Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Struck

Good friends Sherry, Amily, and Caroline invited me along to Busch Gardens yesterday.  It was a great day with wonderful friends—I am, again, so grateful to be surrounded with so much love.

There were tons and tons of toddlers and babies there, many more than I would have thought given that I can’t imagine trying to tote a toddler or baby around an amusement park.  (I mean, really, how would that be any fun for me?)  There were so many little kids that to a great extent, they finally just blended into the background and I wasn’t struck every time I saw one.  For that is how I usually feel now when I see a kid, especially a little girl around Hudson’s age, at the store, in a passing car, or walking down the street.  I feel struck.

Even though I would never take a child as little as Hudson to an amusement park, I still keenly felt her absence, especially whenever we passed an Elmo display, t-shirt, doll, or poster, of which there were many.  In the few weeks before she died, Hudson had just learned the difference between “Elmo” and “elbow” and we would excitedly go back and forth between the two words, me pointing to her Elmo and then her elbow, her reciting and smiling as she practiced her new skill. If she were not gone, I would have brought her some little Elmo thing home as a gift.  How I wished I could.

When Ed and I were alone down at the river house in Belhaven the first few days after Hudson’s memorial service in North Carolina, he spent a lot of time fishing.  I fished some, too, but Ed, who grew up fishing all his life, took particular comfort in being that close to the water, in the rhythm of casting his line.  It seemed to me that to some extent, he was casting his sorrow with it, to be soaked up by the river, the trees, the birds, the marsh grass.  I watched him, so handsome in his fishing hat, sunglasses, and blue windbreaker, reeling in his line, looking like he was born on that dock, and for a fleeting second, I was awash with joy.  I pictured him, several years down the road, surrounded by our future children, teaching them how to hold on to the line and let go at just the right time to cast their lures the perfect distance.  For just that moment, I knew that our lives would be happy again.  For just that moment, I could imagine a future where the pain we feel now, like the little kids at the park, would blend into the background of a lovely day, where it would be part of who we are, but not all of who we are.  For just that moment, I was struck. But for just that moment, it felt good.

13 comments:

  1. We heal, remember, feel joy, pain and life...moment by moment. So proud of you for writing this blog. It helps me in so many ways. Thank You! Renee P.

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  2. Mandy,

    I love knowing that you have fleeting moments when you can imagine feeling joy again. For now, may your heart find moments of peace and strength to carry you onward.

    Much love to you.

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  3. After reading this I cannot express how much admiration that I have for you. Your strength and love of life is beyond the capacity that I would have believed possible in anyone. You will get beyond this. Hudson was so fortunate to have had even this short amount of time with you and Ed as were you two to have the time with her. This is love in its purest and greatest form.

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  4. One of the many great cruelties of what's happened is that it robbed you and Ed of the joy that you exuded and shared so willingly. Your generosity in sharing your joy so often lifted the spirits of others. Hudson did the same. She took after you in that. She was the concierge of St. Ann's, the master kiss blower, and hug giver. Our greatest hope is that you will find peace and joy again.

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  5. Beautiful thoughts, beautifully written.

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  6. You will get there, Mandy - one minute at a time. It is wonderful and comforting to know that you and Ed have such a strong bond. I continue to pray for you both in your healing.
    - Abbey (they gave me all these options for leaving a name, none of which made any sense to this ludite) - PS - Never realized what a fantastic writer you were!

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  7. Your words continue touch me Mandy...thinking and praying for you and Ed...

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  8. You are amazing! Hudson was so lucky to have you and Ed as parents, just as you were blessed to have her as a child.

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  9. kristina hedbackerJune 9, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    mandy, you are such an incredible human being and your honest words, they are so powerful and rare. you have forever changed me. thank you for helping me treasure every present moment iwth my children. it is all thanks to you and hudson.
    obviously you know how motherhood changes you forever... and how once you learn to love a child, you can love any child? you are my hero and if anyone can do it, it is you: to make one good thing come out of a senseless tragedy. i believe in you. you are an amazing mama. and you will continue to be so.
    love you even though i don't really know you in 'reality'. xoxo kristina

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  10. I wouldn't even begin to compare the tragedy and devastation that you're experiencing to the pain that I or others have felt. But I will say that the experience of loss is very human and universal and that your rendering of it is moving and eloquent. You have a book inside you, which is perhaps 'one good thing,' as your words give comfort and solace to the rest of us. Please take care.

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  11. Mandy, your references in two posts now to your and Ed's "future children" is so, so sweet and hopeful. I know that even though those children will never get to meet Hudson in this life, her presence as their big sister will be real and powerful for them.

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  12. I pray for the days that you are again "Struck" with hope and happiness. I love you.

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  13. I think I have similar moments and I think that you are right.

    I know that we lost our children under very different circumstances but I think that, two years later, I have the moments that you anticipate in your own future. G is always part of my family, always a sister and a daughter. Just like Hudson will always be a part of your family. But the pain associated with their deaths becomes . . integrated . . subsumed. .becomes part of the background as you describe. I can't quite describe it.

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