I haven't been able to write for awhile. In the beginning, the words coming out of me seemed like a way to release toxins. After some time had passed, the things I wrote felt either too dark or too sacred to share, so I continued to write, but never posted. Then came a different phase, during which writing felt like picking away at wounds that were trying desperately to heal, or at least to stabilize to keep from blowing open at an inopportune moment. Now I can feel myself entering yet another new phase, one that I don't yet fully understand.
I hope to begin writing more regularly again, but today I simply want to express my deep gratitude for Matt. Nine years ago today, we were married. On that happy day, neither of us had any idea what we were in for...the fire that we'd have to walk through together.
I dedicated my dissertation to Matt, with these words, "For Matt, who remains the best decision I've ever made." Over and over again during these last 11 months, I've reflected on that statement, and marveled at its persistent truth. His tenacity, his boundless character, and his blink-and-you'll-miss-it humor continue to be integral to my journey of healing. I still frequently feel paralyzed by our loss of Frannie, but I also feel incredibly blessed each day to have Matt as my partner and friend, and as the amazing father to Ellie and Frannie.
I wrote the following passage just days after Frannie died, and today feels like the right time to share it:
When choosing a life partner, most of us don’t really consider the “for worse” part of the vows too much. We might casually check in with ourselves about what “for worse” is likely to mean…money problems, an illness, etc., but truthfully, most of us (myself included) are so in love and happy that we only have room in our minds for the “for better” part of our futures. That’s why one of the (many) feelings with which I’m overwhelmed right now is gratitude for Matt. I did my best to choose wisely, thinking about all the things Matt would bring to our relationship and about what a good parent he’d be, but never once did I consider how he would deal, and help me deal, with the loss of a child. Holding our sweet baby in our arms for hours, knowing that she would soon die, is something we never expected to do. In those hours and days leading up to Friday morning, as our confusion and fear gradually gave way to understanding and acceptance, we held tight to each other and sat with the pain and the messiness together. I’m so glad to have a partner who didn't dispense stupid, trite platitudes to try to make me feel better. I’m so grateful for the depth of connection we shared, even if forged in part by an almost-as-deep pain.