—and as the book travels, it (and the journal!) will get more and more infused with community.
This is a special group just for us—a real-life Glow in the Woods in your mailbox. If you'd like to take part, all you need is to promise to send the little package along to the next person on the list, like a pen pal from summer camp when you were fourteen.
Fill out the quick form here, or comment on this post with your email and I'll get in touch with you. With a limited number of books for our club, it'll be first-come, first-serve. Be quick!
I love the idea of the people of this Glow community being first to hold this book. Some of you are in it. We hold each other, after all, in this world-crashingly illuminated mess. Facebook! See you there. The old-fashioned mailbag, with a book written to navigate life after just exactly our kind of loss: hope to see you there too.
With love and so much gratitude for all the heart you've brought to this space for so many years,