I was so furious all day yesterday. And then so exhausted. And today I feel sad. A little empty, and sad.
The same friend I wrote about yesterday told me a few weeks ago that she thought ‘it would be good for E to have a baby girl in her life.’ Meaning once her baby girl was born.
I didn’t know what to say to that. I said something like, ‘hmmmmm.’ I had the distinct experience of feeling my mind go blank for a moment, a kind of humming in an empty space, a space out of which all the air had suddenly been sucked. Hmmmmmmm.
Moments later, I was outraged. Who does she think she is? E does not need just any old baby girl in her life. She misses a particular baby girl. Her baby sister. What could make anyone think that another baby girl would fill that hole? What could make anyone think it was okay to say that?
I am sad today because this friend is someone who has been there for me. Someone who rushed to my family’s side when Anja died and brought us food and sat with us and played with E when we couldn’t and called everyday for weeks and still sends messages every 14th. But even she does not see – does not truly understand – that Anja was real. That she was a real baby, my real daughter, E’s (and now M’s) real sister. That nothing replaces her. Nothing fills the space she left in our lives. If she can’t see this, who will? I imagine: if someone came and took her brand new baby away from her today and then said, don’t worry, one of your friends will have a baby soon, so you’ll still have one ‘in your life,’ how would she react? But this will never happen to her and she will never know. Just like she can now say she made the right decision ignoring that OB’s advice.
Yesterday, in my fury, I berated myself for not having had a funeral for Anja. I wished we’d had an open casket and that I’d forced every person I know – every friend and family member – to stand in front of that open casket and stare at my daughter for a minimum of five minutes each. I wished I’d made them touch her skin, pick her up and hold her weight in their arms. Could they deny her realness then? I thought about the email I’d sent after she died and how I’d said in the email that she was tiny. Babies are tiny, but oh how I wish I never used that word to describe her, because now I feel it denied her substance, it let people off the hook, gave them a way to diminish our loss and hers: the absolute loss of a real child’s life.
I am determined now more than ever to find someone to draw a portrait of her. I want every single person who walks into my home to have see her. To have to face the fact of her, the beauty of her, the absolute fucking tragedy of her life and death.