First in, last out. FOIL.
"I don't have a name. I don't know what to do. I am not the person I used to be..."
That all resonates with me. The numbness of not knowing who I am now since Sage has died. The way grief has robbed me of the ability to process thought, feel things normally, function as a human being. It has stollen my identity and I don't know who to be. And it makes me kind of fucking angry because I finally felt like I was beginning to know who I was. And now... I feel like a stranger to myself. I feel flat. I feel empty and apathetic and scared and sad and sick and horrified and so fucking lonely for my little girl in my arms.
First. Outer. Inner. Last.
Outer. The first thing I did was get functional on the outside. I needed a place for Zach to be safe and comfortable and supported at home. I needed to be able to provide for him. I needed to get my shit together so I was doing better self-care than I had been in those first days, weeks (months... I don't know) that were such a blur.
Inner. I had to turn my attention to my own healing. I spent some time doing a variety of things to try to tend to my own grief internally. Hospice counseling, therapy, a Grief Recovery Workshop, meditation, medication...
Last. And now what. We have done all of the initial "things" that we are supposed to. We are living through this year of "firsts". I am still not able to see pictures of Sage, or to glance into their room sometimes, or wake up in the morning and mentally inventory my day without one of those short question words popping into my head: HOW? WHY? or simply... NO! A thousand times... the same thing. I know there will never be an answer. It continues to be a shock to my system sometimes. New realizations every day. New "we will nevers..." I can't dwell on them. This is a different time and a different life I am leading now. Irrevocably changed on May 1st 2018. And as we approach the days leading up to that anniversary... I am silently reliving those days again.
I received this message today. On a super tough day. And it just made me cry... and made me happy. It makes me feel happy and somehow more at peace knowing that they touched other people so deeply, that they continue to. I was so lucky that Sage was my friend. My daughter. That they were my angel here. That they still are.
The JC Penney Portrait Club just called to let me know that our membership was going to expire; to ask if I wanted to schedule some family portraits before it did. They wanted to remind me that I still had some unused benefits that I could take advantage of if I wanted to schedule a free sitting.
Ugh. I said "Not right now, thank you." and hung up the phone and cried. I have been dreading family portraits since Sage died. Just Zach and I. It feels so wrong. They belong here with us. Most of the time I am able to deal in one way, shape or another. But the idea of taking an official family portrait of just Zach and I kind of shatters me. God I fucking miss Sage.
💔 Grocery store conversations.
I just had one of those innocent conversations with a grocery store checker at Safeway that I see all the time that just wouldn’t end. It somehow led to “She was 14.” And “She took her own life.” And now I’m sitting in the parking lot crying. He lost a son too. At 19. To a long term illness. His wife made a t-shirt quilt out of his t-shirts, like I’m going to have made for Sage. He was very kind. It just blind sided me. I should be planning her birthday party this week. Fuck.
After Sage died, I started using the tube of toothpaste they had used. I don’t know why. It made me feel close to them somehow. It ran out recently. And it was surprisingly upsetting. Another piece of them gone. I hated throwing the empty tube away. I regretted using it. I’m crying writing this. And even that makes me feel ridiculous. I signed up for a decluttering newsletter on the first of the year. Because if I am anything, it’s a packrat and I have no space here. They said to start this week in bathrooms and closets because there is no emotional attachment there. Makes sense. So I began there. Turns out there is. There are memories of Sage tied to everything. The toothpick for their braces that they never got to get off. The dozens of hair products for so many different hair styles and cuts and colors and whatever’s that I angsted over with them. The elaborate costume makeup that they used to do all of their crazy dress-up stuff. The regular make-up they were learning to use, and it was so sweet. Their hairbrush. Their deodorant. Their lotion. It smells like them. And their toothpaste. Who fucking knew. 💔
It's hard to let go of last year. I feel like I am letting go of Sage. Closing a chapter. And I will never do that. Coop had a rough night last night; overtired, holidays, long day. He yelled "Why don't I just go kill myself?!" Kids say shit. But it gutted me. I hate that I have brought so much pain to other people's lives. I know it's not my responsibility. I know I didn't ask for this. I know Sage didn't ask for this. It just is. It would kill me if anyone else was hurt because of me. I just want everyone to be ok. I want the people I love to be ok. A hundred times a day I have that confused "wait... did that happen" moment. Is Sage really gone. Was she mine? And then I see her. In the closet. Purple lips. Black shirt. Teal letters. Beautiful pastel rainbow hair. Cold. I miss them so much. And I also feel them so much a part of me now. I had to stop reading the "Suicide Under 13" Support board when the third parent killed themselves. I have never in my life contemplated suicide. But I understand why they did what they did. Everything hurts. And if it wasn't for Zach, and for all of the pain that I see everyone else going through now, it really would be a hard choice.
I love what Sage lived for. I love who they were. I am proud of them. I miss them. I cannot wait to see them again someday. It is not soon enough. I love you, baby. Until then I will look for you in rainbows and feathers and all of the other little ways that you make me smile. #sagespotting
i was having a particularly rough day yesterday. The first holiday season has gutted me. And I saw this come up in my Facebook feed. I had never seen it before. It was originally published on the day Sage died, May 1, 2017. The picture is an archangel in all rainbows & splendor. It was a #sagespotting. I love it when they let me know they’re here. 🌈❤️🌟 #sagespotting #noaccidents
It’s harder to organize my thoughts these days, so I’ve made a top 10 list of the things that I learned from Christopher:
Last night, I found this in the middle of my kitchen floor while I was making buttermints. Buttermints were one of the Christmas treats that we used to make together as gifts for people. This one, in particular, was Sage’s baby. They loved making them, which was funny, because they hated mint. They used to do one small batch without peppermint oil in them. 😂❤️ And, there, while I was home alone, running back and forth around the kitchen trying to make mints, in the middle of the floor, was a feather. ????? It brought me up short. It gave me chills. I searched my mind for some other reason that there should be a feather there. There wasn’t any. It just was. I cried. 🌈❤️🌟 I miss them. I’m glad I will have buttermints for people this year, and that Sage helped too. 💖 I love you baby. 💫