To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Letting Go Her Small Hand

The theme continues in the major portion of my life, with my dearest child, my adopted granddaughter. I will legally be her mother soon.  I see her growing, becoming more beautiful every day.  This will be an enormous part of my life forever now.  She is like a sunflower reaching every day for the light.

F. (formerly known her as CG) is Thistle's co adopter who will legally be her father soon. We went to the kindergarten she will attend today. it was such a relief to meet the teachers, see the classroom, and get some books I can read to her about the "first day of school". I love her so much.  I am glad F. is going to be involved in her life, her upbringing, and her education.  I feel okay about the fact that she will be safe if something happens to me (my doctor cannot guarantee a normal lifespan for me anymore).  Dr. C. is definitely in my corner and hasn't given up on me yet, but he has sobering words for me every time I see him now.  I can be at peace with whatever comes, because Thistle is safe.

All I want now in life is for this little girl, whose presence altered the very course of my life, to live in the shelter of my love for her, and to grow up happy, and to keep reaching for the sun, like the sunflower child she is.

When I leave this earth, I will know that I saved a life, that I made a difference, that I lived not for myself alone.  I am beginning to think that is the point of life: to live not for myself alone.  I will protect this little girl and be there for her, for as long as I am able.  I have a good man to continue this sacred task if anything happens to me.

Totally different aside, but I pleasantly made a re-acquaintance with "Professor Pat" from the days I was posting about the Asha Veil murder.  This was an absolute horror that happened locally in 2006: a very sweet, gentle woman, separated from her husband in terms of spending a bit of time apart to sort things out. Asha had a brief relationship with a local grocery store employee (she worked at the same store) who happened to be a deranged sociopath, though of course no one knew this.  She was like me and also my friend Paloma, in that she believed the best about everyone.  The a-hole sociopath she was with murdered her--yes, MURDERED a gentle, kind woman when she was in her third trimester of pregnancy and dumped her on a remote rural road.  She had been brutally bludgeoned and strangled.  Her body was covered in bloody foxtails when she was found.  Somehow that image stays with me most, the final coda of a degradation so sickening that my mind still cannot get around it.

Her murderer, Michael McClish, was married, and did not want his wife to know about Asha, and did not want to pay child support, as he thought the baby COULD be is.  Asha's baby girl died with her...and turns out the baby was her husband, Richard Veil's, own sweet little girl.  He named her Anina.  She was born not into the hands of a patient midwife, living and crying, but silent into the hands of the Santa Cruz County coroner.

Yes, Asha died for MONEY, for the root of all evil, because of the evil heart of a sick and selfish man.  McClish makes license plates or whatever now, because he was sentenced to life in prison.

I have often thought of shelving my two novels for a while and writing something about Asha and the loss to this community when she died.  We lost her; we never knew Anina; we never again saw Asha's smile.  No one knows what her life would have been.  Her murderer stole it, and stole her presence, a beloved baby, not even born, and I would wager, much of the serenity of our community, for a very long time.  I don't believe it has ever come back, really, all the way.  How could it?  There are people who are still angry about it, and sad.

Asha, maybe you can hear me when I say this: I do not know why kind, sweet people get swept up in the underbelly of the world.  Sometimes I just want to say, "Fuck this world," and give up--but there are children to be saved, there are people like you who are annihilated, if not physically, then mentally or spiritually, by the most shadowed souls who hide behind a facade of normalcy.  Because of what I have been through since November, I have felt crushed almost beyond repair.  But I am getting better now, and I realize the "why" of some of this pain: I need to write about you, perhaps.  Perhaps when I am stronger, I will write your story, and I will make sure no one forgets about you, even though I did not know you well.  I do know the goodness of people well, and God knows, I unfortunately know the breadth and depth of the underbelly that captured you and your child.

I think sometimes of you; I hold an image of you that sometimes comes out of nowhere, of you holding Anina all bundled up in a cute outfit, looking at her with the sunlight shining on both of you, smiling at her, Anina smiling back.  Is this your paradise?  Maybe it is.  If I could conjure you from the silence, what would you say to me?  That is what writing your story might be, for me.

I am grateful to be brought back to those days, painful as they are.  I will think about this, and maybe begin to write, to hold Asha's hand in mine metaphorically for awhile.  Could I do it?  Maybe, and maybe better than I could before, from the depths of my own shattered heart.