Trauma – A Perfectly Healthy Dead Baby

It’s been a long, tumultuous, and taxing six months.  In certain indigenous cultures, six months is a marker – perhaps of survival beyond death, or the slow recovery process towards sanity.  At times, I no longer understand the “concept” of sanity, as my mind has become an act of its own, leaving my higher self with the devastating process of observing its scheming acts.  Just observing, without the capability of changing a thing.  For now.  Perhaps that’s where the sanity exists, somewhere in the future, some light years away, when I learn to shift and reside in my true nature, of the moment to moment peace and stillness.  I await for the light to engulf me, to inhale the stardust of the star I come from.  Until then, the world is chaotic and the stories evolve in a dramatic way.  I am Shakespeare and my life is a tragedy.

It’s a process.  A process.  A process.  I must constantly remind myself of this.  I cannot shed years and lifetimes of conditioning and embedded patters within a span of time that fits in a calendar.  But I’m working through it, minute by minute, day by day…six months.  It took death and loss to be a catalyst for growth, for the work to begin, where Pandora’s box opened wide and let the demons of my past come out of their hiding places.  The demons, the patterns, so deeply rooted.  And here I am now, getting to know the roots of these patters, their time of origin, pulling at them with all my might, and trying to discard while remaining grounded.  Once again, it is a game of balance.

I refuse to reside with the demons in the form in which they come.  I have opened the gates and allowed armies of them to enter.  My mind.  My body.  My soul.  From the unconscious to the conscious.  They have been found out.  There is no going back.  My work now is to understand them, accept them, and transform them.  They can no longer be hidden.  But where does the work really begin?

Trauma.

I don’t want to look up a definition of trauma because I have my own.  I have lived my own, and so I own my own.  It is the time and the space where things as we know, things that are safe, become strange and dangerous.  It is where space constricts and defenses raise.  It is when hearts break and the Earth shakes.  It is where boundaries and walls are built.  It is when patterns begin.  It is the root of fear.  The root of conditioning.  The root of a weed, which without control, can overtake one’s entire life.

I choose not to be bitter, sad, or resentful.  I don’t want to become addicted to pain.  I have met my highest potential and fell in love with her.  I have met her in a place of peace, deep understanding, and absolute surrender.  And though I know she is always with me, I cannot always find her.  And so I search for her, sometimes through this rough work of gardening, within the rocky soil, and beneath the hardy roots.

To extinguish the roots, I must know the roots, and to know the roots, I must live the roots.  At least.  One.  More.  Time.

It’s easy to hide a traumatic experience in the depths of the unconscious.  It’s easy to forget.  It’s convenient to forget.  But what is forgotten never really goes away.  It’s always with us, just tucked away under the carpet.  Only in times of stillness, the vacuuming and dusting gets done, and then Boom!  There it is.  Hello!

So  finally after months of resistance, I gained the courage to sit with my experience.

I have been fooling myself into thinking that I can meditate off the cushion.  I made every excuse not to sit …it’s too early in the morning…I have a headache…I’m tired, and so on.  We are the masters of excuses when our mind rebels against itself, or when the ego wants for the patterns to remain embedded.  There was so much up there for me to process that it was simply the intensity of the material that I feared most.  But I was pushed into sitting by my own actions.  I felt myself becoming a monster.  My anger was out of control and other extremities of my emotions impossible to handle.  I was drowning in the invisible forces.  I  attached my pain to anything tangible – my partner, the food I was eating, the driver who cut me off, my friends who were being assholes.  Living became hard.  I was going through the grieving process without really processing what has happened.  I was disconnected from my past because I refused to revisit it.  I subconsciously put a cover over my trauma and walked in circles around what was hidden, utterly frustrated by its mystery.  Within the first few days of sitting with my breath, the mystery was unveiled.  Memories came flooding in, replaying the movie of my experience with birthing death.

And so it goes…

Jan. 19th, 2012

I drove out to California with my best friend in the seventh month of my pregnancy to sit a final 10 day Vippassana course, before becoming a busy mother.  I figured, shit, this might be my last road trip for a while, and what could be better for the baby than a calm and peaceful mama?  I got in my car and headed west.  If women all over the world can work until the day they give birth, then why would I not be able to handle a short trip?  We followed all guidelines by stopping every hour or two to walk around and get the circulation flowing, and never drove for more than seven hours a day.  I was being safe and cautious.  We reached California within 3 days and arrived at the Vipassana center outside of Fresno just after sunset.  That night, right before I went to sleep, I felt Leif kick hard, for what was to be the last time.  I remember sitting in meditation the next morning, knowing somewhere deep inside that something was wrong.  I couldn’t focus on my breath because my mind or my intuition kept on coming back to the persistent urge to leave.  But I ignored my intuition, and went into the kitchen to work.  By noon, with still no sign of fetal movement, I began to freak out.  I called Nathan and he instructed me to go to the nearest hospital.  I waited for Jo to get out of meditation, made a million phone calls, trying to find a place where I could actually get an ultrasound without a referral, and left the center.

At the hospital, we were greeted with a bunch of stuck up people and a too many questions.  They brought me into a room with about 10 other women separated by thin curtains and checked for the heartbeat with a doppler.  No heartbeat.  I asked the woman,” what does that mean?”  “was there any possibility that the doppler was off, that perhaps the baby was in a weird position,” but she just looked at me and told me to wait.  Wait for what?  Wait for the worst?  Wait to find out that my baby might or might not be alive?  I waited.  I waited for almost three hours before anyone came back.  I can account to those three house being the worst of my entire life.  I was surrounded by heartbeats, loud and clear, from all the other women’s babies, echoing through the room, and there I was…waiting.  If Jo was not there with me, I would have lost my sanity.  But she was, holding my hand and drying my tears.  I loved her for being there then as I do now, but back then I needed Nathan.  I needed Leif’s father to hold me and tell me that we can get through this, no matter what the outcome is.  In came the machine, confirming the worst.  Leif was dead.

I had no idea what was to happen next.  I never expected this.  How could I?  I had tests done a week before, showing my body in ideal state.  My midwife told me that she wished all her clients were as healthy as I was.  But there I was, healthy and all, with a baby whose heart no longer beat.  They told me I would have to birth him.  I couldn’t believe it.  Wouldn’t believe it.  How could I birth a body that was still?  I didn’t fear giving birth up to that point because I knew that the life force would keep me going.  But without the life force, all that remained was fear and anxiety.  One of the nurses looked at me and said “don’t worry, it’s not that big of a deal.”  Are you fucking kidding me?  Not that big of a deal?  I knew instantly that I could not stay there, could not endure another second of the inhumane maltreatment I was subjected to.  I called my midwife, who in turn, told me of a smaller hospital, in San Francisco, three hours away.  Everything comes in threes, right?

Nathan was already at the Denver airport, three hours away from San Francisco as well.  We headed for  SFO to pick up the missing piece.  Numbness took over my body and mind.  I couldn’t even dare look down at my belly.  Reality was fused with a nightmare.  It was a reality of lost dreams, the beginning of the end.  I sat at the airport, waiting for almost an hour, while Jo circled around.  I watched all the people embracing, laughing, living a trauma free moment.  Some looked at me, but not for long.  Noone could handle looking at my swollen face, the emptiness in my bloodshot eyes, my enormous, motionless belly.  I wanted to disappear, to spare them the awful spectacle.  I didn’t want to see him when he appeared.  I wanted to crawl under something and become invisible.  We hugged a brief hug, not smiling or laughing, and went on our way towards the dreaded hospital.  More questions, more paperwork, and a room the size of my bathroom with no windows.  This was where I was to give birth.  Not home in bed, not in a big tub of water, not in the hands of my trusted midwife, but there, in the windowless cage, far away from home.  Another ultrasound confirming the already confirmed.  They told me I didn’t have to look, but I looked anyway, hoping that maybe someone somewhere was wrong.  But they weren’t.

They brought in an on call hospital midwife.  She told me that the baby must have just recently passed.  I already knew that, I felt him kick 24 hours before.  And then she said that she thought it would be better for me to go home to Boulder and be induced there.  She suggested that having my community and home nearby would be helpful.  At that point, I just wanted him out.  I couldn’t imagine flying.  What if I went into labor during my flight?  We had the night to think it over, but how can one think in the midst of the worst situation known to a woman?  There was a big black mama of a nurse who would come in and check on me.  She held me as I cried.  She was an angel, I’m sure of it.  I don’t know how or when but the decision was made to fly home and catch the six AM flight.

I took a pain killer before the flight.  As we took off, my body went into panic.  It could have been the meds or the hard reality setting in.  I’m not sure to this moment, but whatever triggered the panic made me feel like I, myself, was dying.  My vision went blurry, while my body was shaking and sweating.  I wanted to scream, and get off the plane, but I also wanted to get to Boulder.  I calmed myself down with cold water and soon after fell asleep with my head on Nathan’s lap, only to awake three hours later to a beautiful, sunny day in Boulder.  I left Boulder 4 days before with a completely different reality.  I left as a mama-to-be and came back a stranger carrying a lifeless body.

There was no hurry.  There was time for a shower and a nap.  There was time for rage and breakdowns.  There was time for my sister to get on a flight from Ct and arrive at the hospital hours before I was induced.  I was taken in by the Boulder midwives, although I have not met any of them before.  The hospital room was beautiful, even more so after my sister and Nathan brought in plants, Christmas lights, and wall hangings to make it seem more like home.  The midwife on call was incredible.  I was grateful to be in Boulder.

By 11 pm, I was induced.  I won’t go into the details of the labor for they are beyond words and somewhat fuzzy.  The two people who I love so dearly were with me the entire time – holding me, bathing me, supporting me.  The life force that was missing from Leif was inside of me still.  I felt myself connected to every woman from the past, present, and future.  I have given birth many times before, I am sure of it.  Leif’s body came out at 6 am, after two big pushes, and hours of intense contractions.  My little boy was as beautiful as any breathing baby I’ve ever seen.  He was almost three lbs, with a slim body and big feet, a perfect little replica of his parents.  The midwife was dumbfounded.  My blood work came back perfect.  The placenta looked healthy.  I have birthed a perfectly healthy dead baby.

I held him, kissed him, and handed him over.  He was my son but he was also just a body.  Dying flesh.  Material that my own body grew.  There was no sparkle in his eyes.  There was no giggles or screams.  There was only silence, and within that silence, I also managed to silence myself.  In that moment, I chose to forget.  Everything that followed was an acute reminder, but always held at a distance, just far enough for me to disassociate from.  And so most emotions that arose thereafter were not related to losing Leif, but to every other damn thing around me.  But it wasn’t until I sat with my mind that I came to this realization.

In the depths of stillness, I found the root of the many explosive emotions, sleepless nights, tears, and breakdowns.  It was too obvious, and everyone around me clearly knew.  But I couldn’t have known until it was discovered within my own mind, until I went down the rabbit hole and retrieved what has been stolen, or what I gave up so easily; handed right over to my unconscious.

I am recording this story so that I never again forget.  I am freezing a moment of fear and hopping right back on the horse, that threw me off, that I bit, that wasn’t a horse at all.  I am sharing this experience as one that forever changed my life.  I am seeing the root.  Sleeping with the root.  Admiring the root.  Conversing with the root.  I am becoming the root, so that I can stop the pattern from going deeper, and from planting other toxic seeds.

I have recognized a pattern.  It appears that the more patterns I identify, the more of them pop up.  It is never-ending, or so it seems – a bottomless pit of roots.   But they have to be realized because that is the only way I can become conscious of all that I put away in my unconscious.  Like I said, there is no going back.  And so I’m ready, in ways I don’t yet know, to find the roots, and transform the demons.   I need to be gentle with most, as they were formed at a young age.  Others are still hidden.  We are an accumulation of patterns, sprung from the roots of traumatic moments.  For me, it is time to awake from the unconscious.  But I must remember that it’s a process.  A process.  A process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rocky Road

As if the grief itself wasn’t enough, I have now been diagnosed with postpartum depression.   I was feeling the intensity of the grief gradually lessening and slowly peeling away, and now this whole new level of emotional complexity has slapped me in the face.  It’s not the kind of depression that makes me want to stay in bed, close the curtains, and become a vampire.  It’s the kind that makes me swing ever so high and low.  I alternate between bliss and gloom.  The highs are out of control, where life appears to be full of amazing options and possibilities, and I can’t wait to jump on all of them.  The world vibrates with color and yumminess.  The lows, on the other hand, are not as fun.  The fire of the drive gets extinguished and I become a lump of misery full of stagnation, surrounded by the theme of death and abandonment.  And to think that this is just the hormones playing their devious games!

I used to hold a theory that we are all moving in an upward spiral.  I say “used to” because these days I find myself running in circles, and even frequently spiraling downwards.  It’s as if I am turning back into a child; one that’s in a constant state of a tantrum.  Then for a minute, I snap out of it, become an adult once more, shake my head at my immature behaviors, and remind myself that this is a process.  Until again, the tantrums come on and I degrade one more level, back to where I started some years back.

I have always been a sensitive person but sensitivity has now gained a whole new meaning in my life.  I cry when someone gives me a bad look, or when I accidentally kill an ant in my attempt to bring it outside to safety.  I scream in my car when someone cuts me off or when the traffic is not moving.  I cry for being an angry person.  I yell at my partner for not being there for me, when I don’t even know how to be there for myself.  Again, I cry.  I push him away.  I pull him in.  I throw lamps, kick walls, break things.  And then I sob, uncontrollably.  In the midst of my tantrums, I turn into a wild animal.  There is no reasoning with my mind in that state because my mind has been emptied of reasons.  The only reasons that are left are the ones worth crying over.

Where are these crazy emotions coming from?  I was told that anger is one of those forces that once expressed, gains power instead of dissipating.  I also read somewhere that the more I reject a part of myself, the stronger it becomes.  But I am having a really hard time accepting this “new” me because it’s ruining my life.  And like I would never do to a child, I scold the one in me, afraid to accept it and love it.  Sometimes I think that I’ve created a child in my emotional being so that there is someone to take care of, in the face of losing Leif.  I’m constantly trying to find some sort of tangible explanation for my madness.  The hormones don’t always resonate with the mind that seeks a more solid explanation.  Where the hell is the off button?

I have chosen the naturopathic path to recovery, hoping to bring back some balance into my life through good old herbs and acupuncture.  I’m tired of running into the wall, and just  really want harmony present in my life.  This has been a bumpy ride on a rocky road, to say the least.  But I’m still learning through it all.  Perhaps the learning is the upward spiral, after all.  The mind/heart space is a deep and complex space and experiencing new depths of it, as hard as the experience might be, is always in some way enlightening, even when the lights appear to be out.  Onward, I move, to see what exists around the bend…

Healing

A slippery, synthetic duvet is slowly suffocating me, pressing me into the pillows that feel like they’re filled with rocks.  I’m tossing and turning to the sounds of the Beagle snoring at my feet, on top of my feet.  More heaviness.  I can’t breathe.  My throat feels like it’s clogged and someone is stomping on my chest.  It’s emotion.  Feeling displaced.  Both, it, and I…

Where am I?  This was a place I called home at some point, for some time.  The room has been transformed from a colorful teenage chaos filled with posters of Weimaraners dressed up as people and the beautiful face of Jim Morrison, to now, an office with two computer monitors and a couch that pulls out for my arrival.  My mother is sleeping in the room next door, ecstatic to have her little girl home, to tuck her in to a bed that was made with love for a sleepless night.  I drift in and out of consciousness, looking for home on this couch-bed, but home was left behind in Boulder, Colorado, and home is out, dancing and being free for a night away from me.

I try to push the Beagle over, to make some room for breath, for blood to reach my tingling feet, and in the innocence of her sleep, she growls.  Why am I here?  I gaze over and next to me, buried under a ton of heavy air sits “The Tibetan Book of The Dead,” and I remember that I am here to heal.   Here to process the anger that has been erupting like a volcano, being projected at home, on home; the anger that they say is the final stage in the grieving process.  But if grieving is cyclical and if grieving is a process, then how can there be a final step?  Perhaps, a spiral into the ether?

The healing has been slow.  Is slow.  I’ve allowed the past to partially scab over, but picking my scabs has become a bad habit.  Sometimes, I just don’t want to forget.  I scratch to remember what I have lost, longing to hold it close to my heart.  Other times, I wish is to forget, but I bump into things that remind me, and the wounds re-open, get dirty, infected.  I bump into babies on the street, or people who don’t know.  I run into people who know but are too uncomfortable to face me.  I bump into smells, sounds, tastes.  I run myself crazy with memories.

I don’t know what I bumped into tonight, in the room from my past or the room of my dreams, but I am startled awake, remembering and feeling; the density of life.  I miss my home.  I miss Leif.  I miss all that never was.  I’m learning how to live so that I know how to die.  I’m trying.

There will be scars, no doubt.  Wounds like these don’t go unnoticed.  Anger alone leaves streaks behind, welts the size of small mountains.  But I will take scars any day over fresh wounds.  The scars show that I’m a survivor.  My heart beats stronger, and day by day, I’m healing just a little bit more.

Writing through the Taboo


Why are we, as a society, so afraid of death?  Why is even the word itself so hard to say out loud?  Death is just as much a part of life as birth, and yet we celebrate one and shun the other.  Shouldn’t death be just as openly received as its counterpart?  And isn’t death just another birth?

I have stumbled upon these questions all my life, but their significance has never become as clear and apparent as it has in the past month.  I gave birth to death exactly 31 days ago.  But in the time since, I have come to notice just how much more was born out of this experience than just a still body.  I gave birth to love, pain, wonder, depth, friendships, compassion, faith, hope, questions, and so much more.  I, myself, have been reborn.  I touched upon places within myself that I didn’t even know existed.

We held a “Wiping of the Tears” ceremony for Leif on Sunday, which was led by a local Lakota Indian community leader.  The ceremony was beautiful and deeply moving, intended to cut emotional ties, and allow for the spirit to move on to “the better world.”  Since the Natives believe in the connectivity of all beings, seeing everything in nature as a relation, this kind of ceremony serves as a soothing balm for the pain of the survivors.  However, it is not about saying goodbye, but simply acknowledging the passing and understanding that souls always meet again in another time.  The ceremony was followed by a purification sweat, in which we All prayed, regardless of race, sex, religion, or age, as a family and a community.  The prayers extended from the micro world of myself, Nathan, and Leif, to the macro world of relatives, friends, strangers, animals, spirits, plants, and elements.  We prayed for peace, health, and harmony throughout.  As we cleansed our minds and bodies and purified our souls and intentions, I came to a still place of acceptance.

I am so blown away by the how the Lakota people regard death, and the way they honor the passage.  There is a deep understanding and open reception of the internal pain that resides in our souls following a loss.  There is also a strong sense of encouragement to move forward and feel gratitude for the lessons offered by the Creator, as well as everything that still remains in our lives.  With death, comes the appreciation for life.

I was raised in a culture much different from that of the Natives.  I’ve dreaded funerals in my life, finding them dark and depressing.  I never understood why I had to wear black, even to funerals of those who led extraordinary and joyful lives.  There have been times when I wanted to celebrate the life and not mourn the death, but my desire was not supported by the culture.  Whenever I mentioned death around anyone sick, I would stun the room into silence.  Even these days, certain people who know me try to look the other way when they see me approaching, avoiding the life-death connection at all cost, and escaping the discomfort that this taboo presents.

The only guarantee in life is death.  We can plan on experiencing many things, but nothing is ever certain or secure, except for the reality that every living thing will eventually leave this plane and move on to another.  And yet, I feel that we avoid talking about it, looking it in the face, in hopes of never experiencing it.  What is it that scares us the most?  Is it the pain?  The separation?  Or is it the journey into the unknown?  Perhaps breaking through the taboo, and letting go of the fear and discomfort associated with death, can create room for more appreciation and freedom in life.  Maybe with shedding the fear of loss, we can stop grasping and start loving.  How can our society open to the reality of the only inevitable?  How do we break through this taboo?

The Language of Suffering

It’s been almost four weeks since I delivered Leif.  I remember being at the hospital and wishing that I was not a part of the present.  I wanted to teleport into the future, to at least a month from where I was.  And here I am now, almost a month away from then, and a part of me is still longing to be in the future, the time when the pain will be gone.  But will the pain ever really be gone?  And is the pain ever really that bad?  I truly believe that the Universe never gives us more  than we can handle.  The grieving process is beautiful in its own way.  It has gotten me in touch with reality more than any other experience in the past.  It has put me in the present moment, even when at times, I wish so much that I could escape it.  It is in the present moment that I can really feel myself being alive.

There is suffering everywhere in the world.  It is part of life.  However, it is the perspective and the attitude that we take on the suffering that manages its intensity and duration.  I believe the worst kind of suffering is the mental kind.  I cannot say that a person starving or being subjected to atrocious genocide is suffering more than the CEO of some corporation, always on the go, always craving power and money, always dissatisfied.  I am in no way a judge in whose misery is easier or worse.  The starving person can have an understanding, the in-depth wisdom that recognizes the lessons and the blessings in every moment and situation.  Meanwhile, someone who we perceive as successful and happy could be tortured by his/her mind, by lack of love.  We just never know and yet assumptions, judgments, and projections come to us so easily, muddling authentic reality.

Suffering is suffering, no matter what form it shows up in.  Pain and suffering are Universal languages.  I am learning this innate language.  I feel connected to those who are experiencing pain, for we share this collective theme.  I listened to Democracy Now the other day and heard a 10-year-old Afghan girl testify against American soldiers for coming into her house in the middle of the night and murdering her family.  I cried in that moment for her loss.  Losing an entire family can be seen as much worse than losing a fetus, but pain is pain, regardless of its circumstance.  And in that pain, I can feel the pain of the world.  My grief is teaching me about compassion.  It has taken me out of my little Universe and opened me up to the world outside.  I am being shown the way to Love all beings, realizing that anyone might be suffering.  With small steps at a time, I am changing perspective on my own suffering.   I’m acquiring a new found sense of gratitude, inspired to be a more compassionate and loving human.

Waves

Three weeks ago, on my way out to California, night after night, I had repetitive dreams about huge tidal waves.  The dreams were all different.  In some, I was drowning beneath them, while in others, I was simply riding and playing amidst these gigantic swells, but even then, I experienced a sense of fear, dread, and anxiety.  Since I’m a very avid dreamer, remembering up to 15 dreams in full detail per night, I take them quite seriously, especially with their frequent reoccurrence.  And so I looked up what tidal waves in dreams represented, and here is what I found:

“A tidal wave is a very strong symbol and can simply indicate that there is something stronger and more powerful that will just sweep us away without warning. It may symbolize our wish to protect some vulnerable family member.”

The first thing that I thought of while reading this interpretation was little Leif in my belly, whose movements have slowed over that week.  I was worried about him and put my hand on my belly, only to feel him give me a strong kick a few minutes later, as if saying “I’m OK Mom, I’m here.”  At least that’s what I gathered from that interaction.  That same night was the last time I ever felt Leif’s movements.

It’s been so hard to look back and follow the course of events right before Leif’s death because I end up blaming myself, questioning what I could have done differently, or trying to rearrange the past that already happened and can’t be changed.  But as I sat up in bed in the middle of the night last night, I remembered the waves, as I felt myself drowning, not only in my own tears, but in grief.  These past two weeks have been all about dwelling in these waves of emotions, waiting for one wave to end so I can resurface and catch a breath before the next one comes in and crushes on top of me.  Did I actually foresee this coming?

At times I feel that life is trying to drown me, that I won’t have enough strength to get through the next sets of tsunamis coming at me.  I get beat up, held down at the bottom, only to come up with what seems like the last breath left in me, and experience a sea so calm, that all feels like a dream.  I am living my dreams, and I can’t seem to wake up.  Life has become spontaneous, unpredictable, deep,  and  demanding, and though I can’t foresee it lessen in intensity, at least I’m becoming a damn good swimmer.

Fears

Nathan half awoke in the middle of the night, asking me what was on my mind.  I responded, “everything.”  That’s all he inquired in between dreams and snores, sensing my restlessness, before he rolled back over and resumed his nightly excursions.  I envied his childlike sleep in that moment, frustrated with my over-active mind.   I had already laid there for hours, watching him breathe as my thoughts raced from one thing to the next, not following any particular pattern.  I was grateful for him then, as I am now – he, the father of my son, and the love in my life.  But as I watched him breathe, I also imagined him not breathing, and the grip around my heart grew tighter, throwing my body into shivers and plunging my mind into darkness.  Fear took over my being as it has many times in the past two weeks, poking my neurosis with the question, “what if something would happen to him?”  He gets irritated when my brain gets consumed with such paranoia, but the fear seems solid and ever-present and I struggle with both, facing it and making it go away.  I’ve become scared of losing the ones who I care about.  I’m afraid that losing everything of value is somehow a lesson in this lifetime that I need to learn.  I’m petrified of being alone.  In the frequent times that these fears arise, I strive to reach deep into the vast knowledge I’ve picked up over the years, perhaps over lifetimes, towards the source that tells me to trust.  I recall the Buddhist and yogic teachings of non-attachment and the impermanence of life.  It makes sense and settles my mind for some time until the part of me that’s human, the part that is so attached to this life and the people in it, the part that’s so deeply emotional, rebels against these concepts.  After all, that’s all that they are – just concepts.  I don’t know how to align my experience with these beautiful philosophies.  I get them, grasp them fully with my intellect, but my experience just doesn’t comprehend.  My heart loves, so deeply, and with that love comes attachment.  Is this the game of ignorance?  Am I completely blinded by this illusion of life?  How do I embody the wisdom that resides deep down, the insights that come from beyond just this life?  How can I learn to live out these concepts that make sense on one level and don’t on another?  The idea of an equanimous mind is lovely, but how can I not  be reactive to something as tragic as death touching a life that keeps going?  Where does the grey between experience and theory become distinguishable?

Questions

I am being haunted by questions, all the Whys of my life chasing me around.  I’m trying to understand this reality, these universal acts that occur without our active consent, these unpaved, bumpy roads that we find ourselves on – Lost.  I long to understand the reasons, the purpose behind each experience that changes the course of our lives so drastically.  Why did Leif have to die?  Why was he conceived, and why did I have to carry him for seven months?  Why is this a part of my path?  Why did we have to experience such an intense loss?  Why are there so many unwanted babies in this world?  Why did a baby that was so loved and wanted have to go?

I always believed that there is a higher purpose to everything that happens in our lives.  I’ve always preached it to those who were experiencing tough times, to those whom I believed were receiving lessons in their unfavorable circumstances.  But now, I am one of “those,” and the part of me that is buried beneath depths of grief is providing all the questions, fighting the idea of a higher purpose.  The part that is my Ego self wants to know why this happened to Me?  What could I have done differently?  What have I learned from this experience?  What has this prepared me for?  I grapple with these questions, this world of labyrinths and its dead ends, but all I get is more questions.  When will my life’s interrogation stop?  How long before I accept all that has been and is, and move on?  How long before I look back and see all the answers?

Pain

There is no hiding from the pain.  Sometimes, it’s the perfect attacker, hiding behind closed doors and sharp corners, pouncing on its prey at random intervals.  There is no telling when the attack will come; there is no time to prepare.  The pain follows wherever I go.  It comes into the shower, guards the back door, rides the waves in music, even penetrates my dreams.  Other times, it creeps up slowly, taking over the whole place, the whole body, the whole mind.  It cuts right through the core like a razor, or a knife,  or a fucking machete.  It brings back the past that I long to leave behind.  There is nowhere to go where it can’t enter.  It can’t be escaped  because it lives buried inside, with the world around only reflecting its existence.  I have come to know the many faces of pain, the unbearable footprint of emptiness it often leaves behind.  But I have also learned to welcome the pain as it makes me feel in times when the everything around seems dull.  The pain makes sense of love.  The pain shows that I am human.  While my heart weeps, I get stronger.  The pain has shown me what it’s like to be a warrior.

Following the Body

It’s getting harder and harder to think in a linear way, to think logically, to think beyond this experience.  I’ve been advised to write, but how can I write when I can’t think?  How can I try to make sense of thoughts that are following the body?  Not just the body that has passed through and on, but the body that is still here, recovering slowly, dripping at the edges with wasted nutrition, now only absorbed by starry hemp pads.  How can I allow words to be written down and follow the body down the rabbit hole, where sadness and grief reside?  The body doesn’t know it.  The body is oblivious.  The body believes it has just given birth, whole and breathing, and now expects closeness of both bodies, closure of something that has been opened.  The mind follows this body, my body, that follows the scent of his body, still residing on my body.  The seams are popping at the edges, craving touch, wanting to hold what is no longer here, he with bright red lips and feet too big for his body.  The thoughts are confused, riding the roller coaster of emotions that come and go, and come again unexpected, like waves, like tsunamis, of tears, of sweat, of breast milk.  They don’t understand; reason cannot back them up.  There is nothing.  There is only a void that gets filled with visions no more exciting, not sufficient to keep the mind alert and active.  The drive for life has died along with him – my little hummingbird.

The uterus is closing, the pores are drying up, the body is slowly healing and shrinking to fulfill the space once occupied, to bring the space back to its original state, before the seed was planted.  The only miracle remaining open is the heart where emotions go and dwell.  This space of love painfully expands, stretches to dimensions not yet comprehended.  It beats, steadily, and in that beat, echoes and sounds reverberate that used to represent Life itself, growing and becoming.  Now that Life has passed on to a place that the mind with its thoughts cannot perceive as real, cannot digest as food, cannot rationalize within this body.  The body is human, it knows only of what it’s been programmed to understand.  There is a glitch in the system that seemed so perfect, that has kept me in awe over the past seven months.  It is a virus, contaminating thoughts which have no mind of their own, which follow the naivety of the body.  How can I think when all appears irrational?  How can I free my thoughts from the grips of error, in life, in the system, in the body?  How can I write?