It’s pretty constant now. The remembering. My thinking: “At this time last year, I was… we were…” Last day of work. Belly photos. Nursery painting. Baby shower. Doula arrives. Midwives’ appointment at the house. Last breastfeeding class. In-laws come for a visit. The pull of memories, regrets and nostalgia make it challenging for me to stay present in 2019. I’ve always been like this about the details of what happened on a certain day, in a certain year… even at a particular hour. It feels like a blessing and a curse – this year more than ever.
June has come and gone. It’s been raining here some, these past weeks. There’ve been quite a few tears, too. At some level, it all makes sense. It is the rainy season in Oaxaca, after all. As the one-year anniversary of our due date approaches, it’s no surprise that deep emotions are stirring. I knew that this summer would be hard, but I did not expect the trouble to begin so soon.
It’s Cancer season, one of the most foreign astrological signs for me. Since Rafa’s due date was originally July 18th, I imagined he would be born under the crab’s sign. I found this curious since I sometimes struggle to relate to the introverted, homebody Cancers in my life. What would it be like to have a water-son? With all my fire and earth, how would that feel?
Not quite sure why I’m here today. Over the past months, I’ve come to the blank page with a question, theme, feeling or relationship in mind. But today I am in a place of not knowing what will come out here. You see… there’s actually so much. I’ve been chewing on a number of things these past months. It has been a time of rich learning, growth, reflection, connection, meaning-making and meaning-breaking. A time of much movement all over this hemisphere.
No estoy muy segura porque estoy aquí hoy. A lo largo de los meses que han pasado, he llegado a la página en blanco con una pregunta, tema, sentimiento o relación en mente. Pero ahora estoy en un lugar de no saber que resultará aquí. Sabes… hay de hecho tanto. He estado masticando varias cosa estos últimos meses. Ha sido un tiempo de rico aprendizaje, crecimiento, reflexión, conexión, elaboración y ruptura de significados. Un tiempo de mucho movimiento por todo este hemisferio.
En mi experiencia, el nacimiento de un bebé muerto puede pasarle la factura a las relaciones. Puede ser particularmente difícil dentro de la relación de la pareja. Para mí, justo después de la muerte y nacimiento de Rafael estaba pasando tanto al nivel emocional para todos alrededor de nosotros. Cada persona estuvo procesando el choque, el duelo y solidaridad de forma propia y a su propio ritmo. Y nuestros procesos tuvieron encuentros íntimos entre ellos, se entrelazaron y a veces chocaron… hasta el punto en que a veces fue difícil saber a quién pertenecían cuáles sentimientos. Al fin de cuentas, hubo una emoción que se profundizó y un campo que se amplió entre Yeyo y yo: el AMOR.
In my experience, stillbirth takes its toll on relationships. It can be especially difficult on the intimate partnership or marriage of the bereaved parents. For me, in the immediate wake of Rafael’s death and birth, there was so much happening on the emotional level for everyone around us. Each person was processing shock and grief and solidarity in their own way, at their own rhythm. And our processes had intimate encounters, intertwined and sometimes clashed with one another… to the point that sometimes it was even difficult to know which feelings belonged to whom. Through it all, there was a feeling and a field that deepened and widened between Yeyo and I: LOVE.
Escuché que algunos de mis amigos han tenido dificultades con las últimas líneas que publiqué aquí. Eso tiene sentido. No están muy seguros de “que hacer” con lo que compartí. Sé que mis familias de origen y elección quieren ofrecerme su consuelo y apoyo. Y dije que no quería hablar al respecto. Que no quería ser abrazada. Y no quería. Estaba emputadísima cuando escribí todo eso. Y sigo enojada. Y, ese fue un momento que vino y se fue. Estoy en un lugar diferente ahora. Cual es ese lugar, no estoy muy segura. Pero estoy lista para hablar de ello… un poco.
I heard that some of my friends have been struggling with the last piece I posted here. That makes sense. People were not really sure “what to do” with what I shared. I know that my families of origin and choice want to offer me their consolation and support. And I said I didn’t want to talk about it. That I didn’t want to be hugged. And I didn’t. I was fucking pissed when I wrote all that. I’m still angry. AND, that was a moment. It has come and it has passed. I am somewhere different now. Where that is, I’m not really sure. But I’m ready to talk about it… a little.
I do not want to be sitting here, writing this. I would rather be doing any other thing in the world. I have procrastinated for long enough and now, in the short time I have, I must write.
I was going to start this long overdue post by saying that time is flying. I was going to say that there are certain things I need to write about from the time right before Rafa’s death and birth so that I will never forget them. But now, time is mush. Time is nothing.
120 months (ten years) ago today, I moved to Mexico. One year and two days ago, I started to share openly that I was pregnant. Four days ago, my husband’s mom died. It is almost inconceivable to me that in less than 6 months, Yeyo lost his son and his mother… and both of them, so very unexpectedly. I only know how it has been for me, the departure of my mother-in law, María Ofelia Arruti Hernández. I can only talk about the way that one grief touches and stirs the other. I can only share that every time I imagine Ofelia on “the other side,” I see Rafa in her arms, the two of them smiling and enjoying themselves. Every time I think of this, I weep. They are tears of sadness and joy, pure emotion. I have no idea if a place like heaven exists. I doubt it. But it gives me so much solace thinking of Rafa with his grandma, that I am forced to suspend my disbelief.