Steve and Lolly were outside making play dough cakes. I was doing some tidying up inside. We were surrounded by great music all day - our deck is central to the house, which is shaped like a U - and I had been enjoying doing some physical work and taking advantage of the mild weather.
And then this song came on as I was moving about the lounge room. I was suddenly overcome and had to sit down, affording myself the time to have a good, long, hard bawl. It's been many months, possibly even a full year, since I cried this much whilst thinking of Ellanor. The next song in the playlist was "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" by James Taylor (another dear favourite artist of mine) and the sunny beat of the tune was in contrast to my heavy tears. It helped to lift me out of wherever I might have been headed in my thoughts for the rest of the day.
Good night my angel time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away
Good night my angel now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me
Goodnight my angel now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die that's how you and I will be
Billy Joel's 'Lullaby' is one that I have always found just so profoundly beautiful. The tune is all at once strong and supportive, sweet and wistful, a little trepidation thrown in that turns to a sort of bittersweetness again. But it's the lyrics. The lyrics are just masterful. I sing it to the LGBB sometimes. It could be at home being sung to a child for so many different reasons, and Billy Joel himself wrote it for his little girl after his marriage to her mother ended.
But today, I heard the meaning in it for both of my girls. At times I felt like I was wrapping them both within my arms, one girl on either side, drawing them in to me and holding them close. Energetically, I suppose that is exactly what I did, for Lolly was not physically in front of me either - rather, she was as much 'there right beside me' as Ella was.
And this is the funny thing about Ellanor. Sometimes she might as well just be in another room. When the book comes out *cough...must keep momentum on publishing progress in the early New Year* I hope you will gain more of an understanding of our deep connection that she herself showed me was there - before she was conceived.
Yesterday was one of those days where we were surrounded by the most supportive members of the family within easy distance. It was a good, heart warming day. Lovely food, gorgeous company. But even amongst these familiar friends there were fragments of niggling disappointments. I don't think they will ever truly leave me, not regarding Ella and how one is treated when one has to continue to endure celebration after celebration with one child missing from the fun. I felt stymied. Have I not stopped mentioning her on my timeline yet!? Goodness, how can you still not be "over it", it's been almost seven years..... I can practically hear some people think it. And I know it's not intentional of them, that at the forefront of their intention would always be helping me to avoid inflicting pain on myself by "going there" (down that conversation path). In fact, they would be mortified if they knew it hurt me when they changed the subject or otherwise stopped me from talking any more about her.
The thing is, though, it comes down to this: she was our flesh and blood, bones and hair, living, breathing child. She lived. She was here, she laid eyes on me, eyes that would follow the sound of my voice around the NICU bay... I cannot deny her the short month of her full life by not speaking her name! There is no "just stopping" anything and there never will be - it pains me less to mention her. It is normal and doesn't agonise me at all to mention my daughter. But their comfort levels, I mostly try to abide by - it's a tricky thing to gauge, in a crowd, and I've had to keep quite a long mental list of inner-circle loved ones and their various comfort levels, in order not to cause them discomfort or unwittingly hurt myself if this is their inevitable reaction. It was the most subtle mention, too.... I wasn't meaning to fly a flag for bereaved parents on Christmas Day, believe me! It's just simply there sometimes. In the room. Like that good ol' elephant.
Today's cry was good. It was cleansing and releasing. I continued on with my afternoon, a little more bloated and blotchy-red of cheeks and darkened of eyes, but still good to carry on.
I will never completely "enjoy" Christmas. How could I possibly? But I do savour the time and don't rush things because of what we have lost and what we have gained from that loss. There is no denying, we would not have Lolly if we had not lost Ellanor. It boggles my mind quite often.
One huge, rolling, continuing lesson, this life we live. I hope you all slowed the pace and enjoyed your loved ones.