Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How Can It Be?

When they say that the “stages” of grief are not linear, they are so right. I naïvely thought I was “done” with the denial stage and the bargaining stage. I went through a period, although I guess it was a pretty short one, where I at least felt like I had accepted that Hudson’s death had occurred, even though I had not accepted a damn thing else about it.

But the more I think about it, the more I think, How can it be? Yes, I know that she is dead, but really, what the hell does that mean? I think hard about what it means to be dead, and I just can’t get my brain to make any sense of it at all.

I look around at grown people around me all the time and think, How is it possible that ALL these people made it to adulthood, and Hudson never will?

I look at all the places her feet have touched, all the spots her head has rested, and I think, How can it be that she was here and now she’s not here? Every time I drive by the National Mall, I think about her running around with Bess in front of the National Monument at the Kite Festival and I think, How can it be that her little feet were just here on that grass, and now they will never be there again? We take Bess up to the field behind the seminary near our house, a favorite spot for walks, and I think the same thing. How can she not be here, watching Bess chase squirrels?  I see her sippy cups in the cabinet (complete with a label with her name so they could keep them straight at school) and her spoons and forks in the drawer and think, How could it be that her little hands were just holding those, her little lips were just touching them, but now, somehow, they never will again?  I look at her crib (we’ve finally started leaving her door open, although I don’t think it was a conscious decision as much as something we let happen once and then it was just supposed to be that way) and think it again. How can she be gone when she was just here, laying down on her tummy, snuggled with her bear? How can she be gone when she was just here, lifting her little head off the mattress and grinning when Bess and I opened the door to wake her up in the morning? How can she be gone when she was just here, standing up and crying over the railing when she was ready to get out of bed, then smiling and lifting her arms to me when I finally rescued her?   DAMN IT, SHE WAS JUST HERE!

And then I think back to times “before.” Sometimes they seem like yesterday. Sometimes they seem like multiple lifetimes ago. Our bar trip/honeymoon to Hawaii. The day we found out we were pregnant with Hudson. The day Hudson was born. Our trip to the pumpkin patch last October. Hudson’s first fun with unwrapping gifts. Our sledding adventures with her during DC’s historic snows. Hudson’s first boat ride on Jordan Lake. We were so happy. So carefree.  So innocent. So very naïve. How can it be that we will never be that way again?  How can it be that we can’t go back and do this over? Some way that ends up with Hudson alive?

It just doesn’t make any sense.


  1. Mandy, I do believe that you will never be innocent or naive again, or even carefree. That's ok. Those are states of being you can do without. But I hope you will be happy again.

  2. Last night as we were reading "Goodnight Moon" as we often do, I marveled at how Hudson could find the mouse in the "great green room". There were a couple I had a hard time finding. How could it be that such an intelligent, loving, curious, vivacious, beautiful little girl be gone "just like that"? How could it be that there were no choices in her dying, but a ton of choices are available to have children in our lives? It's so fucking unfair and so devastating. Mandy and Ed, I wish you some morsel of peace, some ray of hope, love to keep you going. Renee P.

  3. Just found your blog, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your daughter is beautiful.

    I dont know if you read other blogs but you might find this one therapeutic. Or at least i hope you might.

  4. Mandy, your posts are heartbreaking, sad, and beautiful. In them, Hudson comes alive for me, her joyous spirit is here in your loving words. You are courageous to journal through your grief. It inspires and helps others but, more than that, one day far in the future, you will have this record of all the precious moments that over time, we sometimes forget.....I am 64 and cant always remember things as clearly as I wish I did. Keep writing, write about everything, every moment. You honor your precious daughter in these posts and in them, we see and hear her vibrant little spirit shining through.How very very sad that she succumbed to that ghastly illness. It makes no sense. I hear you. Keep putting one foot in front of the other one hour at a time. You have a baby angel very close by.

  5. With a loss as big and life-changing as losing your baby girl, I'm not sure you will ever make it completely through all the stages of grief. I'm not a grief counselor or expert. I speak from my own life experiences and feelings as a mother. I have been fortunate enough to never have experienced a loss that was a fraction of what you have lost--but there are some losses in my life that I still cannot comprehend. Like the loss of my childhood. When I drive by my childhood home I can't believe that I can't walk in there and see everything just the way it was before the house was sold 10 years ago. When I drive by the beach my friends and I used to swim at on a hot summer day, I can't believe that when I drive down there they won't be sitting on the dock waiting for me. I intensely miss the time in my life when I lived as a student in Italy. Some days I can just feel it and I wake up thinking well if I miss the park by the church so much I'll just go there today. But then I realize that I am not in Italy but in Seattle and I have to go to my job and even if I hopped on a plane to head to that park all the important people who made it special would not be there. It has been 10 or more years since I have done any of these things, but they still feel so real to me and it's so hard to believe I can't ever do them again.

    I am fortunate enough to also be a parent and find it one of the most fulfilling roles of my life (maybe on par with being a wife to my wonderful husband). Every day I spend with my son is the best day of my life. If I lost him I don't think the reality of his permanent disappearance from my life would ever be fully comprehendable to me. Rationally in my head I would know he was gone, but in my heart I would still feel him everywhere and be unable to grasp that he was gone.

    I don't know how you are able to live surrounded by all Hudson's things. On the other hand I don't know how you could live if you put them away. It is an untenable position that no one should ever have to experience.

    All I can do is hope for you that the days will gradually become easier to bear. Gradually new things will come into your life that will bring you a new and different happiness.

    Hudson comes alive through your blog to me even though I never met her or you in person. I feel like I know just exactly what she was like. Her life and your story have touched me and I hope I will never be the same but be more loving, more attentive, more appreciative of my blessings. Those are two good things today. Keep recounting your feelings and stories of Hudson. They keep her alive in your heart and in the hearts of others who knew her and even those who didn't, like me.

  6. sarai rightmyer repoleyJuly 14, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Continuing to think of you both and hold you in the light every day. Your strength, honesty & perspective are incredible. You are so deeply loved.

  7. Mandy,
    I can assure you of at least one good thing; that your expression of grief & loss provide the greatest example I've seen for others who are experiencing loss. I am a grief counselor and only learned about your blog today. Your courage to embrace such feelings despite the intensity and rawness of emotion is simply remarkable. My thoughts and hopes include you through your journey of grief.

    W. Sturgis