Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 192 Pt.II: I Don't Have a Name/Knowing What to Do

Continuing on with a 30-day writing course. Read more about it at http://www.refugeingrief.com/30daywriting/.

Today's prompt:

You might start today's writing with "I don't have a name. I don't know what to do. I am not the person I used to be..."

----------------------------------

I have a name.
Bridget.
It means "strong."
My name means strong.
My name means strength.


I was a tiny baby once,
placed in the arms of my mother
on a cold December morning
at Silver Cross Hospital in
Joliet, Illinois.

"Hello, [strength]," said my mother.
"You've got this thing. You can do it."

She gave me a shield
behind which to go into battle. 
"[Strength]," people would say to me.
"You don't hear that name a lot."

Sometimes someone would have a cousin,
a friend of a friend,
a relative in Ireland who goes by "Brighty."

I am simply "Bridget."
I am simply strength.

I have a name.
It means "strong."
My name means strong.
My name means strength.

And in me is a reserve.
And in me is a will defiant.
And in me is the refusal to
check out when I am flattened
by my own grief.

Flattened.

My name means strong.
My name means strength.

I found this strength
at 12 years old, facing
my attacker in court.

Strong.

I found it again after
surviving a suicide attempt.
I wanted to die.
My strength said no.

Strong.

A series of losses. We
all have them. And here
they came, one right after
another. Marriage. Babies.
House. Material possessions.

The ache of loss. And my
strength seemed to be there.
My name means strong.

And again here is strength-
showing up in the form
of love. Love for this man.

It takes strength to love
someone with such wild abandon.
My love was strong. My love
for Gareth was strong.

Strength. Could it be I am
using it again? My name.
My name means strong. I
do not feel strong.

Strong.
My love is gone.
Strength.
My love is gone.

Strong.
And I keep going.
Strong.
And I keep going.
Strong.
And I keep going.

My name means strong.

How could she have known?
My mother.
Holding me there, wrapped tightly
still chalked in blood.
Heart beating rapidly.
"[Strength]," she must have said.
"I will call you [Strong]."

Imparting on me what it is
that would make me so resilient.

I don't know how you do it,
Bridget.
I don't know how you're
getting through this.

This is what they said. 
This is what they say.

I have not been given a raw deal.
The universe doesn't have it out for me.

This is life.
And I'm in it.

My name is Bridget.
It means "strong."

It is who I was before the world-
this glorious world-
sucked me in and spun me around
and taught me the meaning of

being flattened.
Laid low.
Pulled down.
Carried under.

I have a name.
My name is Bridget.
It means "strong."
My name means strong.


----------------------------------------------------------
(The 20-minute timer went off, but I'd still like to write a bit about the other two parts to the prompt: "I don't know what to do" and "I'm not the person I used to be." I'll reset the timer and give it one more go.)

Tonight's full moon.

I know what to do.
I just don't want
to do it.

I know how to climb the hill
behind our old apartment like
I did tonight.

I know how to do that with
three friends,
one you knew and two I met
since you died.

I know how to lead them up
that hill, the one we climbed
hand-in-hand.

I know how to show them
the spectacular view of our sleepy
town under the glow of a full moon
late at night.

This I know how to do.
I just don't want to.

I know how to tell stories
about you.
About us.
About that hill and that view
and that full moon that shined
(I'm sure)
only for us the night we wandered
up there and saw it.

I know how to tell them
-these three friends-
about how we made out
at the top of the observatory.

How we stood and hugged
here, right here.
I know how to point and how
to point out places of interest.

I know how to describe the
first time we climbed to this
spot- this very spot- how
to describe how you held me
and recited a poem you'd written.

velvet choker of the night
a pearl to a pearl on Heaven's throat
I know how to hear your voice,
exactly as it sounded, on the night
you read that poem. Under the moon.
Up the hill behind our old apartment.

I know how to choke back
tears not to spoil a good moment
here with three friends
on the hill we climbed
two years earlier
when we were swimming in
our own love.

I know how to go in and out
of conversations now
half-listening, half-remembering.
I know how to watch a memory
so vivid I can taste it.
I know how to watch a memory inches from
where my friends currently stand
on the hill
behind our old apartment
where we kissed under the full moon.

I know how to look up at the moon
when it's full. when it's hanging
fat in the sky and begging me
to remember you. I know how
to look up at it and not feel sick anymore

I know how not to reach for you
in the car, in the bed, on my phone
on my computer. I know how to
sit with the emptiness.

I know how to ride any wave
of grief. I know I'll come
through it, even when I'm sitting
on the floor of a busy train station
in South Korea, sobbing in the
way that leaves me with hiccups.

I know how to do this.
I know how to sob in public.

I know how to do this.
This "grief thing."
This pit in my stomach.
This missing you that slows
and speeds up and gets softer
and louder like the worst piece
of orchestral music I've ever heard.

It's a disaster.
I know how to do disaster.

I know how to reach out
and connect. And connect.
And connect. I know how
to turn my love for you-
a love stricken expressionless
by sudden death- into connection
with other people.

I am an introvert who knows
how to connect.

I know not to expect your
things to smell like you anymore.
I know that sending a message
to your mom makes me happy.

I know to get up everyday.
To feed myself.
To shower.
To go to work.

I know that running makes me
feel better. Every time.
I know that hiking does the same.

I know I can't complete the
simplest tasks without
thinking of you.

I know I will always think of you.

I know more now than
I ever cared to know.

I know how to do this.
I know how to live.
I know how to live without you.
And I will.

I just don't want to.



 





2 comments:

  1. Yes, Bridget, I get the "I know how to live without you, I just don't want to." This fucking sucks!

    Jessica's birthday is coming up -- September 12.
    I just don't want to, but I must.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You must feel like you're bracing for the punch with Jessica's birthday coming up. I'm standing with you, Aunt Mary. It does fucking suck. It just does. Love to you.

    ReplyDelete