Saturday, October 31, 2009

Survived by His Parents

A ten-year-old boy succumbs to H1N1, and a family member has died. Another mother and father have lost a child. I read this distant relative's obituary and paused at "survived by his parents." A quiet sadness overtook me. Death is final, but I consider these phrases "survived by his children" with "survived by his parents." If only the former could have been this boy's obituary. If only . . . The death of a child feels like the death of hope. I slump with heaviness to know that when the parents die, their obituaries will read "preceded in death by their child."

I am so very sorry for their loss. So very sorry.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Did I Get Enough of What I Want?

Another blogger wrote a post about the Womens Conference, and in particular the conversation titled, "Grief, Healing, and Resistance." This session brought this question to me. "Did I Get Enough of What I Want?" One of the panelists, Elizabeth Edwards describes a statement she made after seeing her son in the morgue, and telling a friend that she was so glad that she had her son for 16 years. And she continued to explain how she came to see that as a gift.
It was not as long as I wanted, but, you know often times you don't get all that you want, but if you get some of what you want, isn't that great? And I look at it now as a gift.
The tears come because I too see Caitlin's brief life as a gift. And I didn't get enough of what I wanted--I wanted to bring her home from the hospital and continue parenting. I try to transform her life as a gift, only the desire to parent a living child is becoming stronger rather than receding as that transformation continues from debilitating grief to transformed pain of loss to gratefulness for the gift of motherhood she gave me. The question will linger, however, and I wonder how DH and I can resolve it. If we have the courage and means to resolve it. I fear that, well actually, I'm resigned to having some of what I want, rather than having my desire for parenting a living child fulfilled. I'll be OK. I always am somehow--and that's a gift or a curse, to live with getting a taste of what I want, though rarely (except on the day DH asked me to marry him) getting enough of what I need. You know, it's that I am loved enough----but have not found the ways to love enough-------

Perhaps the conversation might bring a question to you. Here's the link.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Will Tell You What I Know

It never goes away. This aching painful broken feeling never goes away.
but, you will smile broader than ever before, because you will know how fleeting a moment worth a smile is.

That's it. That's all I got.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Think This is What We Do

Stand on our own tails to prevent ourselves from falling into the pit. ((((((Hugs))))) fellow bereaved parents.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let it Be

I sometimes listen to music on YouTube, and I wanted to hear this song again because it's still rattling around since that Walaid, Delayed, and Detoured day. I usually open another tab and let some music play, while I work or surf for other information. But, today, I wanted to study the lyrics as I listened, because there is clearly a reason my mind and heart are not done with this song. I was reminded how inspirational the song is for me personally, especially as a bereaved mother. Also, the connection to the religious iconic figure from my faith is pretty powerful as well--beautiful words the writer hears whispered from a bereaved Mother. While I'm ruminating, I catch an error in the lyrics typed for the video, "here will be an answer" instead of "there will be an answer." Well, there it is, a kernel of something new I gained from focused study on something my mind wanted me to look at (though it didn't know about this error), I think that error might be a typical unconscious statement of how this song is used to speak to how the song may have the power to comfort.

Here's what I mean: "There" means, the answer will come someday, but "here," means an answer, and for me meaning, is here already, embodied in melody and voice. Meaning that is fashioned in my mind and heart as I remember Caitlin in the here and now, perhaps as the light that shines on me. And answers are here within myself, as I explore my connections with my religion and my reason.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waylaid, Delayed, and Detoured

Yikes, the day I had yesterday . . . . here it is without a breath . . .

I'm immersed in some new possibilities for my career and I get waylaid on some paperwork and am late to a meeting, an hour late, but I go anyway because when I get in the car I hear "Let it Be," and I think, "yeah, just let it be. You already know how hard life can be. This whole late to a meeting that's nothing," so I keep driving and arrive at the meeting, whereby some dolt says, "You have children don't you?"

"Oh, yes we do. We had a daughter two years ago and she died." And I hear this big intake of breath, but seriously I'm so irritated because "where the hell were you?" This was big news in this group for some time and you were there, but whatever, there are some people who won't remember--they have their own hidden tragedies--and I don't really have the time and energy to get that upset, I mean really, just let it be, ya know. Who cares that he didn't pay attention it's not all about me, and that's hardly the most insensitive thing I've heard, so get on with the conversation and the work you have to do. You don't have to be waylaid by this.

I move on to connect with another colleague and whamie another delay in my "let it be" mantra with the whole,
Well, I couldn't commit, because I'll probably be out in May. . . . blah blah blah . . . I won't be able to do anything until after May . . . .blah blah blah . . . . .out in May . . . blah . . . May . . .

Yeah, I got that, but I'm in no emotional state to hear happy news about a pregnancy and another new baby, 'cause I'm still avoiding the waylay from the last conversation. So I ask other questions to get us off the whole calendar topic, and I hear in my head, "seriously she wants to tell you about her baby, and it's good news so let her tell it, you can smile, just let it be." I pause and say, "But, you mentioned that you'll be out, what's going on?"
Well, I'm, and no one here really knows this, but I'm adopting and I'm waiting for a call to travel to pick up my baby and then I'll have court dates, and I'm . . .
I couldn't believe how happy that made me. "WOW, that's awesome. Congratulations." Ah that felt good, weird and cool. "Well, you already sound like a great mom, Oh, I'm sorry I don't even know. Do you have other children?" OK, seriously me, you need to let it be, you know better than to ask that question, what if she's had some tragedy . . . .
Oh, no, I'm going to be a single mom.
And she get's tears in her eyes, and I feel so privileged that she told me this terrific news and I told her so and I got tears in my eyes. "Well, this is selfish I know, but I've had a crappy day so far, and well, this is the best news I've heard all day. Thank you."

So, I'm thinking the waylays and the delays are over, but when I get out of the meeting I encounter construction and a detour and land on the wrong highway, and look up at a big green billboard for a women's clinic that reads, "Having trouble getting pregnant? Next left." No, "let it be" on that one, first the angry sardonic words came, "been there, done that, baby died." Then I screamed and cried and missed the detour back on to the road I needed to get home. I managed to calm myself down and took the very next exit and turned onto a another road with a sign that reads "Hospital Road," and the swear fest resumes until I turn the corner right past the hospital where Caitlin was born and I am at last quiet.

Letting the tears flow and letting it be, 'cause all my day's efforts have led me here.

I miss her. I'm not always sad. I'm not always in grief, but today my journey had some waylays, delays, and detours. Eventually I did make it home to fold myself into the arms of my DH, tell the whole story without a breath and cry myself to sleep.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

I attended one of the readings of the play/docudrama about the hate-crime committed against Matthew Shepard that resulted in his death. I went knowing that this play was about the death of a child, and I think I went because it was about the death of a child. To hear the story again, and honor the life of another mother's child.

The acting where I attended was fine, but the words, taken directly from people from the town of Laramie, were powerful, sometimes mundane, and sometimes profound.

There were some who echoed the familiar, "Oh, we're past that." and "We've moved on," and of course when the words of Matthew's mother are read, we hear that many had told her these words. "Aren't you keeping him alive by doing this?" I started nodding as I heard this. "Yes," were Judy's words, "of course I am. Telling his story keeps him alive."

We don't move on, we don't get past, and we don't even seek to put it behind us, rather we carry it with us. When someone says my daughter's name, I might get a tear, but know that I cherish those tears, they are what I have of her and feeling that love for her that causes the tear to fall is a gift. Others cannot hurt us with "reminders," but they can hurt us by ignoring our children.

As she read the words of Judy, there was a point where my throat caught, and The script called for the actress to tear up and say, "sorry." The actress did a fair job, though, I knew her children were all still living. But it was OK, I knew intimately a bereaved parent's emotions and heard Judy's words and saw Judy's tears.

To Judy, who I don't know, but feel I do, "I am so sorry for the death of your son, Matthew. I am so deeply sorry, and I am remembering him with you on the anniversary of his death. I am remembering him with you." Peace.

I took away plenty of other big thoughts which I may write about here, but first I have to sift through whether they belong on a blog that is meant to be about my daughter and place of pause to grieve her death. There's an online community that gathered after the simultaneous performances. If you're interested you can read about it more here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Space is Not For Me

I am immersed in my profession at this time. The profession that "pulled me back in" just when I thought I was out. I thought I was embarking on a new road, where I would grumble about the not enough sleep, the troubles with feeding, and difficulties in running those errands with baby in tow. I'm walking to an office store just shy of a deadline by a few hours to get this big project off my hands, and I stop at an empty parking space. And I study the painted yellow blocks with BABY spelled neatly, but the pavement is cracked with an attempt for repair and the pavement is stained. "Fitting," I think, and I continue to stare. Sadly. It's quite fitting that it's empty because this space, this parking place for a road that I thought I would be on, is not for me.

[This post is part of The 73rd Circle Time: The Show and Tell. Click here to see what others are showing.]