When I say, “I miss my babies”
it isn’t in a way I’ve missed before.
It’s as though the corners of my soul were cut off.
It’s as though the most intimate, truest particles of my heart
It’s as though my brain lost the magic in its waves
but instead of flat lining –
it kept going.
I miss them in a way that makes me feel
altered, incomplete, unwhole and irrevocably changed.
And in the depth of the missing,
in the longing,
I realize that my soul grew larger when I carried them.
I realize that my heart had more particles
and that my brain had entertained in new ways.
I realize that they have expanded my capacity for love.
Their absence is an echoing reminder of the new largeness within my heart.
I love them in ways I could never have explained.
Now when I hear the words of other mothers saying
how much they love their children,
I understand why ‘love’ feels like a nearly insignificant descriptor.
I understand that words could never really encompass
the depth, breadth, or width of connection to my children.
So, with simultaneous strokes,
I am missing and loving in opposite directions.
I am expanding.
I am bigger in this weakness.
I am unendingly tied to them.
The shortness of their lives,
the brevity with which they existed on earth,
the length of time we were given,
is not comparable to the intensity with which I know, feel, and experience love
and missing them.
They were more than a flicker,
more than a flame,
and I wish the world had gotten the chance to know them like I did.
I wish that you had all seen their faces too –
not the photoed version, because it lacks truth –
but the one burned in my brain.
I wish this because when all I have are the simple words: “I miss my babies,”
you wouldn’t want to cock your head to the side,
pat my shoulder,
and with a small frown say, “I know.”
Instead, you would be awe-struck,
as though the words could express justly what it means to miss them.
You would feel breathless, encountered by searing truth.
You would feel emblazoned with understanding.
And then …
in the sun rising,
in the rain falling,
in the mundaneness of hours passing …
I would still miss them.
you could put your hand on my heart
and feel the edges of my torn soul
and they would be missed the world over.
Then the love for them would bounce through the skies,
and land like a kiss on their cheeks
blown from an impossible distance
unfazed by the separation of time or space
By Tiffany Kann
I've been writing so much in the last few weeks. It is hard to know what to share, what to mull over, and what to keep for myself. But, in the end the goal of restarting this blog was to be open and raw in case someone else needs to hear the words pouring out of me. In case, by some chance, in some way, this is how I can continue to share the love that Finnian and Maisie brought to this world.
After we lost Rachael, I wrote a lot poetry. I stopped writing as much poetry after college, after her case was resolved. Just a poem here or there but not with any intentional editing. In the time that I did write though, the poems just flooded my senses. Recently, the same thing is happening... especially in the mornings, when I sit with my coffee and think about what I wish I could tell the twins, or if not them directly what I could say about them. Robert Frost said, "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." I think that is true. Here is one of the poems I wrote this week. It is but an attempt to explain why I keep writing right now.
More Than Words
If I could express how much I love you,
If the words could cascade from my mouth
like a raging waterfall
desperate to reach the ground -
over the cliff of my lips,
like torrents of water
shaping the earth with the message
of how much, how strongly, how deeply
my love runs for you -
If the words could begin to shape
the exact size of my love for you,
if they could carry the weight
in a way that would
create a bridge over the chasm
Then maybe, this endless hole in my heart
that runs through my core,
would not echo with such deafening
If my words, imperfectly stated, could still reach you
then maybe I’d hear your response,
if even in a dribbling,
slight swooshing sound,
like a gentle creek
in the voices I long to hear,
Maybe the sky would open,
maybe heaven would sit lower
beneath the clouds
so we could whisper back and forth:
“I love you, baby”
“I love you, mommy”
and every word ever said
would not have been truer
by: Tiffany Kann
My eyes flashed open this morning with the spinning thoughts of things I didn’t say eleven years ago. Even with time these things don’t go away. I’ve learned enough to know that all grief is different – that there is some similarity in the names to our emotions but that it isn’t experienced the same for everyone. I can tell you, for me, my family, and many members of the other families impacted that day, that time does not heal all wounds. The wounds do change, they do make room for new life (as I mentioned in my earlier post), but there are times where they still throb and ache. Today is one of those times. I allow myself to sob because I believe it helps cleanse the soul.
If you see my mom or my dad or my sister today please be extra kind. Please don’t make a big deal because that makes things uncomfortable, but just be extra kind. Or if you come across someone else that has suffered loss, has been the unfortunate victim of cruelty, or even someone whose story you don’t know, please just be extra kind today.
I used to write poetry in the early years of my grief. Not only was it my undergraduate major but a way of processing and releasing. I stopped writing poetry after we caught my sister’s murderer … I hope that changes one day. Below is a poem published in Carpe Articulum in 2011 that reminds me (and hopefully my family and the others) that there is still a piece of our loved ones with us always, and that death does not conquer life.
A Separated Existence
Intensity furrows the brow
that stares back from flat glass
and she is searching me searching her
for a sign of existence.
We sit staring at my dark circled eyes
and empty gaze
between the space before my breath
meets her glassy face.
Crouched across the countertop
I remember when the only image
that proved me
When we as little girls stared
into each other’s faces
and balanced the circles on our palms.
During nameless games we took off
running the opposite direction
and collided on the other side of the wall.
With our fingers wrapped
in each other’s we went running
to the back bedroom -
to dolls, to imagination.
And you and I would create
their fragile lives, and they would
complete each other
from day one till the end of time.
I search now this face
to look for dents from your forehead,
her eyes move with mine
and we cannot see you.
I can’t stare at her
lonely face anymore.
I can’t stare at eyes that reflect
a soul depleted from your absence.
So I crawl down from my countertop
and place these cold feet
on the carpet floor – as I am turning,
I see your expression cross my face.
And I am plastered to this glass
writing the story of how
we hung on past death.
* ps the artwork combined with these poems was really lovely and if I can figure out how to upload the photo (all rights reserved) I will do so.
Hi, I'm Tiffany. I believe in the power of stories to connect us to each other. I write about life after loss and all the love, longing, and learning that comes from it. Grief is big, love is bigger. My newest stories are about motherhood (after both infertility and loss). In my experience, love doesn't get bigger than motherhood.
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