Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Makes You Vulnerable Makes You Beautiful

Vulnerability--"It appears that it's also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love." -- Brene Brown

Just loved watching this as a researcher confirms some of my own thoughts about the necessity of vulnerability.
I wrote these thoughts two years ago. They seem as fresh to me today!

You must be open to the possibility of being hurt, betrayed, gossiped about, and prayed over
If you wish to receive help
For you cannot be aided in the trials of life
Without leaving your heart-door unlocked and your soul-windows open

Without the cry of "I am weak"
You will get no scaffolding
Without the confession of "I have nothing left"
You will get no match from another who will also bring the candle
of hope to light in your home
Without the wail of "I am imperfect"
You will get no one to sit with you in your failings
making you whole

You must be open to the possibility of being judged and condemned by another
equally malformed human spirit-body
If you wish to be healed of your wounds and
guided to more loving ways of being human
Without truthful disclosure of what you think, feel, wonder, reason and pray
Without willing vulnerability
You cannot be loved

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am Not Blessed

I know that I am not blessed. I was not blessed with meeting my husband in my child-bearing years. I was not blessed with a healthy baby who now is everything I live for. I was not blessed with a birth family who picked us to parent their child. If these are the blessings that some attribute to God, then I am not blessed. Blessings, you see are relative, one knows to call something a blessing when one knows the antithesis. I live the antithesis so that others know what to call their blessings.

People generally, don't like it when one self-describes herself as "not blessed." When I articulate my reasoning, people say to me, "ah, but you should count your blessings." That makes me cringe too. Because what they are really doing is "shoulding" on me. They assume, and wrongly so, that I am not grateful for what is good in my life. I love my husband. I love my work. I love my family. I love that Caitlin made me a mom. I'm grateful that I am loved when I least deserve it.

But, I won't "count my blessings." Why? Because when I'm told that I "should count my blessings, that means that I should be grateful that I have some things that others do not have---and therein lies the problem. I don't like the use of blessings to mean a favor of something that others do not receive. I reject the notion that finding "blessings" that someone else was not "worthy" to receive, should make me feel better. I can be grateful for what I have without feeling happy that others are less fortunate. And by the same token, I need not aspire to having what others claim are their blessings. I reject the comparisons. Once I sever that thought that someone's fortunes--someone's blessings--have meaning for me, then I am liberated from needing to be blessed. I am not blessed--I am happy, I love, and I am loved.

I will not be uplifted by the misfortunes of others, and I will not be diminished by the fortunes of others.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Note for Family and Friends Who Read

Dear Family and Friends in Real Life,

If you've discovered and read my blog then you might be wondering, "Hey, is that woman the one I know?" or "Why is she so angry?" or "Why does she write such personal thoughts to strangers?""Will she ever get over it?"

And if you're thinking you should treat me differently or ask me about this or talk it out with someone else without me there  . . . . it's OK, go ahead. I mean that with no sarcasm or snarky insincerity. Your life and how you may or may not respond to this space and my words belong to you as does my response and rumination of my grief experiences belong to me.

Remember that I love you. Remember that anger ebbs and flows--as do all other emotions. Know that I sometimes don't want to burden family and friends of real life with "such personal thoughts," because I know some might be offended, or hurt, or feel obligated to try to make it better, or try to get me to be happy. And well, I am happy, though it's a complicated life happy.

And this space allows me to express the positive and the negative and that helps keep me in some kind of equilibrium.

AND so if you are reading, feel free to comment or not. It's OK. I love you.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

May Our Children be Remembered this Holiday Season

When our children die, what we have is their memory and their name. We know no words can help us through difficult holiday times, but those who share their memories of our children and let us know that they remember our children are of great comfort. Hearing and seeing our child's name is also of some comfort. If tears flow, one need not feel bad, as they are natural and the result of love for our child, not a result of others saying "I'm sorry." Including their names in Christmas cards and seasonal family update letters helps us weave their death into our lives.  When someone is comfortable sitting with us in our pain, we feel held. And we feel held when others pause, however briefly to remember our children.

May each of my fellow-bereaved parents feel held this holiday season. I'll be hanging my angel ornaments and ornaments with Caitlin's name on our tree this year, and lighting a candle for all those children gone too soon.