Sunday, July 21, 2013

A large hole in the world

These last couple of days have been hard. Well, they've all been hard. But these last ones have felt particularly so.

As we approach Cora's service on Tuesday, I have a heaviness in my heart. It's natural for things to reach a sort of crescendo in the days following someone's death, and then after a while, to have things calm down a bit, and in some way, to have life go on. It's just that, for us of course, it can't ever just "go on" again. We will do normal things as we always have, as we have even during these past few dark days, but there is a very large hole in the world where Cora used to be and very much should be, and we are left staring it, not really knowing which way is up.

Our life feels oddly quiet.

I got a photo today from one of our beloved nurses -- she was just telling me that they were thinking of us and of our little Lionheart. It came at a nice time, just as I was reading Cora's obitutary. Those two words together are so fundamentally wrong; no unnatural. Insert child's name here: ____'s obituary. I just believe having to say my child's name, and then the word, obituary, is cruel. At the same time I hated having to read it, I admit that seeing her beautiful face shining back at me from the newspaper made me feel the slightest bit better. Cora's eyes always work their magic.

Dom and Cosie have been weaving Cora into their regular conversation. Poor Dom is trying to make his way through how to grapple with it, vacillating between deep grief and a kind of nonchalance. And Cosie is mostly just trying out a new vocabulary. A conversation in our house today went:

Dom: That's Cora's stuffed animal.
Cosie: Yeah, but Cora died.
Me: Yes, that's true.
Dom: Yeah, but that's okay, right mama? It's okay that she died, right?

It's either that upbeat tone, or his big sad and begging questions, like, "Who will be Cora's daddy where she went?" or, "We haven't been to see Cora at the hospital in a while, won't she be getting lonely?" We do end up repeating the same information over and over again, and we probably will for a long time.

Fortunately there are still some more humorous conversations, like this:

Cosie: I'm gonna marry Wyatt.
Dom: I lost the person I was gonna marry.
Cosie: You should marry someone else, Dom.
Dom: Yeah, I think I'll marry Joaquin (our friend). Because boys can marry boys, right Mama? That's possible, right?
Me: Yep. That is possible.

Dom participated in a quarter-mile running race today. He sprinted the whole way; he was so proud. He got a medal. It was a bright spot. And later at Grammie and Papa's we swam with the kids, dove for things on the bottom of the pool, and watched them spin in circles in a post-ice cream sandwich frenzy.

It's all very normal, only it's not at all.

I am spending a lot of time looking at pictures and watching videos. Never was a child, especially a third child, more photographed than Cora. And thank god. I treasure every single video we took, every picture. I've considered wallpapering my house with them so I could look at her sweet angel face every minute of every day.

One photo in particular, I love. Well, I love so many. But in this one, my Mom had come to visit and I'll never forget, she was putting so much energy into doing this puppet show for Cora. She was practically breaking out in a sweat. But her efforts were worthwhile, because Cora was delighted. She was so, so happy that day. And the picture makes me smile, but of course, it also makes my cry.

Little Shebs, one of the four loves of my life. I'm missing you very deeply tonight.


  1. You write so beautifully. From the heart. Thinking of Cora and you and the whole family. <3

  2. Dear Michele,
    I woke up thinking of sweet Cora today. I woke up thinking of the beautiful words you so courageously shared with us about her final moments. I thought about my life Pre-children, and the weekends my husband and I would spend at The Ritz. I thought about the towel warmers in our fancy bathroom. And it all sounds so silly now, but it made me cry for Cora. And it made me giggle - you brought the Ritz to her. A warm bath, a warm towel, and more love than she could've ever ordered up. What a gentle, relaxing, and utterly loving way to be released along her way. You're all in my heart today - everyday, really. But heavy today.

  3. Hang in there Michele, you are doing so well with life as it continues each day; Cora would be proud.

    Many arms are wrapped around you in love and support.

    Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts through your blog; as we all grieve with you this past week, it means so much to not be cut off after little Lionhearts passing.

  4. All our love and hugs are with you Debbie & Flip

  5. Meesh & Jason & your amazing family & friends,

    What incredible parents you are and will continue to be. So many wonderful comments and the pictures are priceless. Cora touched so many and will continue to be a touchstone for those who knew her and those of us who knew her through you. I am at a loss for words sometimes when I've thought about what I've wanted to say. One thing is that I feel so grateful to you for sharing all of this, for so many reasons. And that sometimes I just feel really angry that this has happened to you and I know it's ok for me to feel that because it is followed by what is underneath, just pure sadness for you. I, like all parents & people who love others, just don't want you to hurt and I wish that I could DO something. But I know all I can do is learn to love more, love without reservation. And I know that I wish that all beings could pass through from this world to the next the way that your sweet girl did, wrapped in loving arms, being kissed & cherished without reservation.

  6. I'm just a random CA mama who heard about your blog from another mama. I have a baby Cora of my own, and I cannot tell you how much your story and beautiful expression of your daughter's life have touched me. I know you don't know me, but I am praying for you and your beautiful family and will pray for you tomorrow on your darkest and most joyful of days as you celebrate the life of your little lionheart and also say goodbye to the little angel (I love your words about the relationship between sadness and happiness). Thank you for sharing your story. Cora was blessed to have you as her loving, strong, insightful mama who did right by her in every way. God bless you.

  7. Sending lots of love your way today!

  8. Hi, I'm Devin's girlfriend's mom, Susan. I read through your entire blog and I just needed to tell you how sorry I am that you have such a large hole in your world...She is a special little girl who gave you so much because you gave her so much. You are an inspiration to Mom's everywhere. You have touched so many people with your heartfelt words and I wish you all "Peace."

  9. Last night when I got home from work the sky was grey and the air was heavy, it matched the mood I was in.. As the evening went on I kept looking out the window- the sky was changing and it become a very bright red and orange color.. Kevin took a picture of it for me. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.. I put in on my phone and it is now my wallpaper. I call it Cora's Sunset.. Thank you sweet baby Cora for all the love, hope, faith and inspiration you have given to me and everyone, and thank you for always giving me a beautiful Sunset.
    I Love you,
    Auntie Re.