Katrin Greene’s Smashed Potatoes 2020 12 09

Today is a special day. It’s my sister’s birthday.

December is always a hard month for me. What was happy, as I was young, has turned dimmed and desolate.

James, I can never, ever thank you enough. I know you hate the gush. I know you don’t fully understand. It’s fine that you don’t. That I can never actually explain. I don’t think you would care, to be honest.

I’ve lost eight children over my life. The first under horrible circumstances. Tomorrow, the tenth, is the anniversary of when I lost the last one. I lost two others in the month of December. My grandfather’s birthday. My mother’s. What was a month of celebration has turned into a hurricane of emotional pebbles, extremely difficult to navigate. Every year.

James cleared my path. In one conversation, he took away years of hatred, loathing, self-loathing, anger, frustration, nightmares. He made losing my first baby, twenty some odd years after the fact, bearable. I still cry. Still feel the waste of my life. But it’s bearable.

This year, I am learning to say goodbye in different ways. Not just to my babies and my mother. To some of the hardness in my life. Which is why today is special. It isn’t anything I fussed over. Today, it was reaching out to my sister. Showing her that I am still alive, inside, and that I do care.

There are so many faces we put on in a day. So many ways we are told to not feel. To become corporate beige. That we shouldn’t show interest. That connecting with someone is stalking. That being aware of another person is wrong.

Loving someone means dealing with the pain. Grief is another expression of love.

In some ways, I’m giving people the finger. In others, accepting those same people for the flaws they have and letting go. Saying goodbye.

I know I’ve talked about this before. This is me, dealing. This is me, caring, and taking down the wall. I have lots of hard edges that will always be. But I think opening your heart again is a blessing, if you can manage it. And, I guess, in some ways, I just don’t care if someone is offended. Those thoughts might seem incongruous to someone reading this, who doesn’t know the specifics.

I’m hard because I’ve needed to be. Because I am. Because there are things I believe in, right down to my bones and beyond. If that scares people, I can’t apologize for that anymore. I refuse to break. I’m cracked. And that’s all it’s ever going to be. But that doesn’t mean I’m not human, too. That I’m incapable of laughing or loving. Because those sides of me are just as hard. Just as strong. If all someone wants to see is bitchiness, then, well, I can’t help them. Because they will never see the passion that comes from remaining with love of my children, instead of letting them go, as though they never existed.

There are wonderful gifts of understanding my sister has given me. Hard for her to do. So, I am saying, back to her, to you: bug, I love you. I will always love you. I had the strength to do what I did, when we were kids. I have that same strength, now. It never changed. Just got dented there. Hugs, love, and blessings.