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LJI 11 Week 2: Stay

This is my entry for Week 2 of LJ Idol, Season 11 ([Bad username: http://www.therealljidol.com]. This week's topic is "Living rent-free in your head."

Cradling his too-small body in my arms, I suspected something wrong about this tactile memory. Like a real-life flashback, I held his still form, stroked his oversized alien head. Only a moment before, I had been in a doctor's office, learning disturbing information. He reminded me that before I'd had my son, I'd had a miscarriage and lost a boy.

"Why don't I remember it?" I demanded.

His answer seemed too easy. "Because you got pregnant again so soon afterwards and carried that child to term."

None of it made sense, until I awoke and realized whose dream I'd been having. For several years, since her death, I've been slowly turning into my mother.

20191004_102848
Me in October 2019, wearing a pink shirt and looking a bit sad


IMG_6883-edit
My mom in December 2013, wearing pink. Those blue eyes, that smile. I see me.

The boy had a name: James. And though he'd only grown inside my mother for about six to eight weeks -- the size of a fingernail, she told me -- I'd always been fascinated by him. My mother got pregnant with me only a short time after the miscarriage. He was the boy who died so that I might live, because if he'd been carried to term, I never would have existed.

For years, I felt my ghostly older brother following me: a protective presence just behind my left shoulder. Once, on a magical night in college, walking through dark trees on a shortcut to my apartment, I thought I glimpsed a being of light, like an outline, behind me. A benevolent young man, slightly older than me.

"Hello, James," I'd said.

I haven't thought of him for years.

In these days since Mom's sudden exit, I've traversed grieving passages -- from sleepless weeping to more normal routines. Always, she lurks beneath surfaces: sometimes, a bon mot she shared with me, sometimes the desire to photograph scenes she would have painted in bright, impossible colors.

Only now I'm realizing the impact of these last several years. I've eaten so much grief I see her in the mirror: from those last days when my sister, brother and I tried to push her past her knee pains to get healthier. I've caught myself biting my lip in thought, the way she did so often.

For months, initially, she'd come to me in sleep, exactly as she'd been. Too painful, upon waking, to remember her gone. So at last, in slumber, I told her, "You're dead!" as one might tell a pesky child.

"I know," she said, sounding hurt. "But I wanted to see how you're doing."

Nothing will ever be the same, I wanted to tell her, hugging her close.

Comments

( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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bleodswean
Oct. 7th, 2019 09:47 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I know this, I know this. I love how you see yourself in your mother. *hugs*
alycewilson
Oct. 7th, 2019 10:03 pm (UTC)
I hate that you have to know what this feels like, too. I'm reminded of how my mom changed after my Nana died, and how I couldn't understand it at the time. (And how Nana csme to me in dreams until I stopped running away from her, telling me to tell Mom she was OK).
(no subject) - bleodswean - Oct. 7th, 2019 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Oct. 8th, 2019 12:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
millysdaughter
Oct. 8th, 2019 04:14 am (UTC)
**hugs**
I need to talk to my mommy
alycewilson
Oct. 8th, 2019 12:00 pm (UTC)
Yes! As often as you can.
(no subject) - millysdaughter - Oct. 9th, 2019 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
sweeny_todd
Oct. 8th, 2019 08:48 am (UTC)
so much sadness. And lot of love too. *hugs*
alycewilson
Oct. 8th, 2019 12:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Much appreciated.
adoptedwriter
Oct. 8th, 2019 11:48 am (UTC)
I still have The Mothership, but I know this with my dad, aunt and 2 grandmas. Hugs...I also had a "James", and MermaidFan would not be here probably had it not happened. Hugs Very relatable. What a great pic of your mom too. I see the resemblance!
alycewilson
Oct. 8th, 2019 11:56 am (UTC)
The funny thing about the resemblance is that my whole life, people told me I looked more like my Dad. And I really see the resemblance to him, especially in my nose. But after Mom died, I befriended some of her high school friends after finding them in her address book. One of them, who friended me on Facebook, said she couldn't see a picture of me without seeing her friend. So now I'm much more aware of the resemblance than before.

I didn't know about the fact that you'd once lost a baby. While my mom didn't spend a lot of time dwelling on it, she clearly thought about it enough to tell me about him. It had been her first pregnancy, and so many dreams and hopes had been caught up in it. I can understand how, brief as it was, she wanted me to know how much it had meant. When she talked about him, though, it was almost as if he had sacrificed himself for me. She was so happy to have me that it made the pain less.
(no subject) - adoptedwriter - Oct. 8th, 2019 12:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Oct. 8th, 2019 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
favoritebean
Oct. 8th, 2019 04:31 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry. This vignette is so personal and touching. *hugs*
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It was the first thing that came to mind with this topic, so it must have been something I needed to write.
nikkiii_brown
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:59 pm (UTC)
This was so touching. *hugs*
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
orockthro
Oct. 8th, 2019 08:31 pm (UTC)
This was beautiful. Sending hugs.
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Much appreciated.
xlovebecomesher
Oct. 8th, 2019 10:14 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I've been there and it's so hard losing a parent and having a miscarriage :(
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:54 pm (UTC)
Aww. They are pains I would not wish on anyone, and I'm sorry you've gone through them.
karmasoup
Oct. 9th, 2019 12:14 am (UTC)
Oh goodness, darlin. I'm glad you made it to this place... it took a long time getting here, but now you see... she made it, too... she was waiting for you. Big squishy hug. <3
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:53 pm (UTC)
Aww. Thanks for the hug. Yes, I think of how she loved to make me laugh, and I know she'd be happy for me.
halfshellvenus
Oct. 9th, 2019 07:31 am (UTC)
That dream about your mother checking up on you is both beautiful and sad. From what you've told us about her, that seems exactly like the kind of thing she would do if she could, not realizing how much it was hurting you by re-opening the wound of her loss again and again. And letting go of you, once she did know... also seems like her.

I'm so sorry she's gone, and that it has been so very hard without her.
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I don't think she'll ever truly be gone for me. My son, thougj, admitted he's beginning to have trouble remembering how she looked, but he will say with confidence, "She was a great artist."
ellison
Oct. 9th, 2019 08:16 am (UTC)
That's such a motherly thing to say, "I know! I was just checking up on you!" That's incredibly sweet. I'm so sorry she's no longer with you. I know we all reach that day eventually and I know it'll be extremely difficult. It's sweet and amazing to still have experiences through our dreams/subconscious.
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm lucky to remember them when I awake. The thing that makes her seem so real is that, in dreams, she always looks exactly like herself and does not morph or change in the way of dreams. Whatever the truth of thise dream appearances maybe, they are comforting.
brienneofsnark
Oct. 9th, 2019 02:27 pm (UTC)
This is so beautifully sweet and sad all at the same. Such a poignant look at the woman behind the keyboard. Thank you for sharing such a personal glimpse of yourself with us.
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. Memories can be just like you described: both beautiful and sad.
d0gs
Oct. 10th, 2019 07:33 am (UTC)
*sends lots of hugs*

I could relate re the loss of my grandma who was like a third parent to me always. Loss definitely doesn't get easier D:
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:46 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry about your grandmother. I still miss my Grandma Heritage 30 years since losing her, wishing I could tell her all I've learned through continuing her genealogical research.

Edited at 2019-10-11 10:46 pm (UTC)
m_malcontent
Oct. 10th, 2019 01:47 pm (UTC)
My brother talks to me sometimes, or my subconcious chooses a dream depiction of my brother to send me a message, I am not sure it matters which.
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:44 pm (UTC)
It doesn't matter which, in my opinion. Dreams have always been a way for me to work out problems. It's nice to think she's really reaching out, but even if it's just a tender memory, I'll take it.

I had another dream the night after I posted this. Our entire family, including Mom and Dad (fortunately, still with us) and my siblings' families were going to move into a new house together. We were moving out of the dream version of my first home, the office building my dad owns, and where he still lives in the upstairs apartment. In my dreams, there have always been secret stairs and hallways, leading to rooms occupied by ghosts. But in this particular dream, I was nostalgic for the place we would soon leave. There was a little blonde girl, living with my Dad, who had no mother anymore. I asked her if it would be weird to no longer live there. She said to me gently, "I don't live here anymore." I took her hand. When I awoke I realized the little girl was me.
rayaso
Oct. 10th, 2019 03:47 pm (UTC)
This was a beautiful entry. Your mother would have been very proud of you. I am sorry you have to experience this pain.
alycewilson
Oct. 11th, 2019 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Sadly, rhat sort of pain was inevitable, but I had hoped it would wait another 10 to 20 years.

I, too, think she would be proud. As I see more of her in me, I'm trying to be the best parts of her.
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