A few days ago I was in Italy, in one of my beloved cities: Verona.
One of the things I am passionate about doing is visiting my favorite bookstores. In one of them, I spent almost an hour browsing the two floors, filled with all sorts of themes and titles. To my surprise, out of an entire aisle on birth-family-infancy, there was not a single copy dealing with perinatal grief. I consulted a staff member – because I was specifically looking for a book on this topic – and she confirmed that they had no titles that dealt with it.
However, she kindly pointed me to the only five copies on grief in general -two of which I had already read. I was also curious to see what they had about disability. I found only eleven books, of which eight were about autism.
And that was all, in a two floor massive bookstore.
I went out into the street a little perturbed. This situation made me reflect on the place that perinatal or infant death has in our society -or the place it does not have at all. I don’t quite understand whether it is that there are no people looking for these topics and claiming them in bookstores -and for lack of demand, they don’t exist-, or if it is that the topic is still so uncomfortable that few people decide to talk about it.
Perhaps there is a general lack of interest and society looks the other way. As if death, as if talking or reflecting on death means being completely abstracted from life and the riches that living implies.
It’s quite the opposite.
I walked through the city overwhelmed by these thoughts. How many people would be out there, walking around, wishing to find a word, a text that could help them through a process of loss?
I have always felt death as an indissoluble part of life. Since I was a child I have thought about this subject, and I have always felt, without a shadow of a doubt, that this passage on earth is not our only existence.
It is true that the lifeless birth of my baby led me to certain questions, but not about the infinity of our spirit. It put in crisis the place in which I could position her existence. Where is she? Is she on her way to come to life in another family? Will I find her again, when I leave this existence?
These questions have put me in a disturbing place, because I would like to think of that image of the deceased baby as an angel who is everywhere and at all times – that image that falls into all the possible clichés-. I would want to believe that. It would be much easier.
However, I can’t.
I believe that all souls have a sense of evolution, and my Luz is no exception. I cannot think of her as a static being that remains unchanging, hovering over that life she did not have with us, and not evolving into another state.
This is what has put in crisis the fact of having lost her so soon, and not knowing where to find her now.
I read looking for signs. I read looking for turning points to understand, to connect those dots of immensity that until this moment I had not needed to connect.
I have always believed that our existence does not vanish but mutates, in another state, once we leave this body. I have never needed to understand what happens next, I simply trust. I trust the higher intelligence.
I have never feared that reality either. And I don’t fear it. I do not fear death.
It just so happens that my daughter’s existence leads me to want to understand, because that desire means trying to find her, trying to know where to find her. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I want to embrace her, physically, here, now. And that’s not possible.
That is why I read these days. Looking for one word, one phrase, with which she could be communicating with me, trying to reach out in her own way, bridging gaps between the worlds.
Wherever she might be.