Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here and Now

I’m still here. And my Blogger stat counter tells me that lots of you continue to check in every day. Thank you so much. I remain ever grateful for that quiet support.

Until this morning, I wasn’t sure why I hadn’t been writing for the past week or so. I’ve had several posts percolating in my head, but each day when I think about actually writing them, I feel very heavy.

This morning, all the heaviness came to a head. Thanksgiving is next week. Hudson’s third birthday is a week after that. And Christmas is a few weeks after that. I think I have not been letting myself write because I was afraid that doing so might open the floodgates to a rush of sadness that I’m just not ready for. I am not ready to face it all again without her. I suppose I should be glad that it snuck up on me to an extent—less time to dread it all.

I am back in therapy and the thing I’m discovering that I need to work hardest on is living for today, for this moment. Not dreading Thanksgiving or Hudson’s birthday or Christmas or three years from now when Hudson should be starting kindergarten or sixteen years from now when she should be graduating from high school. I have no control over how those days will be or how they will feel, and there is no point at all in wasting my precious energy (and it is precious these days) worrying about them. I already know how important it is to live in each moment when it comes to my life with Jackson and with Ed—my sweet girl taught me that. And every second, every ounce of energy that I spend worrying about how hard some moment or some day in the future is going to be without Hudson is a second or an ounce of energy that I take away from being present in this life I am living now.

I know this. I know it well. I know it too well, in fact. But it is still very, very hard. In an interview on Fresh Air a few weeks ago, Joan Didion said that growing up in the west around a lot of snakes, they had a theory that if you kept a snake in your line of sight, it wouldn’t bite you. She said she feels the same about confronting pain: “I want to know where it is.” Oh, how well I understand that. As long as I just keep my eye on it, it won’t bite me.

There are two problems with this theory.

The first is that it’s just untrue. It will bite me whether I’m looking at it or not.

The second is that as long as I’m keeping my eye on the pain that lies ahead, I risk missing out on the joy in front of me right now.

It will always be hard. And like everything else, all I can do is keep working on it.


  1. I continue to check because I think of you so often, Mandy. How I wish there was a way to make life less hard.

  2. Mandy,
    You work at this harder then I've seen many people work on anything - and that is a testament to both who you are and what you experienced with Hudson. As you note in your "About me" below and right, this is a journey that never ends. So there will always be some day that sneaks up and grabs you in an unexpected, and perhaps sad, way.

    But one thing I notice too - and it's why we all love you so - is that when those days hit you face them square on, full of sadness, anger, frustration and fear. And they almost never - at least based on your words here - turn out the way you thought they would. Sometimes worse, often better or at least as good. That too is Hudson's gift to her mama, and such a precious and sweet gift it is.

  3. It's always good to hear from you, Mandy. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you, and I know that I'm one of many. May you continue to find the strength to focus on the joy in front of you.

  4. Such amazing wisdom, Mandy. Thanks for sharing it. Your truth about staring down the pain and its limits is bouncing around in my head...

    Thanks for the gift.

  5. You are amazing. You, Ed, and Jackson are so lucky to have each other and Hudson to bolster you as the wall of pain hits.

    One foot in front of the other. Know that tons of us out here are pulling for you,

  6. Thinking of you every day!


  7. Oh Mandy. Even though I was never lucky enough to meet Hudson in person, I do think of your daughter so very often. I'm so sorry that you are without her, sometimes I think that the trick is not to look to far ahead so I can trick myself that it isn't really that long, that future ahead of me that doesn't have my daughter in it. And it's hard not to be focusing on those snakes, that will bite whether we are looking or not, but looking at the joy right here. Thinking of you xo

  8. Mandy, how this resonates with me. Grief not only steals what could have been, it tries to steal what is as well. It's a daily struggle to love, live, and appreciate the amazing blessings that I still have.

    Thanks for your writing.

  9. It sounds terribly hard. It's difficult not to think of all the would-bes when you've been robbed of someone so precious. I think you deserve more credit than you are giving yourself; you're doing a lot of hard, hard work every day as you continue your journey through grief.

  10. You are doing the best you can day by day, moment by moment. Thinking of you and Hudson all the time... xo

  11. My dear dear Mandy,

    Oh how I get the grief. I also get, now, finally, how you carefully and thoughtfully wrote me on my own blog about the loss of your first marriage. I am recovering, and now that I am finally over that huge, first hump, I do see the difference between losing a child and losing a lover / friend. In some ways, it's the same. And in so many many other ways, it's different.

    What I do hear in you that I can completely hold onto and feel are the anniversaries, the holidays, the reminders. While losing my marriage is still so so so surreal, I am healing now. Finally. I'm glad too. I have to live life again. It's hard at times. But as you said in your sweet comment on my blog, had I not lost my first love, I would not have made room for the one to follow.

    Anyway, I think of you often. I pray for you, even tho I'm not entirely certain you are a spiritual woman. I don't mean any offense by that. I don't hear you comment on God or your faith in him. Regardless, I pray for you, for your husband, for your daughter, for your son.

    I was listening to Griffin House lately. I bought the album originally b/c of the song, "The man who says goodbye to you is out of his mind".... it serves me well. :)

    The songs are mellow, rooted in hometown melodies and lyrics.

    Most are love songs, at best.

    And there is this one love song. It's a man singing to his girl.... and the more I listened to it, the more I thought of you. So check it out. I thought it was a sweet love song to Hudson, sung by you... or her daddy.

    This is the live version. Mostly I listen to the album version, but this one is nice too.

    Please, I hope you can continue to write, continue to live, continue to heal, continue to seek....

    Respond if you can.

    With love,


  12. Thinking about you and your family as you enter the second holiday season without your Hudson.