Friday, May 29, 2009

There Has Been A Loss

French painter Émile Friant [1863 - 1932] Le Doleur (Sorrow). Le Doleur currently hangs in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy, France


We are preparing the children and ourselves to leave early tomorrow morning, a three and half hour drive ending somewhere past Los Angeles, to attend the funeral of Mr. Curry's Aunt Linda. I have known Linda for a decade, not well, but the way extended family does, in the undercurrent of some measure of intimacy, bound by blood and marriage: ' Your husband has known my husband since birth, birthdays and parties and gatherings and reunions, therefore you and I have a common bond. ' Linda and Jim, Mr. Curry's uncle, had four daughters, three together and one from Linda's previous marriage. All six of them came every year to the desert trips in Ocotilla Wells, the girls, Trish, Laura, Anna and Jaime, and their parents, Linda and Jim. The girls and their mother all had an easy similarity, outfitted in tight jeans and riding boots, slim figures and long brown hair. Linda braided their hair and rode quads with them and sat around the campfire laughing.

After a long, terrible year, Linda killed herself a few weeks ago, far away from her husband and her daughters, and even farther away from the person and mother she was for the years of raising her girls. The youngest, Anna, is about 21. The reasons why a woman would cleave herself from family and dive furiously into drug abuse and despair are Linda's to know, for our speculation only. We can only support her husband and daughters as they come to grips with what most likely is something that cannot gripped- suicide, a concentrated and purposeful turning from any and all help or love, and into pain. To imagine what a person must be feeling to take their life, with four beautiful children and a brand new grandson she will never know... I can only imagine she had an inner wound that had been held at bay in the raising and loving of her girls, and when the youngest was old enough, the wound grew all encompassing.

There is an blog mommy that just found out her four year old son, Ezra, has luekemia. And another who lost her son and wrote a book about it. And on, and on, as we live, unless we are very, very lucky, we encounter more and more tragedy in our friends lives and eventually in some way, in our own. At times the stillness of grief fills me. I will look out the window of my sunroom and pause. I will watch a bird or one of our cats or just the leaves of the large bushes up against the glass. I will remember my childhood, brief snippets of suffering that I still marvel I escaped from. I grieve my sister, who I have not seen in six years. I grieve for the child I was. I grieve for my Grandmother and my Grandfather. I understand what kind of hurt can cause a person to take their own life. I understand the blackness and pointlessness that can fill a person, unbearable.

I think about my children, each one, Dakota and his long limbed beauty, his newly shaved head, his incredible intelligence and deep understanding of the world, the sweetness of his nose, Ian and his sweet hearted tenderness so carefully hidden, his long, long eyelashes, the incredible brain that gives him A after A, Lola, her delicious 'creampuffs', cheeks, her sweet kisses, her incredibly infectious laugh, her endearing awkwardness, and this new baby, this mystery, this tiny life that moves inside of me already. And I will just shake my head. Because I have no answers. I have no understanding of how, if you lose someone you love like I love them, like most parents love their children, like a husband can love his wife, how you do anything but lay on your bed and wail, and wail, and wail.

I do not believe in God. I look out my window and think I only know two things about this. One is that I have a deep and unreasonable belief that life itself is precious and mysterious and that it is somehow my duty, simply because I was born, to make the best of it that I possibly can. I have always felt this way. Even then. Two is that I want my children to have the same belief , to move forward in joy and in pain. So- We may not move on but we move, damnit. We put our feet forward. We breathe in and out. We eat. We love who we can love as well as we can. We think of those who are gone and perhaps they fill us every second of every day and sleep or awake is the shadow of their loss like the great cancerous warning of an MRI, but in some kind of dedication- however faulty and ugly we are as we go- that can be the fine bravery and beauty of human life, we keep living.


anymommy said...

Your words are so haunting and poignant. I agree with you absolutely and I am so sorry for your loss.

krista said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
krista said...

hey...could you not post that comment i just left you? i'm sorry...i hit send without thinking and would like to give the family a little more time with their anonymity before i act selfish in writing about it. (even in comments they'll probably never see)
thank you.

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful post as you face such a sad thing. I recently heard Oliver Sacks, the great writer and neurologist, and when he was asked whether he believe in an afterlife, he said "No, because it would distract me from this life." Your post reminds me, a bit, of that. It's probably the way I feel, too, deep down beyond the constraints of culture and upbringing.

Amber said...

I'm sorry, I hope everyone can draw on each others strength and make it through.

PurestGreen said...

You could have ended this story in a mire of sadness and confusion over this loss, but you didn't. What remains with me is that we keep moving, keep trying to open ourselves to the experience of living, and love it despite the pain.

Thanks for this. :)

Robin said...

sometimes life can be cruel and the burdens are too much for someone who is just not strong enough to carry them. it is so sad when people are not able to reach out and help them in time. my sympathy to your husband.

Vashti said...

Sorry to hear about the loss. I know you dont believe but know that I will be praying for the family.
Did your sickness come to an end yet? I'm still waiting to see a belly photo!!!!!!!
Lots of love.
x

Anna said...

Only those who have stood on the edge of that abyss would ever know what a blackness it is.

Leaving is easy though, staying is harder.

Bee said...

I've had so many of these same thoughts, Maggie May; you express, so very, very well, the dichotomy of life. Always beauty/ugliness; love/hate; hope/despair . . . and of course, life/death. There is a mother at our school that killed herself during the Easter holidays. She has three teenage children. No one knew about her depression; no one understands. We all have such hidden depths; such buried pain.

I am very sorry for these losses that will affect your family like a stone dropped into a pond.

Another thing, too -- because life is so strange. Just before I read this, I received a letter from a cousin of mine who lives in California. (I've just made contact with him through my genealogy research.) When he was a child, his family made the long drive from San Diego to Ft. Worth, Texas to attend the funeral of his grandmother. On the way there, his father died in a car wreck -- and so, was buried along with his mother. (This letter and your blog will stay united in my memory, I know.)

You document "the journey" so sensitively.
xx, Bee

Badass Geek said...

It is always sad to hear of someone taking their life, and I am sorry for you and your husband.

Beth said...

The ability to go on with love and laughter – despite the tragedies we encounter – is a gift, one of the miracles of life. My heart aches for those who lose their way, who lose sight of this gift.

Ms. Moon said...

Maggie May- that is it exactly.

Dana's Brain said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Death is a bastard, no matter how he darkens your door, a heartless bastard.

I like your thoughts. I lean more towards the agnostic, mostly because I'd like to think I could see my Mom again some day.

Thinking of you all during this hard time.

Laura said...

Life is so crazy and sad and confusing. How terrible for her family, how can they ever find peace with her decision? I am so sorry for your loss.

Steph said...

Your title gave me a scare. I'm sorry that Linda felt she had no better option. She must have been in a great deal of pain.

amber said...

there is nothing harder to understand than suicide. in high school i had a close friend commit suicide, i felt bewildered that i had no idea of his pain. i felt angry that he could leave us all behind with no understanding, wishing he felt strong enough to let the hurt out...blaming myself for being so blind. i thought he was so selfish then felt so sorry for him for keeping it all inside... then questioning if he had just made a rash decision in a heated moment, then accidently pulled the trigger. my point is i will never understand, even ten years later, i still cry for my loss...as i am sure this womans family will. your words put it into perspective. thank you

Evangeline said...

This was beautifully expressed.
I am sorry for your family's loss.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I'm so sorry. I hope your travel will be safe.

Annie King said...

You express all your thoughts beautifully, and with truth. I believe also, that life is a gift, and we can treasure it, despite pain and loss; there is so much good in life to share and possess- we have a duty to live it. Hugs to you and your family.

Jason, as himself said...

I, too, have glimpsed what might cause a person to end their own life. But nobody can really know except that person.

I'm sorry that your family has had to deal with this, too.

As usual, your writing captivates.

krista said...

thank you so much for your accepting my craziness :-)
i've gained some time and perspective and (hopefully) am on the way to some sort of peaceful resolution with the knowledge of this type of sadness.
and i hope your family is on their way as well.
it's sad to think there are so many of us walking this leg of the journey.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Beautifully said, as always. I too believe we must make the best of what we've been given, even if we don't really know why, or how...

The Seeker said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss.
It's such a painfull time.
All I can say is that this also shall pass.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and left such nice note.

Keep in touch if you feel like it

xoxo

Love, Evolution, and Resilience said...

I am so very sorry. What a way to share it Mag. I can feel it. Saying prayers.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

peace for you and your family darling girl. peace.

Lola said...

I feel the same as you about keeping moving/living, no matter what comes your way.

So sorry Mr. Curry's aunt got lost along the way.

Erin said...

Regardless of religious/spiritual beliefs, these are words of wisdom. So sorry for your family's loss.

Miss Grace said...

((hug))

Lacey said...

This was beautifully written, Maggie May. You are constantly taking my breath away.

mieletcannelle said...

what incredible understanding. I read so carefully, hoping that this is where you would go. Thank you.

bellarum said...

Something very similar happened to the sister of a very close friend of mine a few years ago. She had two daughters and a husband and a wonderful home and career.

So much pain and loss in the world. Your words are wise and beautiful.

mel carroll said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your words and your spirit are beautiful. Life makes no sense and yet on we march. Please keep writing and keep moving. My thoughts are with you. I'd pray if I could only believe it mattered.

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