I have thought about Louise often since then. She has also come to represent the ability to ask for - and accept - help. I've been lucky in the last months to have a few real-life Louises come and help me. My friend Julie, who called me up shortly after the miscarriage and said, "I have a light week. Can I come and be your Louise?" And then she came and vacuumed my house and folded laundry and returned videos and library books. My parents, whose fun beginning-of-vacation visit turned into trauma-support. My mother-in-law, who made an impromptu visit for two days last week, took Elan to the park more times than I can count (his nursery school was closed for vacation), and helped me reorganize my linen closet. This kind of help is such an amazing gift. It gives me a boost of energy and makes me feel not alone even when the day is difficult. It is the kind of help I imagine people used to engage in more often, when families lived in the same town and communities were more cohesive. It is the kind of help I would like to offer more too.
Louise has also become a metaphor for me, a way to think about a certain kind of energy that I know I have inside but that is sometimes difficult to locate. I love to be organized, and yet I am slow and methodical when it comes to getting organized. I keep things too freely and find culling them difficult. The nice thing about Louise, though, is that I can call on her when I am ready for her (today she came for a few hours and made nice progress on the guest room closet), and when she's not around, I don't beat myself up about that. Louise is out on vacation, I tell myself. I imagine her sipping a mai tai on a Hawaiian beach, and I shut the closet door behind me.