Rift in the universe

August 10, 2009

I just heard that a friend’s baby (her first) died.  My heart is still lying on the floor and I hate this month with a white-hot hate.

It’s so damnably common, isn’t it?  It just keeps happening to people, and those of us who are already battle-scarred and weary from our own losses are forced to sit by helplessly while others join us.

And it doesn’t feel common; it feels cosmically, horribly wrong.

A very good friend sent me Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet books just after Teddy died, and I am still grateful for the comfort they brought me.  A Wind in the Door was the first book of L’Engle’s I ever read, and I loved it with all of my young, trying-to-figure-things-out heart.  It’s full of the importance of names, the importance of love, the importance of hope, but it’s a frightening book in many ways.  Evil is personified in Echthroi, who anhilate bits of the universe – stars, mitochondria, people – by Xing them, un-naming them.

It felt like something was deeply wrong with the universe, when Teddy died.  And even though I can look at it in a thousand different ways now, in the very beginning the only thing that made sense to me was that some giant, nihilistic evil had played a role in my child’s death.  Maybe I needed him to matter that much; or maybe I was being narcissistic in my grief, or maybe my vision was just so filled by his loss that his death couldn’t have felt like anything but a cosmic wrong.  In any case, re-reading A Wind in the Door gave me a framework for loss that has stayed with me.

There’s point in the book where the protagonist sees an Ecthros for the first time, ripping a hole in a galaxy.  And right now I feel like I’ve just seen a hole, another one, torn out of the galaxy.

And right now there is another mother keening in grief and shock and pain.  She’s an online friend, someone I met long before I came to write about my grief in this space, and she lives far away.  And all I can do for the moment is send her love.  I do it eagerly, but it’s so damned little.  Even if I could do her grocery shopping, make sure she has boxes and boxes of soft tissues, take out her garbage and sit and listen, it would still be too little.

Damn it.



  1. So sorry about your friend, I hate hearing of new losses. Sending love to you both.

  2. I so absolutely hate to hear such news.
    I am so sorry, Erica.

  3. Oh no. I just hate this. Takes the wind out of my sails all over again. You mean this still happens? And now to our friends, not just random strangers? It is not fair. Send on our loves. Tell her she’s not alone.

  4. Damn it is right! I’m so sorry. No words…

  5. Oh that is just heartbreaking. When I think about the shock and raw pain of those first days, and think about someone else going through it (I can’t even imagine it being a friend), it makes me nauseous. I am so so sorry.

  6. Too many of us…

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