So here's something I'm thinking about.
Gah. This feels all nakedly confessional and awkward and I'm kind of embarrassed for myself because I think if I read this on someone else's blog, I'd feel that embarrassment you feel for people who maybe don't know well enough to be embarrassed for themselves. (David handles that kind of embarrassment really poorly, which is why he has a hard time with certain sitcoms.)
Anyway, I was thinking about how I still get e-mails from people--not too frequently, but more often than you might think--who have found my blog after a recent loss.
I write so much now about Zuzu and Coco and life five years in, that I'm not always sure my blog would even be very helpful to someone whose grief is fresh, though most of the time they mention that they have gone back into the archives so they are reading about 2011, otherwise known as The Black Hole of Grief. (What kills me most about those posts, which I can hardly stand to read, are the ones where I'm trying to be, like, cheerful. As though I can convince myself things are getting better. Because I really thought they were. But when I think back to those months and I know how miserable I still was, I want to go back and pat my old self on the head and say something like, "You're not feeling better yet. You will, but you're gonna need to give it more time.")
Anyway, I was thinking about how grateful I am that there are resources for people who have experienced loss now, and how the internet is a magical place.
But I was also thinking about books, and how I turned to them in desperation, seeking answers. I remember looking on Amazon and cringing at how heartbreaking the titles are, and not wanting to be one of those people who needed a f*cking book about stillbirth.
I loved reading Elizabeth McCracken's AMAZING memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. It helped me see that someone who was something like me had gone through this experience and survived it. (I also hated it, because WHY did this happen to her? And then me?)
It helped to read about someone else's experience. It helped most of all to connect with other people who were living it.
But I also wanted a guide. Like a handbook. Something like How to Be Okay When You Are Never Going to Be Okay Again. or What the Hell to Do When Your Life Completely Falls Apart and You are in Danger of Drowning in Your Own Tears. Maybe also How to Navigate Friendship When You Basically Hate the World. Basically, What to Do When the Entire World Conspires to Make You Believe You'll Bring Home a Baby, and Then You Don't. I wanted it divide up in specific categories--maybe how to survive, month by month. Or how to handle going back to work, ways to honor your baby's memory, what to do when you and your spouse are grieving differently and you're annoyed by how stereotypically gendered your expressions of grief seem to be. And I wanted the guide to be written by someone who felt real, like someone I could be friends with in real life, but who also maybe had some wisdom and understanding that I was missing.
There are some great books out there, but I don't think this book exists.
And I don't think I could write this book exactly. But I think maybe I could construct a framework and put out calls and ask a bunch of different people to help me write it.
I don't know that a book like this could get published. It seems doubtful, in fact. But it could sure as shit get self-published on Amazon so that someone who is desperate could put in the search terms to find it.
So that's what I'm thinking about.
I don't know why I'm thinking about it NOW, when it's 5+ years since my loss, except that babies keep dying and parents are still bewildered and overwhelmed and slogging through grief feeling isolated and desperately sending out e-mails to strangers on the internet because we have to find each other, because we need to hear someone tell us that we'll survive.
Also maybe because I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic, and she talks about how when ideas come to you, you shouldn't ignore them or they'll leave you and they're a gift you might not be able to get back. This little idea keeps nudging me, even when I think it's stupid, or only three people would ever read it, or it would be so much work to end up self-publishing it and there would probably be typos I would miss and then people would be judgy and I don't even really know how to begin, and--most of all--I'm probably not the right person to take this on.
I could name a million reasons why I should just forget it. But I'm still thinking about it.