Posts tagged ‘grief’

June 2, 2013

a mother used to live there

i left my children today, playing happily with their neighbors and friends. their father, competent and casual, was supervising and socializing, and all were relaxed, thoroughly enjoying the sun and the company. i left them, briefly, to travel across town to another home, a home where i’d never been.

i brought with me food that i’d carefully prepared, considering allergies and dietary preferences of a man and a child that i don’t know.  admittedly, i also felt casual, just “running errands so the boys can be boys” as my three year old summarized.

it’s true, it had become a to-do task, having signed up a couple of months ago and some of that raw sympathy having since eroded by our own day to day.

when i pulled up to her home, the sentiment, dormant, hit me. i saw the address, permanent, the cooler beside the front door, temporary, the art projects in the window, frozen in time. getting out of my vehicle, i heard the baby crying from the open windows- raw sounds, as only the really young make.

was she hungry, maybe? my body swelled in concern, betraying my semblance of composure and i had to shake from my head the passing notion of offering help to the stranger i knew would soon respond to my clumsy knock.

he opened the door, bottle in hand, before i regained my ground.  “hello, i’m heather, it’s a pleasure to meet you” i unfortunately said. “sorry” i blustered out, my eyes catching the eyes of the five year old at the top of the stairs, taking me in, taking it all in.

driving away, i couldn’t help but weep thinking of them, those two girls, wondering in which ways they yearn for her, their mother who is no longer able to nurture and provide for them. their mother, who is no longer alive.

i wept for him, broadsided, now alone to raise their daughters, one whose grief must be so complex and one, so new, who might still root, even, looking for her.

i wept for her, no longer being able to join them in their living.

i left my children today, for a short while, and then i came back. i joined my babies in the sun and i wiped the perspiration from their brows. i tucked them in before they napped, held them close when they woke, and aided them, with gentleness, to transition back to our day. i sang to them with the windows open as we drove to celebrate the birthdays of two of our little friends. i visited with the other mothers and celebrated life, in my head counting all the more years to come. i bathed them and read to them and rubbed backs and heads and necks goodnight.

i came home to my children today. our home, where we all live, alive.

February 18, 2013

don’t ever grow up

i offered my baby some solids yesterday and, though we celebrated his first meal, it was also fraught for me.

my husband, standing behind me, made the baby nom-nom sounds when i couldn’t. for, though i was smiling and cheering him on too, i was also rushed by tears and, trying to hold them in, the support got caught in my throat.

our preschooler, initially delighted and proud of his brother, began to catch on that i wasn’t quite on page. after looking at us all individually, trying to clarify what emotion we were to be feeling, he, wise on my ways, made his analysis, turned to his brother, and said: “good boy! don’t worry about momma, sometimes her heart breaks when she is happy”.

he was right, and he was wrong: i was also grieving.

i had selfishly debated introducing foods to him because i, emotionally, am not ready for him to be nourished by anything other then me. he is young to start and has no real nutritional need for food. “why rush it?”, i’ve asked myself. “don’t rush him”, i tell myself. but, the truth is, i’m not. he wants it and, despite this hurting my feelings for some irrational reason, i don’t want to get in his way. life is all over him and up in his stuff enough with his brother and my busy both flustering about while we simultaneously try to adjust with some semblance of grace.

in addition, my baby is a gentle and knowing soul and he has few requests of me. those he does have, he makes well known- no drama, just messages in such a way that you hear him. he taught me early who he is and i knew, from lessons raising my first son, that it was my job to hear, respect and honour those cues. i couldn’t deny his interest and, now, i can’t deny his readiness because, in responding to him, he showed me how he could eat it up like a big boy- complete with smiles and squeals of delight to be included in our sunday morning breakfast.

as my dear friend carly has said, we have arrived at the “last of the firsts”. afterall, he is my final baby and this will be the last time i bear witness to what life looks like, one day at a time.

these moments are fleeting.

already, he no longer squeaks- you know, those amazing and surprising newborn noises- and as the days go by i am forgetting what that precious wheeze sounds like. he no longer reaches above his head, closed eyes and fists, in a milky, satisfied, shaky stretch and i had no way to know the last time was upon me, so i was unable to photograph or video or tatoo it to my eyelids before he matured past that simple act of abandon that babies who are aware of the world around them no longer do. he no longer only responds to my voice, he no longer reserves his lovey eyes just for me, and he now delights in his brother and father’s company as much as he delights in mine.

he is becoming himself more and more, really showing up, and, though his unfolding personality is delightful, i wince knowing that this is equally matched by him growing in body and that he will soon be too large to rest comfortably in the crook of my arms, moon face on my breast. his length will soon prevent his cheek from being able to lie against my chest when we are tummy to tummy. his face will soon outgrow the space in between my collarbone and chin, where he nuzzles in at me before sleepy time.

i know he is born to grow and i want him to. i just want to learn him and know him so well as he does this that i can be of service later, and help him find his way back when he gets lost, back to where he came from, and it’s all going by so fast.

October 22, 2012

twinkle twinkle

there is a family that i became aware of sometime last fall who are losing their young and fiery daughter, actively, to brain cancer. in fact, today may be the day that she slips into the next world, or wherever young and pure lives go when they end too soon.

why i read these blog posts i may never know, but i think it probably has everything to do with awe and respect, for both the mothers and their heroism, and, of course, for the little girl’s spirit and fight.

i haven’t commented or publicly reflected on their story because, simply, i don’t know what to say. i still don’t. i respect the mothers and their family very, very much and it seems empty to say anything, at all, considering i am a stranger to them and my thoughts and words will not find home in any real way. and it’s theirs and it’s private and it’s sacred and it seems no right of mine to touch it with me when it is about them.

the thing is though, it can’t be denied that this is real, right now, and that truthfully, no words can be words enough to comment. and, despite the fact that the gifts that these mothers have given their daughter, and their sons, by honouring their daughter’s living in such a pure and focussed way will never be measurable, they remain extreme, and they are so powerful, and they have resonated very deeply in me and i feel that the time to draw attention to their mountain is now.

it is time because they are so very, very, brave and i hope that grace and comfort find them in their darkest hour and hold their hearts,  so tenderly, as well as the hearts of those people that love them, and i can’t help believe that sending cosmic energy has an impact.

so, i ask that you also acknowledge them and their mountain and send compassion and strength and healing. i ask that you send prayers, if you are the praying kind, and ask that their daughter be blessed on her dying journey, and that they, as mothers, are equally blessed for being courageous enough to love her, as uniquely as she deserves, until her last breath.

kleco, kleco.

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May 31, 2012

called out in the dark

i don’t ever want you to know the noises that mothers are capable of making when they watch their babies die.  or learn that they are likely going to, or have.

i don’t ever want you to know what a mother sounds like cooing to her deceased, or as she welcomes them while simultaneously saying goodbye. i don’t ever want you to witness the speed in which a mother can rush to her child’s side, trying to beat time. you shouldn’t ever hear the raw pleads of a mother begging her child to live again / more / longer / stronger.

it doesn’t matter how old their baby is… never born; could have been should have been but won’t be alive when born; soon after having been born; years after being born; far, far, far away from times of born… it doesn’t matter how their baby leaves them… suddenly, shockingly, traumatically, gently, predictably, knowingly, choosingly…  the ache that manifests from deep within mothers as they grieve their child is the same.

it is a raunchy and sour moan, it is a breathless and crumbling shudder of a scream, it is a fist pounding, feet stomping protest of all that is unfair. it is hair pulled out in clumps, and dry mouths, and shudders, and vomit.

it is a haunting, numb, and stoic silence. it is eyes to the ceiling, trying to find the sky, lip bit, head nodding, making deals with the unknown hoping to find a way to make it all different. it is a quiet and subdued submission when all efforts have failed. it is a broken and frank  acceptance that innocence is no more.

it is a courage that begs them to parent until the end, long after they would have chosen to witness. it is a collapse at the bedside, a collapse of heart and head, it is fingers that grasp for intimacy when close is all that’s left. it is warm skin against cold skin and deep breaths where there are none.

what i do want you to know is the strength that these mothers possess.

the resiliency.

the hope and love and faith and dreams and light that carry on in them as they move through the devastation.

i want you to know that the dull, grey, forlorn eyes that appear hollow and vacant for days, months, years even, they find light that is independent of the light reflected  in their tears.

i want you to know that these women who faint and bend into contortions of grief that can only been seen to believe walk straight again, one foot in front of the other, and even catch themselves with their shoulders back and chins held high, distracted by the gifts that remain and that continue to thrive.

what i want you to know is that laughter can come back to their throats, throats that you would think would be scarred from screams, and that new can fill them up and push out fear.

i want you to know that almost always the already born remain in the sight of them and continue to be priorized and loved by them, despite all the hurt. i want you to know that sometimes, they are brave enough to make more life and other life may be born to them and welcomed and nurtured with celebration.

i want you to know that these women can be reborn themselves and can can emerge with grace that no one could have anticipated or thought conceivable.

i want you to know that if this is possible, anything is.

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October 6, 2010

transition transmission

ironically, on the eve of national breast-feeding week, my son decided he was no longer interested in nursing. as sudden as anything could be it was just over- no signals, no warning, no hesitancy or disinterest previously communicated, no prep, no nothing.  just, done.  and, though the breastfeeding lifestyle was at times suffocating in its exclusive responsibility, it was also one my most favorite mothering opportunities for which i have always been grateful. the sudden termination of my role of provider, in this capacity anyhow, brought with it a surge of sadness.

my husband, as gracious and supportive as ever, offered to put our son to sleep and i kissed my moo’s maturing face and escaped with my broken heart. it wasn’t but seconds after i left his room that i was overcome with sobs… i couldn’t believe that our physical union was officially over. i couldn’t believe he was now, in full, apart from me and of his own self in the world.

it took awhile for my body to realise what had occurred and it wasn’t until hours after he was asleep that, confused, i ached in pain. it  brings my mind ease knowing that my body was surprised too and even that it remains conflicted, as my body, like my mind, continues to process his absence.  though my heart is a bit better off, the body remembers and the physical aches have not yet resolved. at many moments in the day, my body reminds me that it is still operational and, as if anticipating him, swells.  my biology misses him (CT).

i can rationalize all that is normal, good, and healthy about his decision. i can celebrate that my partner can now take part in the ever-special-putting-the-child-to-sleep-routine and share that sleepy bliss love exchange.  i can make space for the awareness that my moo and i are both fortunate that this was led by him as opposed to something i would have had to impose on him, at one time or another. i can be wowed by his mental, emotional, and physical developmental gains. i can be impressed with his confidence and agency.  i can laugh knowing that the only surprise is that i was surprised. i mean, i have had my breath taken away on more than one occasion lately by what a little man he is becoming and how much intention, purpose, and personhood seems to be behind all of his actions. i can trust that he is doing what he needs to do to become who he is going to be. one day soon i know my body will catch up.

so, overall, the ache is improving but, even now, writing this, both my mind and body ache for the intimacy that we shared and it remains hard knowing that now, our physical connection will become more and more distant and less and less important in either of our lives. the silly grief filled parts of me can’t help but feel some hyper sensitive curiosity about what this means now about me as his mother and of our relationship. you know, in what ways we will become new versions of ourselves?  i also can’t help but ask myself if i somehow brought this on by wishing for a bit of space, or if the universe (?) caught up with my efforts to assist my moo in preparation for my return to work, or if some all knowing breastfeeding rule maker (!) noticed that i’d packed away all of my nursing bras, tanks, and clothes and decided that it was clearly time.  it is most likely, thankfully, some reality based combination of moo himself perceiving a shift in me, in us, as i gradually engaged in some stepping back, along with some elements of his own readiness to individuate. it is quite possible that his perfect growing self just grew into his own and there was no longer enough space for my body in his body’s efforts to explore. whatever led us here though, and however we arrived here, soon there will be no going back.

i keep hearing the voice of a dear mama friend and can’t help but see her in my now pained face when she shared that her daughter had decided to stop and commented: “i didn’t know it was going to be the last time”. i can so appreciate her tears now, in a way that i couldn’t fully before, and, though i too didn’t know our last time was upon us, i was fortunately able to capture the way he looked and felt in that last exchange…

like he clearly is, i know that i am maturing too. i can feel the next journey approaching and i trust that as he begins anew, i do too. we begin again…