"She's my person. If I murdered someone, she's the person I'd call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She's my person." --Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang, Grey's Anatomy
Perhaps this is an indication that I watch too much Grey's, but it's so fitting for my mood tonight. The value of this person in one's life is immeasurable. I've been fortunate enough to have 3 people throughout my life who have stepped into this role at one point or another; a friend in high school, a roommate in college and my sister. But what do you do when you find yourself personless for an extended period of time???
Technically, I guess I'm not personless. Two of the three are still in my life, but not really in the sense of calling them to 'help drag the corpse across the living room floor' anymore....and definitely not in the sense of this damned grieving process. My college roommate and I have been separated by about 3.5 hours for the last 12 years; we see each other a few times a year and we talk frequently, but it's just not the same as the 5 years that we spent living together. For some reason there is something that prevents me from calling her and saying 'I miss my daughter' and processing what I need to process with her. I'm pretty sure she wants to ask about it, but there's something that prevents her from doing so. We talk about everything in the world except how I really am, and I don't know how to change it. Deep down, I think most of it is due to the fact that her first baby was born just 3.5 months before Gracie. There is so much connection when you're pregnant at the same time as a close friend...where that connection goes when one of the babies dies is something only those reading this blog can know and understand. The emotions of watching the other child grow and develop are something only those reading this blog can know and understand. The ridiculous barriers that it can create are, again, something only those reading this blog can know and understand.
My sister left American soil exactly two weeks after Gracie's funeral; she spent the next 27 months serving with the Peace Corps in Africa (with the exception of a 3 week visit home about half way through her service that I wrote about quite a while ago). Despite the fact that she lived 2-3 hours away for years before she went into the Peace Corps, we talked daily. There isn't much that I couldn't and didn't say to my sister. Obviously, her departure with the Peace Corps had nothing to do with me, but it couldn't have come at a worse point in my life. Good God, how selfish does that sound???? She heads to Africa to spread assistance, peace and good cheer and I'm saying that it was inconvenient for me. But in all reality, her departure was a definite turning point in our relationship. Had she stayed stateside, our daily communication would have certainly continued, at least after the first few weeks following Gracie's death. The way things played out, communication was minimal for months after she left, simply because of her logistics and environment. Once we were able to resume regular communication, it was usually via 'instant message', which leaves much to be desired when you're working through grief. Once regular phone communication was established, the window had more or less closed; she was so wrapped up in the daily hardships of what she was doing that she never really asked, and I never found a good way to inject 'I miss my daughter' into our conversations. Between the halfway point of her service in Africa and the time she came home, other things happened to just 'kick the horse while it was down'. She's been home for 5 months, and in that time, I've seen and talked to her a fair amount, but it's different that it's ever been in the past. There's an element missing...or perhaps some kind of barrier that we've never had; there are things that I just don't/can't say at this point that I would have said 3 years ago, I know that she's not openly communicating things with me that she would have shared 3 years ago. She moved from the east coast to Colorado a month ago, and my gut tells me that that will be another very damaging blow, as will substantially limit how much we see her and how much she gets to interact with the rest of my kids.
So, essentially, I'm personless. I have lots of acquaintances, but I run really short in the good, true friend department. I'm picky about who I let into my life, and I'm just not that good at making friends (and there are just not that many opportunities for me to meet lots of new people face-to-face these days...). As a result, the void created when my daughter died is perched right next to the void(s) where 'my people' should be, due in large part to this unending grieving process. Gotta love the domino effect...