Monday, February 16, 2009

Heart In Hand

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This year, I had big plans for Valentine's Day.

I have this distinct memory of my mother making great, big, heart-shaped sugar cookies for my second-grade classmates, personalizing each one with their names in neat, looping, pink buttercream cursive, and I remember thinking my Mom is amazing, can you believe my Mom? and I really wanted to recreate those cookies for Ellie to take to school on Valentine's Day.

But, as it turned out, something horrible happened last week. The last ten days have been sad. I don't need to tell you how sad, because I know you can imagine how sad. It is the Saddest Thing, the thing that clutches at the heart of every parent. Needless to say, the personalized cookies and about a million other things did not happen.

And so went the week. Task, task, plan, plan, cry, cry, cry. So much sadness. We talked about how to tell Ellie and decided to wait, just a few more days, to do the best job possible. Or maybe because we envy her tender, oblivious self. I don't know.

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And on Saturday, as the pace slowed and we had nowhere to be, nothing to plan, I really wanted to make some valentines, do something normal and silly and hopeful. I pulled a chair up to the dining room table, spread out papers and markers, cookies and sprinkles, and Ellie and I did Valentine's Day.

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And as we traced hands and glued doilies and spread pink frosting, I felt palpable joy, the kind of joy whose intensity is directly related to the freshness of a deep sorrow. And I felt so thankful to be sitting there, sharing the day with someone so beautifully, wondrously oblivious to all the sad. Someone consumed with candy and frivolity and construction-paper expressions of love.

Someone like this:
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This is terribly disjointed, I know, but this is what I want to say: after the events of the past week and watching our family respond to such loss, I am struck by the resiliency of the human spirit, by our dopey, naked ability to go on loving things, no matter how fragile or precarious or foolish. We just love, even when the possibility of unfathomable, shattering heartbreak lurks around every corner. We love when it makes not one ounce of sense, and even when our hearts are broken, we would do it again, just go on loving in the most irrational way possible.

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It makes us, I think, one part monkey, one part divinity. And I love that so.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day.

31 comments:

Kelly said...

This post made me cry. And your daughter is so pretty.

Hang in there, sweetie.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

So beautiful. So true.

Happy Belated Valentine's, then.

Professor J said...

Yes. One part monkey, one part divine.

Csquaredplus3 said...

I love "that" so, too.

You did good.

robyn said...

Yes, beautiful. The words, and the photos.

So sorry about what your family is going through.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I love your big, big heart.

I've thought of you each day and wish I could something to help...

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I love your heart. It is great big, made of sugar, and says "Melanie" in neat, looping, pink buttercream cursive.

Anonymous said...

I have bookmarked a few blogs that I especially enjoy, and flip through them most mornings to see the latest posts. I've noticed that recently, your do not have any new posts and then the next day there will be one dated two or three days ago. Is my computer absolutely bonkers? Or do you just take time to perfect your posts before posting them?

Regardless. I am terribly sorry to hear about your loss. Stay strong.

JessTrev said...

My monkey heart weeps and smiles with yours, and your writing is divine. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Stacy (mama-om) said...

Tears in eyes...

Holding you all in my heart.

The Boddeker Blog said...

That's the hardest part at first, that the world keeps on moving without your loved one in it. Then it becomes the part that helps the most.

The Girl Next Door said...

Oh sweety I continue to send you big hugs. And that daughter of yours is scrumpscously delicious....

the cheap chick said...

Thank you for your beautiful words. I know you'll get through this... I just wish you never had to in the first place.

Blue Mountains Mary said...

We do just love. Through good times and bad. We divine monkeys...

x

justjuli said...

Beautifully expressed. I think that's part of the real beauty of love - that it doesn't make sense. That it is so "other" from what our nature is. We turn from ourselves and think about someone else.

Praying for your bruised, broken hearts.

skatey katie said...

big huge hugs to you and yours, melanie.
love and sunshine X

ophelia rising said...

How lovely. I understand. It amazes me how humans love and keep loving, even though hearts are broken, even though we know we will have to say goodbye someday, even though we are sometimes cruelly taken away from one another. With all that in our conciousness, we still love and cherish one another, and that is a resilience that surely speaks to our divinity. And possibly monkey-hood.

I continue to think of you. Stay strong and learn from those little people. They always have so much to teach us.

Heather D said...

Beautiful.
Thinking of you and your family.

i am very mary said...

Amen, love, amen.

heidi said...

Beautiful. Art therapy works. Happy Valentines Day.

lapoflux said...

Love sees us through so much.
I'm so glad that the Valentines helped - it amazes me how kids can help us through the worst of things just by being themselves.
Thinking of you and yours - I hope it gets easier with time.

Amy the Mom said...

Another perfect post.

Such an enormous amount of emotion for a family to endure the last few months.

Magpie said...

Sigh.

Yes.

apathy lounge said...

My mother used to say that when her brother died an untimely death from cancer at the age of 38, it was the presence of me (3) and my sister (2) that made things bearable. We were, as you say, oblivious. And our ability to focus on eating and sleeping and smiling gave them the courage to do so also. Wonderful post.

BOSSY said...

Bossy is with you. xoxoxo

Stacy said...

hey, melanie, this is me, paying attention to no one but myself for the last long little while. i am sorry for your loss. my heart is with you, and I admire your spirit, and your ability to recognize and appreciate all the small and large joys we are so fortunate to enjoy. sorry I missed this.

Saucy said...

Melanie,

I know the pain that your entire family endures. We lost an infant several years ago, he was precious to us. Take care of yourselves.

xoxo
Sasha

I'm Julie said...

One part monkey, one part divinity.

I have never read anything so true about the human spirit as that statement.

Still praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I've been checking your other blog frequently this month looking forward to your next recipe, and I finally found my way over here.

*hug*

~kt from Canada

Lori Anderson Designs said...

That's so sweet....

JCK said...

I came over here to congratulate you on your new enterprise with Mrs. G.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Your daughter is absolutely adorable.