Thursday, March 22, 2007

hic jacet


Not too far from my house is an old burying ground. It's a twenty minute walk, dawdling and windowshopping in May and a ten minute walk straining against the cold March wind. The gravestones stand and tilt, enclosed by a sturdy iron fence. A large sign warns: "No Trespassing Between Dusk and Dawn."

Strangely enough, precisely the opposite rule applies to the other graveyard, the one that exists in my imagination. I visit it only between dusk and dawn. During the daylight hours, there are memos to write, meetings to attend, phone calls to answer. I keep my attention focused, and, except for occasional small lapses, my thoughts stay exactly where they are supposed to be. But once darkness descends, all restrictions dissolve and I am finally free to wander in the land of the dead.

12 comments:

LeRoy Dissing said...

I love to walk thru cemetaries. I often think of what it must have been like for families to lose a loved one or in some cases, a whole family to disease. I imagine what life must have been like for these people...and it can make one appreciate this life a bit better and live it more fully. After all, we shall not pass this way again.

Lori said...

Even 3 1/2 years since the loss of our twins, I still find it hard to fall asleep at night. It's like you said, that is when we can finally let down our guard and allow our thoughts to wander.

Amanda said...

Wow, thats very macabre.

I know this is a hard time for you, as I have been through almost a 100% identical situation to you, but to be honest I dont think you are handling it as well as you could be.

I would strongly urge you to seek help. Both you and your husband (who you rarely mention - worrying in itself) would benefit greatly from professional guidence at this time.

Sara said...

7 years ago I used to have to ride my bike past a cemetery at night on a regular basis. It used to scare me so much I'd hold my breath and peddle hard and fast to get away from it as quickly as possible. I don't think I'd do that anymore.

Per Amanda's comments, I may be speaking out of line here, but I honestly don't understand what "I dont think you are handling it as well as you could be" could possibly mean. Not that there's any shame in seeking help if you need it. And perhaps, Amanda knows Niobe outside of blogland. But if not, I'm not sure our blogs are the best measure of how we're "coping" with anything. I have more to say about that, but I'll save it for my space - tomorrow since I have to go now.

Lori said...

Thank you Sara for speaking your thoughts in such a tactful way.

For what it's worth, I didn't read this post as macabre. I read it as literary, and poetic, and even metaphorical- as many of your posts often are. The "land of the dead" may sound stark to some, but it is also evocative. I could relate to your words.

I imagine that some people could read my Blog and determine I have not handled my loss well either. Here I am, over three years later, still thinking about it, still trying to make sense of it, and most of all still missing my babies. I haven't told any of my family or "real life" friends about my Blog for exactly that reason. I don't want them to worry, when I know there is nothing to worry about. I am healthy. I am happy. I am healing. But that doesn't mean I don't still think about my sorrows and losses and need to process them.

Just my two cents.

Katie said...

The middle of the night is when I allow my darkest thoughts free reign, too.

Re Amanda's comment: "As well as you could be"? How well are we supposed to be handling the losses of our children? I strongly doubt there is any "good" way to handle something like this.

Amanda said...

"As well as you could be"...

By that I mean admitting to still finding joy in ANYTHING in life, I mean having anything remotely optimistic to say about ANYTHING, I mean openly discussing her husbands pain (he lost a child too remember) and his support of her (or expressing disappointment if he doesnt), I mean being open to there being a bright future ahead despite suffering a loss.

Since suffering my 3 (yes, three) miscarriages I have deleted my blog and moved on with my life. I named my children, I grieved for them and I accepted the love and support of those around me.

For those kind enough to offer the same support online I shared with them the strength I got from my husband and sister as well as the hurt and emptiness I felt seeing mothers with babies all over the place.

I didnt make short and quite frankly disturbing posts with quotes about death and murder and eternal darkness. I certainly did my fair share of grief stricken ranting but I didnt make the haunting and poetic but genuinely frightening posts that Niobe does.

Sure we all grieve in our way, but looking back from a happier place (still no baby, still trying) I can just say that 100 words of honest emotional expression are worth more than months of carefully constructed pseudo-intellectual metaphorics.

And before you start with the retorts I might add that one of you also commented on my blog when I had my first loss and also gave me advice on much the same matter. Consider that.

BasilBean said...

Wow.

I just came by because Niobe commented on my blog and I wanted to say thank you for letting me know you are out there.

When I came to your blog after reading your comment on mine I read through all of your posts. I was moved.

And I am surprised to read not Amanda's first comment, to which the other commenters following voiced many of my thoughts, but the follow-up comment.

Amanda, why must you lash-out so aggressively? Not only do we all grieve in our own way, but we all express ourselves in our blogs in our own way. Our blogs are not the complete picture of who we are, or where we are in our greif (even that changes from day to day, especially in the early weeks and months after our loss).

Niobe writes in a style that is unique to her. Is it really necessary to try to tear her apart and make comparisons to yourself? "I didnt make short and quite frankly disturbing posts with quotes about death and murder and eternal darkness...I can just say that 100 words of honest emotional expression are worth more than months of carefully constructed pseudo-intellectual metaphorics." While you may find her posts to be "frightening" how can you question their honesty? Who are you to say that? And how can you judge her, because that is exactly what you are doing, from where you are?

If you are truly concerned about her well being, then why are you taking such cheap shots at her?

wannabe mom said...

niobe - i am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful twins. i wish that we had found each other under better circumstances.

your writing is beautiful and thoughtful. i am relieved to find mommies like me to help get me through the dark days. it is through our own expressions that we can eventually find healing, however long that takes. i plan to take a very long time.

pengo said...

Some find the dark thoughts are best expressed anonymously. Getting them out in this forum can help keep real life in perspective, or make it a little bearable.

We do remember the dark thoughts, don't we?

niobe said...

amanda While I understand your concern, trust me, I really am doing the best that I can under the circumstances. I am also, as I think I said in some of my posts, seeing a therapist.

And if I don't mention my husband, well, there's a very good reason for that.

pengo said...

Shyeah, get a clue, people.