the words for this post have struggled to come out of me this week. the emotions are all there--all at once--just like they always are. but the words have taken time.
Monday was the 17th. it marked this baby's 21st week of life, and that 9 months have passed since my dad's death.
it is possible for a person to feel incredible joy and intolerable sadness in the same moment.
a wiser person would not have chosen that moment to go bra shopping (again). it was a decision that could only end in tears. and in the impulse purchase of designer maternity jeans. retail therapy. it's a thing.
something about the 9 month mark really hurt. i can guess that it might have something to do with how the other big event in my life has a 9 month expiration date. waiting 9 months for a baby seems like an eternity. missing your dad for 9 months does too. it feels really long to say "my dad died 9 months ago". but the hurt is still so fresh.
when Nick was out of town, i had some precious, treasured time alone. alone with our baby, moving around and making her presence known. as i sat and felt her stir, it struck me how brief this time is, where i get to protect her from the world and keep her to myself. i only get to hold her close for a little while. as soon as she's born, she's exposed. vulnerable. there's only so much i can--and should--do to protect her from...life. from the minute she's born, i start losing her slowly.
and that is how it should be.
the thought made my heart hurt. realizing how limited i am in my ability to shield her. it's an ability i continue to lose as time passes. as she gains her strength.
but it gave me comfort to realize that she carries pieces of me and of her dad with her. she is made up of pieces of us, molded together into a person entirely new. she will be her own person. but she will carry us with her. wherever she goes. knowing this makes it easier to let her go. i will always be with her.
i read a poem at my dad's funeral. he loved poetry. he was always emailing us poems, or reading them to us when we came home to visit. we gave him a hard time for it, but the truth is, poetry gave him the words to say when he could not find his own.
the poem i chose was by e.e. cummings. [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]. it's funny--i never had a special moment with my dad surrounding this poem. i don't even know if he was familiar with it. but from the moment i knew he was dying, i knew it was what i wanted to say. i whispered it in his ear right before he was taken off the ventilator: i carry your heart. i carry it in my heart.
now i think i know why it had to be those words. that poem.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
long after i am gone, the pieces of me will go on living in her. the way my dad lives in me. she will carry me with her.
like i carry him with me.
it's a thought that is both happy and sad.
(proof that i DO make happy faces.)