(About the image: This is a sign telling the mosquitoes not to come in our house. “Can the mosquitoes read the sign?” I ask. “That’s why I made it a PICTURE,” she says with confidence.)
This morning as I rearranged my closet in the new house for the hundredth time, just to find a pair of socks, I spilled a box. Boxes in my house are interesting because they usually contain all the things that can’t be filed somewhere, that don’t seem to fit in an easy place – sometimes they bear a label that attempts to bind them up as if they belonged somewhere. I box them because I want to understand them, or at least, get them out of the way without learning more from them.
This box that broke open on my foot let go some of its usual, box-like insufficiently described complexity, remnants of life, odd ends too good to throw out, including home medical supplies. A pillbox with 28 compartments that was expensive. Gauze pads, plain and backed, two sizes, two different types of medical tape. Tiny alcohol swabs to clean injection sites for follistim or IL-2 (or umbilical cord stumps).
Four years after death, 5 years after IL-2, 6 years after cleaning her tiny stump, 7 years after fertility treatment. Am I ready to throw it out yet?
How many other topics are resting, sort of labeled, sort of shelved in my computer and in my other brain, the meat one?
My anniversary season ends tomorrow with the fourth birthday after Gavin’s death, one month after the fourth anniversary of his death. It’s as good a time to clean house as any and there are fireflies all around that house, reminding me that random flickering can be gorgeous. (Why can’t they sneak inside instead of mosquitoes?)
Here are some of the balls of string and broken clocks I haven’t wanted to talk about:
• Gavin’s ashes and their disposition.
• My daughter’s current attitude about our loss.
• All the observations I make of my child at the same age I once was.
• Bloggy content about TV shows, movies, and celebrity mortality and morbidity.
• Philosophies of life, learning, and faith.
• What I’ve done wrong and who I’ve hurt.
• My many non-blog projects.
• My paying work.
• All the really smart, brilliant, wonderful people around me doing the good work.
• Insights about working with social media for maximum bang and buck and deepest connections.
• My delays, my procrastinations, my pains.
• Stories about how different we are or how I’m alone.
• The day we went back to get Shortie an X-ray at the same place where Gavin got his scans (including the ones that were bad, the ones that were misread, the ones that gave us hope).
• How I’ve developed a health issue with every part of the body that matches Gavin’s faults, piece by piece and system by system.
There are others that I will fix up to show you:
• My hopes for the world, my fears for my body.
• Stories that you have asked me to tell about dating, about parenting, about rising back up.
• My big ideas about grief and my keys to change the world so we can fit better in it.
• Your brilliance and your shining light and how I’ve watched you learn from each other, how bravely you’ve shared (I’ll never use anything without your permission).
• Introductions to some people I have loved, dearly and deeply.
• Surprises from my child, and what I’ve learned, and what I look forward to.
• And it is only fun, I think, if once in a while I can preach, pretend I have the answers, and act like I think I’m smarter than other people. I’m sure those are the times I fool no one, but some of the ideas are gems, and some of what I’ve learned in life so far is true, and I know I’ve helped a few people, on some odd days, to find their lights.
Writing is, at its best, like opening a vein. Having an audience gives you better odds of responding with the right tone, the right story, but it has its own dynamic. Before the internet most writers wrote their first work alone and only met the audience and its crippling desires and pulls afterwards. Strangely enough most authors only make money after the first book, if they have proved to even have an audience.
Blogging is different, much faster, much less finished. Writing on computer makes it easy to collect and lose ideas and notes if you want to, if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. A lot of blogging is about stretching your ideas out for as long as possible to create the most impressions. I’m not sure I’m cut out for that.
Writing for you is hard work (work I’ve chosen and which I love). My voice turns ponderous so often, and sometimes people respond to the stuff that’s the heaviest at the time when I don’t want to let it out, and sometimes you laugh at my jokes when I’m succeeding at distracting you or myself.
Sometimes I’m contradictory. Occasionally I have incredible focus and a great idea.
But that box's contents are all over my foot. I have to throw some things out. The deadline is tomorrow. Which means, what, I start then, right?
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