The solitary in solidarity

The solitary in solidarity

In my conscious attempt to steer clear of catastrophe, I had been focusing too much on the “how,” when it all comes down to “what” and the absence of “why.” That it is always a life too short, a death too soon, and the meaninglessness in between. So I visited Ground Zero last fall and this summer. For the first time in the four years of living barely an hour from it. I stood there in silence, daring to open up to the lives I knew were ripped apart that day. I allowed myself to believe that I knew every single parent, sibling, spouse and child who forever lost a part of their heart that day. I need not imagine. I knew.

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Life in stories

Life in stories

I used to think our lives were a series of stories; everyone talks about them as such. It's evident as people frantically search their minds for a spiritual explanation when something horrible happens; it's difficult to let something just exist as it is without reigning it in. We're a people obsessed with redemption in the face of adversity and great loss, but our life stories do not have a beginning, middle, and end.

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Fall from grace

Fall from grace

There were times over the last few years when I have carried my loss around like an old favorite coat. No matter how heavy it got, I didn't want to shed it. It fit, hugging me gently in all the right places. Someone sitting too close to me would be able to smell its foul odor—it was that pungent. Still, I refused to wash the coat. Why would I? The dust mites that burrowed into the fabric were perfect. They were at home in my old coat and so was I.

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Year ten

Year ten

Ten years later, I still feel an excess of unspent love—there is no place to put it, aside from into the air around me, along with the wishing, the longing, the dream of him. I still play with the active designing of my own afterlife: I die an old woman and revert to my 34 year-old self. I enter into a room and see Liam waking up clammy, whole, and gurgling in a crib. This is my daydream, my most divine and deepest regret spun into active language, a positive state. It’s different now. I can love him, forgive myself, and breathe.

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Birth, death, rebirth

Birth, death, rebirth

We see it in the flowers, the leaves and the trees, in the plight of the caterpillar and beauty of the butterfly. The days of the week, the months, the years, the seasons; all one pattern that keeps swirling. As much as I don’t want the time to pass, it inevitably does. The more time passes, the further I am from that moment when I kissed her little head and tasted birth and death at the same time. I lived and died in that moment, along with her.

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