Monday, January 23, 2012


There are times in life you can prepare for the road ahead, and times when you wake up standing waist high in a pool of water.  Shapeless and thick, grief coats our brain and body with a black film impossible to cleanse.  It lingers.  And drowns.  Then suddenly disappears.  Only to strike again when you are boiling water for tea or jotting down notes for the grocery store.

There are some flashes of grief that will never go away.  Permanently etched – a dear friend in college who lost her grandmother, body bent over suitcase, tears quietly carving lines in skin.  My grandfather, wheelchair bound, gray suit and pale eyes, the front row of his wife’s funeral.  The stillness of my grandmother’s kitchen after she passed away.

The only thing I have pinpointed about grief is that children, mostly, are immune.  They feel loss, and their eyes can mirror sorrow, but they keep onward.  Between scoops of mac-n-cheese, "Mommy, why did Great Granpa have to go to heaven?" Again while brushing her teeth.  Yet again while stooping to pick dry cereal off the floor.  She plays it on repeat, revealing her song sparingly… while searching for a book under her bed, or drawing a kitten with a heart-shaped mouth.  But her world never really changes, bouts of grief scattering quickly like sparrows in the sky.

We all loose souls, it's part of living.  Last week, we lost my grandfather.  Sometimes there aren’t words to express the love or memories, just earthly aggravation with the death that consumes.  Emotionally, spiritually, I bow to death’s heavenly promise, but I cannot help be frustrated by its thinness.  Translucence.  Like a summer screen veiling one world from the next.  Today I am covered in mesh marks from pressing endlessly.   Missing.  And wanting to see in.

Monday, January 16, 2012

{Preview} Three

In the past few weeks I have awoken to tiny voices in the night, like ghost cries in the shower - echoes, faint, trailing.  I have found myself dazed at one a.m., barefoot in the hallway, listening for a newborn.  It’s nothing really, I tell myself.  And I don’t want another baby.  I’m not patient enough, miserable at pregnancy, and more times than not, painfully inadequate at handling the children I already have. 

Yet I am so intrigued by three and the mother who can handle it.  What is the magic she bares?  The internal dose of pale blue calm she centers herself on again and again?  How do I get that?  Like Missy:  freckled, perennially sunned, ageless.  Unflappable.  A workhorse:  forever going, doing, making, creating.  The kind of mom you want to buy hours off of.  And, she has three.  A breathtaking trio of pouty lips and cerulean eyes, porcelain skin and ink swept lashes. I photographed the baby, Lucy, last spring at four weeks, then this fall shot all three.  They plopped in the grass, a rambling little river of girl, and had me.  Had me thinking.  Three.  How very, very sweet.  Perhaps.

Perhaps, but mostly, I remain scrambled, and in awe.  Repeatedly scrolling through batches of photos like these, adding up the small, beautiful bodies – one, two, three.  Searching big round baby eyes like Lucy’s hoping for an answer, or the courage to scrape together my own.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


It was a week where the smell of tomato sauce brought me to age five, blue TV burbling, small elbows on plastic placemats - my grandmother’s kitchen table.  A week where I stumbled upon the pajamas I wore Christmas Eve twenty years ago, only to sleep in my childhood bed, chestnut-headed daughter flush to my side.  It was a week of neck-high swimming in joy and exhaustion, memories and moments zagging my heart with deep reaching stitches.  Sometimes with things I’d prefer to forget.  Others to play on repeat.  Like our old dog, dappled in light beneath the tree.  My mother’s hands carefully peeling grapefruit, small children in her lap, cancer no longer banging upon her door.  I wonder what our children will remember and want to retrace over and over again 30 years down the road.  Will it be hand-over-hand cutting of butternut squash?  Tiny red wooden beads slung on the tree?  Nodding off to the rhythm of streetlights cutting the night?  How desperately I want to know.