later that night
I held the atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
– Warsan Shire
The worst part is feeling your body giving up while your insides are screaming & demanding it keep going.
Stay. Please stay, love.
The first night, I saw her, & the memory of her is so real I can’t let it go. She saw me & reached for me, the knowing smile consuming all her longing. & her & I were in the ocean, waters raging, & I was trying to get us out, holding her up above the waves. & some that were too high would crash over her, & she’d let out a whimper, & I knew it was okay because I just had to get her out.
I remember my grip around her little body.
& I still see her, that smile coming to life as I imagine her steadying herself along the paisley chair, turning around to show her mama what she can do all by herself. I still see her.
He tells me to focus on the positives, because she’s in heaven. She’s with Jesus. He could’ve been saving us in the long run. But to have a journey seem to just begin, & to never finish. For this to be the complete journey. It’s a sharp knife.
& you didn’t even know. & maybe you did. & maybe you’re sitting there shaking your head, whispering this is why you don’t share too soon & you shouldn’t of been in the situation to begin with & here I am, on my hands & knees, asking you if it’d be better to be alone in this?
Because I can’t pull myself out. & you, love. You’re Christ’s body. You’re heaven on earth. & though I don’t want any of you right now, it doesn’t mean I don’t need you.
No divine answers for why I held my baby for six weeks. No comforting me that it was just my rare blood fighting off my baby, as if she were the flu. No Gods plan. Because I’m going to let you in on a secret though I love him this doesn’t feel like plans to succeed & prosper.
Do you know what it’s like to be afraid to go to the bathroom, out of fear of what your body will let go of? Out of fear of watching your baby slip away.
& I unlock my phone & every time I read that it is well with my soul, but it’s not. I’m not okay. This thing, it is not okay with me.
Because he gave me a dream in the earlier weeks, the week before we found out. & I wrote it in the note in my phone so I wouldn’t forget its power. It was me & my sister. & everything she would sing I would harmonize, & every movement she made was synchronized with my own. & though I didn’t see it, she found out in October she’d be having a baby in June. & when we found out our news, I connected the dots. This was what God was telling me. Here is your season. Joy.
That was going to be her middle name, you know. & we knew it was going to be a girl because of the way God had named her. I prayed for him to name her all gentleness, all peace, & when the name Tula came to me I had shared it with him, both in agreement over our Tula Joy, not seeing Gods hand until he told me the meaning he had found. To be tranquil.
& I look it all over & I see our yeses & I see God’s yeses & somehow I’ve gotten lost on this map & I’m not sure where Gods direction left my own. I don’t know this season & I didn’t know this was what all the yeses would lead to & yet, here I am, & the world is unapologetic. It doesn’t cease its twirl. It doesn’t look on in silence. It doesn’t even rain tears. It lets out a cold hearted snow, apathetic to the love I’ve lost.
Here I am, love & here is where it hurts & somewhere in the midst of this, God is here, too. & though I question him, I still love him.
So here is Atlas in all that I never expected it to be. Here’s vulnerability & here’s pain & here’s what the maps never prepared me for. & I know I’m not the only one. So tell me, love, & let go of the idea that over sharing has become. Where are you?