anne lamott

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I found out late last night that a dear friend of mine lost her baby. She was 7 months pregnant and expecting a boy. I can only imagine the heartbreak she and her family must be feeling.

I received the news in a message from my friend’s sister-in-law who asked me to pass the word on to the other women in our knitting group. Apparently, my friend hadn’t felt the baby move in a few hours so she went to the hospital. They couldn’t find a heartbeat so they induced her and she delivered the next day. There were no obvious signs of trauma to the baby, the cord or the placenta and they have no explanation as to why this happened. They don’t know what happened, which I’m sure makes it even harder on everyone. My friend’s family has already had to deal with so much over the past few years, why this too?

I can’t begin to wrap my mind around such loss. It’s just so tragic. I am devastated for her. Living several hundred miles away, I don’t know what I can do that would possibly help. No parent should have to endure the loss of a child. I remember a line in Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions that said if she could have one wish, it would be for her son to outlive her. She didn’t know how she could possibly survive his death.

Somehow we do. Humans survive the unsurvivable all the time. But I don’t think the pain ever disappears.

On this Memorial Day, I am thinking of those who served and lost their lives in service. I am also thinking of all our lost loved ones and the families they’ve left behind. I’m especially thinking about my dear friend, her husband, their 20-month-old son, and the son they lost yesterday. I just want her to know that she is loved by so many.

I’ll be hugging my little girl a bit tighter today.

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We’re back!

We’ve been back from vacation for over a week, and it’s been go-go-go ever since. We took a red-eye flight home on Tuesday night and left LA at 9:40pm. We landed in Philly at 5:30am (2:30am California time). Wednesday was a complete waste-of-a-day as we slept and recovered from the red-eye flight and time change. I took the day off work, but I still thought I might get a little done. Nope. I was a mess. I was so tired I felt as if I had been drugged. I was thankful Tim was around to help me with Adelaide because I could barely function.

On Thursday I went to work and then to knitting. I tried to catch up on stuff for my class Friday and Saturday nights (after a week away I was many an essay behind). We went to New York City on Sunday to see friends who were up visiting from Austin. It was a great day trip and so energizing to re-connect with old friends and their new(ish) son. Felix is just a little over two years old, and it was fun to have him and Adelaide together for the first time. As Tim and I walked back to our van (free street parking in Chelsea on Sundays!), we thought about how exactly one week earlier we were walking down Hollywood Boulevard and here we were walking down Avenue of the Americas in New York City. What cultured travelers we are!

Monday night I worked on my class, Tuesday night I taught my class (only one week left until the end of the semester), and then Wednesday night I went to hear Anne Lamott speak about her new book Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son as part of the Free Library’s author series. I’ve admired Anne Lamott since I first read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life back in 2000 or 2001. I’ve reconnected to her after I picked up Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year when I was pregnant with Adelaide. More recently, I discovered Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, and I have enjoyed following her on Facebook (especially during the election). I have very few examples of Christians who are also liberal activists, so I enjoy her view on things. I was definitely one of the youngest people at the reading, but it was great to hear her speak. It was almost like stand-up comedy, but also inspirational. It was a treat to have a literary evening out by myself. It feeds the soul in a way that’s hard to explain.

Now, I’m in the process of uploading the hundreds of photos from our trip. Tim gave me a hard time for taking so many photos. I’ve weeded through most of them but still have a ways to go before I’m ready to share the highlights here. Stay tuned.

Back in the grind of the day-to-day, I did take the time to make a new screensaver on my work computer monitors. Now when I look over I see this face and am reminded of the beach breeze and salt air. Happy Monday.

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