Monday, June 13, 2011


NOTE:  Here's a weird thing about where I am at six months and one week:  I am alternately astonished by how much or how little I am crying, depending on the day.

So here I am, posting again. 

I feel like I've been gone a million years.

It's been like five days.

But my blog-reader-list thing!  It was FULL of new posts to read.  And I read them all!  And I was trying to comment but there were so MANY and it's after 8pm and I had to teach today and I feel TIRED and I have to finish reading and prepping for teaching and remembering how to turn Word files in PDFs (OMG I remembered.  And it's so embarrassingly easy that I can't believe I actually forgot and had to try to remember.).  So then instead of commenting I just started sending mental good-vibes to people.  I'm sure you felt those, right?  Great.

Anyway, you may be wondering what I've been doing.  Oh, not much.  Just, you know, flying through trees with the greatest of ease.

Yes, we went ziplining.  Yes, I was sort of nervous.  I hated the rope bridge more than any other part of it.  Once we did the first round, I loved it.  I could have zipped around all day.

David rocks the zipline.  He was fearless.

I am a tool.

I feel compelled to explain that the reason I am perching on my harness as though I am primly sitting on a chair is because the zip-lining guide, Kristy, told me to "cannonball" my legs up as I left the zipline platform and at this point I was starting to put my legs down for the landing but also trying to pose for a picture that would show that I was brave enough not to hold on with both hands and also I was trying to look cool for the other zipline guide, Corey, who was a cute boy with tattooed biceps. 

Clearly my efforts to look cool for Corey = FAIL.  Instead I look like some bizarre form of Mary Poppins or something.

BUT ziplining was fun.  It was one of those moments of feeling like a somewhat normal person in between many moments of feeling like a sad mess of a person.

The weekend was rough, honestly.  We were back at the lake with David's family and it was nice to see them and we did all kinds of fun things.  His nephew and niece are six and a half and three years old, respectively, and they are cute and fun to play with.  There was all the usual entertainment--swim in the pool!  paddleboat in the lake!  walk the dogs!  go out for fried fish!  read in the porch swing!  drink a beer while sitting on the patio!--but, you guys, all I could think about was that Eliza was supposed to be there.  Her cousins were supposed to be interested in (and then bored by) looking at the baby.  David was supposed to have her loaded up in the bjorn for our walks.  She was supposed to be rolling around on the carpet, gnawing on jenga pieces that the kids were playing with.  We were supposed to be making her laugh and arguing about who changed the last diaper.  David's grandma was supposed to be fussing over her and people were supposed to be asking me questions about how she was sleeping and whether she was teething and I was supposed to be comparing notes with David's aunt about when her kids started rolling over / crawling / walking / teething. 

Instead, Eliza was not mentioned.  I could have brought her up, but I didn't.  The truth is, if anyone had said her name, I would have burst into tears.  She was constantly at the forefront of my thoughts and I missed her SO much I couldn't even begin to talk about it. 

It was hard to see David's niece with her dad.  It was hard to see David playing with the kids.  I braided his niece's hair into two adorable French braids and she looked so cute and it broke my heart into a million pieces.  I held it together, but all I could think about was my baby girl and that I will never get to French braid her hair and, as you might expect, if I don't immediately redirect my thoughts from there, I could spiral out into a whole avalanche of things we're missing out on and I could cry about it for a million years.

The last day we were there, David's mom came down with his nephew who just turned one in April.  I was nervous about seeing him because he's such a "baby," and I thought that might be hard, but it was okay in the sense that he was a goofy, cute, drooling little bug of a dude and he staggers around like a drunken sailor when he walks.  He took to me right away, even though I'd only seen him once before, when he was five months old.  He wanted me to hold him and he hooked his little arm around my neck and David's grandma kept commenting on how much he was taking to his "Auntie Brooke." 

And I held him and tickled him and played with him and all I wanted was MY baby.

It was like this crazy kind of reverse torture.  The more FUN we had, the WORSE it felt.  Every fun activity was just a reminder of everything we are missing out on.  It was a FUN weekend.  We had a GOOD time.  And it was SO impossibly hard.

So I cried off and on for two days.  Not in front of everybody.  I cried in the bathroom or at bedtime or once while walking Cooper by myself because I just had to get away from all of the SUPER FUN FAMILY time because sometimes I HATE fun because I have to have it without Eliza.  I mean, I like fun.  But I also hate it at the same time.  We got in the car to go home and at the end of David's grandparents' road, I just burst into tears.  Because we weren't going home with our baby and our pack n play and our car loaded up with baby paraphernalia.  We were just going home.  Alone.

Well, the dogs were with us.
Cooper posing with his "serious" look. Serious look is complicated by fact that his head is abnormally small given the size of his body.  But he's just a baby.  He don't know.

Little Mac returns home only to pull the cushion out of her bed and wear it as a turtle shell.  Desire to be a turtle is the least of her issues, folks.
Anyway, it's back to real life now.  Summer class has started.  Teaching is good for me, honestly, because I am more productive when I am busy and it makes me feel like I am somewhat competent at doing something besides moping and crying.  Moping and crying, however, do remain my two greatest areas of expertise. 

I should keep working on my ziplining skillz, though.  Still hoping to impress Corey.


  1. I love when I see your fresh posts come up because I know I'll 1) laugh and 2) relate.

    I burst out laughing at the visual I had while reading the words, "nstead of commenting I just started sending mental good-vibes to people". I do this to, sometimes. ;)

    I'm sorry this weekend was a tough ones. Happy people gatherings can be so painful. Because it could always be just a *little* happier.

  2. That picture of Cooper made me laugh out loud! What a funny puppy. Isn't it amazing how expressive their faces are?

    I'm so sorry about your tough weekend. As always, I wish things were different.

  3. Your trip reminds me a lot of our Boise trip to visit Kevin's family 3 or 4 months after Aiden died. Our youngest niece was 8 months old at the time and as adorable as she is I could hardly stand to be near her. I was able to hold it together while watching Kevin play and have fun with all 6 of our nieces and nephews, but would turn in early every night to sob into my pillow. My in-laws were too nervous to mention Aiden in front of me so I begged Kevin to bring him up in conversation so no one would forget he was ours and will forever be the 6th Bailey cousin.

    I've since spent a lot of time with my now 16 month old niece and all of her brothers and sisters without having a major melt down.

    I'm glad you were able to have a good time, even if the hangover of sadness followed close behind. btw.. I almost peed my pants seeing your dog's pictures and the captions beneath them. xo

  4. Oh mamma.. I know exactly what you mean about these strange juxtaposition we find ourselves in.
    I can only imagine how so many moments of this weekend must have hit deep into your wounds. You did amazing though.. you were there.. and right now that is huge.

    On a lighter note (are there ever truly lighter notes!?) those dogs

  5. So much to comment on this the Mary Poppins comparison...and I am right there with you, the more fun I have the more I realize how much MORE fun we would be having with Addison if she were here. I hate that we can just pick up and go no baby gear to fill our car...ugh. Oh and I taught myself to french braid in middle school so one day I could braid my daughter's hair...another thing I will never get to do with Addi *sigh* Sending good vibes as well :)

  6. My god, I love your dogs. So much.

    Thank you Little Mac, for cracking me up with your bed on your back. Thank you Cooper for just being so...earnest.

    I have those same moments whenever we get together for big family events, it's like I catch myself having fun and then my stomach falls out of my body because I realize Otis isn't with us and it's just. so. wrong. And how can we be family-funning like this? What the hell is wrong with me?! What the hell is wrong with us? And what is wrong with the world, that we don't get to have these babies in our arms?

    much love, as always, to you and those silly, silly pups.

  7. Much love to you, Brooke. So much I could relate to in here. This was me, almost three years ago. Sucked me right back.

  8. you do always make me laugh. :D
    reading about your trip to the lake broke *my* heart into a million pieces. thinking of all the things my 1 yr old would be doing now. but he can't. because he's not here. it's just so unfair that we can't have our children. i wonder why it had to be our children constantly. not that i wish this pain on anyone, but seriously, why us. :'(

  9. I just kept nodding along. Yes, this is a reverse torture. I so desparately want to have FUN! with my family, my friends, my husband. But, you're right. The more FUN! I have, the worse I feel later. Angie said it's a sadness hangover. And it sucks. And no one else in real life gets it. Again, thanks for putting into words just how I feel...I swear, you are reading my mind some days!

  10. I like your picture - it's like ziplining sidesaddle.

    Reverse torture - I'm so sorry. I wish Eliza could have been there to soak up the love. One of the hardest moments in my first year out was at an outdoor event where N was playing with a colleague's son - letting him climb all over him, swinging him around, laughing. I laughed and laughed and listened to the sound of bits of my heart shattering on the pavement.

    Hope your class goes well. I don't know whether to wish Little Mac well in the quest to become a turtle, or not...

  11. Hi Brooke...I have been reading for a while but this is my first comment. I love reading your blog. You write wonderfully and you seem like such a wonderful person. I am so sorry about your sweet little muffin, Eliza. Life just ain't fair sometimes and that sucks.
    Just wanted to say hello and sorry your weekend wasn't the best, but of course it wasn't, because there was a very important person who was missing. I hope your days get better and better. I think your blog is a wonderful tribute to keep Eliza's memory alive...sending you a big ole' Texas hug.

  12. I so understand this post. I'm sorry. (((hugs)))

  13. Hey Brooke,
    I don't have much to add that the other ladies didn't already cover. But, I know exactly how you feel about having fun, and then realizing you shouldn't be having fun, then feeling shitty about having fun, then missing your baby and all the fun you should have been having with her. The whole thing blows.
    I have also noticed that my f&f are mentioning Love less and less. She is ALWAYS on the forefront of my mind in a running loop, but those around me seem to be less inclined to talk about her. I waffle between being thankful for it, and being totally consumed by resentment and anger that maybe they are forgetting? But, I think they don't want to bring me down, which I understand, but still...
    Sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall, just to distract myself from the fun/sad, happy/mad, thankful/resentful tug of wars that are constantly going through my mind and heart.
    Thinking of you and Eliza (and David, and Cooper, and Mac too, of course!)


  14. I like how you call it reverse torture. How true that is. I felt the same way when I was home a month ago. I had fun and it was great playing with my nephews, but so depressing all at the same time knowing Liam should be here too.
    Thinking of you and Eliza...

  15. We went zip lining in Costa Rica, I was totally chill not worried at all even though I'm terrified of heights. Until I GOT ON THE THING. It was like an hour long panic attack. I will never do that again. The pictures are awesome though.
    Thinking of you and Eliza.

  16. I get it - the family gatherings always used to make me sad. There is always someone missing for us.

  17. This is all so true. I watch Ben run around with his cousins, which fills my heart with such joy and such sorrow. Because there will always be one missing. Sometimes my happy moments are some of my saddest. I did not understand that that could be possible 3 months ago.