I like to write. I write for lots of reasons. I write as an outlet. I write because I can communicate better that way sometimes. I write because I want to be heard.
I write letters. I write letters three or four times a week. I have written letters to living and dead people. Most of my letters are private. I say what I need to say because it helps my process. There are letters I've written that are public. One, I wrote to Olivia after she died and it was read at her service. I didn't read it. I couldn't. It still brings tears to my eyes to read the copy framed on my living room wall. One, I wrote to Bereaved Parents and people who love them, published here.
My friend Stephanie and I talk often about what a shitty club it is, the group of moms whose babies and children died. There really isn't a name that fits. There is a national group called Compassionate Friends and they have monthly or weekly meetings. But, the real name of what and who we are...that is harsh. For months and months after Olivia died, I didn't know how to introduce myself. She was very well known in the community, so I always said "I'm Olivia's mom". After, I would flounder and say "I'm, uh, my name is, Karen. I'm, umm, my daughter was Olivia." I couldn't even identify myself.
The things people say to people like me range from insensitive to atrocious. People wonder why I am not close with my family. Example: family member after Olivia's service, while the grave is being closed..."this was the best thing that could have happened". Luckily, I was too crazed with grief to react as I normally would, which is punch him straight in the face. Really? the best thing to have happened to my only daughter was death? I like to believe it was meant in the spirit of her suffering had ended. I don't know and I'll never know because I distance myself.
I also write letters for proof. Phone conversations can be denied. Sometimes, even words in color, in 3D, words that can be touched are denied. We are all good at self-preservation. I am Queen of it. My heart has been hurt too many times. I will hold that shit over you if need be, thus the written word.
I love receiving letters, too. We have a white board on our fridge and my husband writes wonderful letters to me. I usually snap photos of them before they can be erased. I don't want to forget or for him to forget he felt that way on that particular day.
I have a box of cards and letters from the days preceding Olivia's death. My friend Chris brought it, I believe. It was stationed by the front door and people who came by could write a note or drop something in there they'd made ahead of time. I pull it out sometimes and weep at the words and thoughts conveyed.
I know you are all busy. Think of my blogs as letters to you. I am writing because I want to express thoughts and feelings that might otherwise stay hidden. If you have thoughts and a moment, write me back in the comments or by email. I love to hear if something I penned, or typed, impacted you.
Here is one of my love letters from the white board. Maybe because he is a creative being is the reason I get them. I just know I'm lucky I do.