We made it through the first year and beyond. We have a new baby who has brought us so much joy. Soon, we will pass the point at which Hudson will have been gone longer than she was here. The grief remains enormous. On some days, in some moments, it is still unbearable. And yet it has changed. I am reminded of one phrase from the Aeschylus quote Ed wrote about here not long after Hudson died:
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart
Drop by drop.
At the beginning, the pain roared, a ferocious flood carving its way ruthlessly through my insides, strewing debris every which way and leaving nothing unbroken in its wake. That I even managed to survive it remains a mystery to me. Now, it is more like water torture, the soft drip-drip-dripping of which I can’t escape, no matter how hard I try to plug my ears or shield myself. Left untended, of course, it creates its own hollows. Only it is more subtle.
Thankfully, there are many good days now, often in a row. There are far fewer bad days than before, but they still come, unexpected and unannounced. And yet underneath it all, underneath every day, every moment, is the drip, drip, drip. It never goes away. Even in my sleep. It quietly taps its steady rhythm until I have no choice but to pay attention to it. And when I finally turn my head its way, I remember. I remember the flood that preceded it. In Technicolor.
This quiet grief, the steady drip—in some ways, it is harder than the flood. I don’t quite know how to manage it or whether there’s any point in trying. The flood was fast and furious, but then it subsided. It took no prisoners, and all I could do was allow myself to be carried along with it. But the drip is so much stealthier. I can’t pay it proper attention all the time. No one could live that way. I have to keep living my life, for me, for Hudson, for Jackson, for Ed. But still it tap-tap-taps away, and before I realize it, there’s another hole to deal with.
And yet it is almost a companion. It’s like white noise. It’s reliable, familiar. I wouldn’t know how to live without it. And because it is my most tangible link to my precious girl, I wouldn’t want to.
God, I miss her. I understand why the constant dripping is a form of torture. Because it has no discernible end.