New life and death

Wrote this earlier in the week – it’s been a hard one between a funeral, a bout of gastro for me, and a lot of other stressful events and appointments. Glad it’s done and to have Rose home again after her quick interstate visit for the funeral. 

We had our beautiful baby shower on Saturday, and woke on Sunday to the call saying Rose’s Gran has died. We are all tired, physically tired after preparing for a big event, and emotionally tired from so many feelings and people and connections. Yesterday Rose went back to the venue to clean and collect the last of our gear, Star cleaned out our car from front to back including the gear ruined by leaking seals in the boot, and I cooked and washed dishes and cleared and reorganised our pantry. I am very sore and very tired, but all the displacement activity has helped ground me. There was sweet beef curry for dinner, a family recipe which was comforting, and a fresh batch of banana muffins for lunches.

It has been a slow, sad day. We three have moved mostly in our own spheres, awkwardly when we are together. Moments of connection are easily fractured by misunderstandings, miscommunication, frustration as words won’t come or fit together right. We are still defining ourselves as a family, defining our culture. I’ve laid a blanket over the day, soothing the anxiety: it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be out of sorts. You don’t have to pretend to be anything else. It’s okay to need time alone, to need company, to need both.

Zoe spent the morning jumping up on everyone and constantly wanting to go outside and come back in again. When I woke up I was able to bring some soothing to her energy and we realised she was trying to tell us she was cold. Rose and I packed her bed with an extra wool blanket and a pillow and Zoe settled at once. I could only be soothing because when I woke early this morning, sleep deprived and in pain, it was Rose who wiped away my tears and calmed me back to sleep. Peace and gentleness like a baton we hand between us in relay. And in that peace, all the things we couldn’t hear a moment ago suddenly make sense, like finding the radio station clearly between the static.

New South Wales is currently buried under storms, with the airport half closed and many evacuations in place. We have just learned that the funeral is planned for this Thursday, and we are changing plans and rearranging appointments so that Rose can attend.

But in among all the heavy weight of grief, I want to take a moment to acknowledge our baby shower, which was simply beautiful. We both felt very vulnerable that morning, but our people who could be there embraced both the silly games and the moments of ritual and connection. We were very loved up, and despite lots of sickness and cancellations and worries, it all turned out as good as it possibly could. It’s been a long time coming for us both, and it was precious. We’re in the last months of pregnancy and taking each day as it comes, looking for windows to enjoy it and delight in it between the troubles and discomforts. Celebrating with our tribe was a very important milestone for us. ❤

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