I painted this yesterday, during one of Amy's free live online classes. She guided us through some interesting, new-to-met techniques that are really exciting to me. I enjoyed the new learning.
But what I enjoyed even more was how good it felt to make this. Although I've painted and drawn one time each since Eve died, those attempts didn't really feel like much. I think that perhaps I was still in shock over my daughter's death, because I did both within a week or two of losing her -- a time when I wasn't able to feel much at all, I can now see.
Yesterday, however, was a different story. I was not focused on what the painting looked like, but on the act of painting itself. With each brush stroke I felt like I was pushing my pain into the substrate, crying out my grief with paint instead of tears.
And it felt right to make a really sad girl -- and the resulting girl certainly does look horribly sad. In some ways, I feel that this is a painting of me.
But at the same time, it's not. Because the girl I painted looks lost in despair, in a kind of living death. That is not how I feel.
I do, however, feel lost in pain and absence at times. Confused about the future, since I had thought I was going to be a homeschool mama for the next twenty years. Afraid at what awful thing might be around the corner -- because in our four short years of marriage, the Best Husband Ever and I have gone through hell in the forms of an eating disorder, depression, and near-divorce.
The hardest part about grief are the wild swings of emotions. I can feel perfectly normal, even happy, for days at a time -- only to suddenly crash, and crash hard. It's frustrating. I wish that I could just be sad consistently, because then I would know what to expect from this journey. And while the crashes are painful and terrifying, the periods of normalcy are awful in their own way, because how can I feel so fine when my daughter is dead? When her body, instead of continuing to dance and live and grow within me toward her January birth, is a pile of plastic-housed ash on my shelf? Sometimes I worry that I'm going insane.
But I don't think that my experiences are unusual. Terrible, perhaps, but not singular. I am not alone. That is why I scribbled the words "here we are" on the side of this creation (painted on a sketchbook cover) -- because I am not the only one here in this place of pain and confusion. Although I would never wish this experience on anyone, I am so glad that I am alone. Here we are, hearts amputated, all together.