It’s a hard day for my old church community in Portland. Eight years ago today, we lost Ellie and Quinn, infant twins of members that had been at Bridgeport since the beginning. Their parents’ loss was incredible, but there was a sense that we all lost them, and we did. It was a moment that shook everyone, and we all reacted differently to the same type of stress.
When I opened Spotify today, Bach’s Mass in H Mol was on my recommendations page. I turned it on, and as the Kyrie started, I saw a picture of the girls in my Facebook news feed. I didn’t mean to celebrate their lives in this way, but it made the picture all the more poignant.
My mind instantly went to my abuser, because it’s on days like this that her absence is viscerally noticeable. After the girls’ funeral, I got a letter from her saying that she didn’t want to miss the possibility of us- not in a romantic way, just in an “I think of you as my family” sort of way. It hit me like a ton of bricks, because so much relief and gratitude flowed from me.
It was one of the great letters of my life, because it described in detail what it was like to attend such a service, including small details like the smell of the grass, and what people wore- it was near Easter, after all. She set the scene for me, and her writing was so painful and real that it made me realize how our connection had stayed so strong, despite not always being in the same city; her writing speaks to me in a way that breaks my soul into little pieces, but not in a bad way. It’s just that when she cracks my outer shell, it lets the light shine through. In some ways, she’s a better writer than I am, but I will never admit it. 😉
The brass are magnificent as the Mass plays on, from the Et Resurrexit to the Sanctus. It brings me peace, as if the brass are the heralds of great joy. That’s because in the story of Quinn and Ellie’s loss, there is so much resurrection. Beginning again was a superhuman feat in which we all passed from grief into once again experiencing joy. We had to give ourselves permission.
Just like I had to give myself permission to write down this memory, because the letter and the twins are inexplicably interrelated in my mind. I can’t think of one without the other… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Walking away from creating bad memories and focusing on the good ones is what resurrected me.