"As we struggle to make sense of things, life looks on in repose." ~Author Unknown
In grade school we are told that “April showers bring May flowers”. In Albany, at this time of the year, at one moment the sky is bright and a vivid blue. The next, everything is gray and then the rain comes. Mud gets all over my good shoes and I spend the morning wiping it from the crevices of my heels. The next day it starts all over again. My brother was born on April 9th and from what I’ve been told, it snowed that day. So, there’s always a possibility of that. It’s just the darkness that gets to me and how we can be on the cusp of tulips and warmth only to have it snatched away by an afternoon rainstorm.
Maddie died in April. April 7th to be exact. Her mother and I were merely acquaintances at the time. We knew of each other’s blogs but we traveled in different circles I suppose. I met Heather and Mike one day at BlogHer in San Francisco when she came up to introduce herself to another friend at the end of the conference. The day that Madeline died, words ceased to come from me because babies don’t die. They can’t die. But she did. To be fair, I had spent the months prior wrapping my head around the finality of death after the quick succession in loss of my grandmother and then my aunt. But still, at 25, death was something that happened to other people and a far too distant for me. And all at once it was up in my face.
Since then Heather has become my girl. My woman. If I had a boyfriend, that boyfriend would be my Heather. I sometimes wonder what I would think of her now if I had really known her then as I do now. My heart continues to break for her but this is the only Heather (and Mike) that I know. The ones who have gone through immeasurable pain. The ones who have a three year old running around but an urn on their dresser. What I know now about them is that their loss has moved them and forced them to move mountains. My friendship with them makes me want to be better person.
Soon after Maddie’s death, Thalon died. That’s when I said fuck this shit and fuck death. But I tried to keep it to myself. Nothing bad should happen to babies or children; of that I am a firm believer. But there we were again.
It’s April again. How do you explain the people who support you and respond, even when expect nothing but silence? How do you explain to friends and family those in the computer? Friends? Acquaintances? The people who live in the box?
It’s April again and now there’s Dawn. Dawn isn’t a child but she has children. Dawn is sweet and kind and caring and has your back even if you could just use Google, she’ll tell you what she thinks. She’s good people. Dawn is dying of melanoma. Her husband wonders on Twitter how long it will be now.
It’s April again and my heart hurts and I cannot give you eloquent words on death because they are not there. It’s inevitable. It’s part of living. It really fucking sucks. How about those words? The process, the end, the attempt to come up for air, the attempt to move forward. Heather has told me over and over again that you don’t get over a death, you accept it. She says it so matter of factly, but she’s right.
I’ve run out of words, well, I can give you another FUCK THIS, FUCK CANCER, but that’s not helpful. In the end I’ve decided on this. Ready?: For every comment I receive here between now and Wednesday at 5 PM (I’m going away hence the short timeframe). I am going to assign one dollar to each comment. I will then split the proceeds of these comments between the March of Dimes and the Melanoma Research Foundation. I’m already going to give to both but hey, I figured we could make this a group activity.
Now I am really out of words. I just hope you’ll join me.
UPDATE: Dawn is gone now. She's gone. Fuck Cancer.
You can contribute directly to Mike and her two boys here:
UPDATE 2: 145 comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you.