Friday, March 28, 2008


I'm all a bit flush-faced at the moment. Have just finished the section of the book where Ellanor passes away. It is stomach-churning stuff and, well, I guess I just wanted to mark the occasion by writing here. Here's an excerpt, which brings to a close the first week without her.

Dad and **** arrived the next morning and sat with us in gentle silence. **** had begun to knit a very beautiful matching beanie and booties set when Ella was born. Handing the gift to me now, she offered simply, “I thought that with every stitch, I was helping to save her…” I did not know what to say. It seemed that others had felt, on the outside looking in, that this was a far more precarious start to life than I had felt and I wondered how I had missed it.

I recalled the day when Dad had come to visit Ella, not more than a week before she left, and his eyes were red-rimmed with emotion. Why is he so unsure, I remember thinking. She is doing so well, please don’t reject her and the progress she is making here. And then he had shared with me a dream he had had several nights prior, in which Ella had come to him. She was about seven or eight in the dream and was floating above the ground, saying excitedly, “Look Grandpa, I can fly! Watch me!” He told me he had physically grabbed her ankles and said, “No, you don’t!” and told her to get back down and put her feet on the ground. How poignant the dream now was, considering Ella had hardly touched down here at all. Perhaps Dad had known somewhere deep within him the thing I had never even dared try and face.

Over the next several days after Ella died, I had to gently ease the breast milk out of my system. As I stood in the shower with the warm water spilling over my back, I pressed gently against my rock hard breast tissue. It hurt but then, really, my entire body was in aching pain from the enormous physical impact of having to let my baby go. My tears were hot on my cheeks, my face swollen from crying.
Ella had died on Tuesday. On Saturday that same week, I was in the shower (again!) and thinking nothing much in particular except just of her, when I noticed I could still vaguely get a sense of how Ellanor was feeling. She had been quiet all week and I had not been able to “find” her, no matter how hard I tried, save for the fact that I had the sense she was extremely fatigued, as if the event of her passing had really been a monumental effort for her and she was recovering somewhat, even though she was now not in pain. Suddenly and unexpectedly, at that moment, I received an overwhelming sense of immense love. It was huge, like a massive hug and I knew instantly that it came from somewhere completely outside of me because my emotions were so raw and pained, in contrast. I could not have mustered up that much energy to give the feeling to myself even if I had tried. It was Ellanor. She was smiling, though she said nothing. And I was reduced once again to big tears, except this time a wide smile was now on my puffy red face!

"Thank you, sweetpea” I whispered to her.

Thank God I got that out. It has been hanging over my head since the day I started this in earnest, in May 2007. Feel like I need to go for a jog or something, to release the energy. Phew!

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