Friday, March 25, 2011

Stories

Nolan sat with me for the first time tonight and let me read him an entire story. He looked at the pages as I read to him alternating between sucking on his fingers or on his bottom lip.

"I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I live
My baby you'll be."

This was the first book I bought for Nolan. I hope he continues to like story time because I always have but it has been awhile since I had someone to read a story to.

I also think about the stories of my life. I have always said that experiences are just that, experiences. We decide what stories or meanings to attach to them. This has always worked for me. If there was an experience that was causing me pain I would decide to put a different meaning to it. No matter how justified I might have been in my pain, my thought was always, why stay there? So I would see it differently, heal and release. Choosing to live my life this way for awhile has caused me to widen my perceptions, gain clarity, increase my compassion. This pain is different, the pain of Eli's death. I haven't been able to change my perception on this one, not completely and not yet. I wonder how long it will take? I don't know. I do know that Eli's life story does not end with him dying at 11 days old. It does not end September 15, 2010.

"I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I live
My baby you'll be." - Mommy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"This sadness will not crush you."

"When you experience grief it is important to allow yourself to feel all aspects of it. ALL of it, including the parts that seem 'wrong', the things that don't make sense, the ones that seem silly or small. Do not judge your grief. In most cases we experience things in connection to our loss that we did not expect or maybe don't understand. Acceptance is the key."

"I am afraid that if I let myself feel the sadness that it will never stop."

"It might very well feel like that. You will feel the hurt and that is okay. Okay in the sense as that it is okay that you feel it, not that the hurt is okay. Moving through the grief and allowing it to move through you makes sure that you will NOT find yourself to be that shadow of a person who's sadness has taken over their entire life."

A conversation between myself and one of my clients today. The loss she was working through was different from my experience with the death of my Eli but there were words I was saying to her that I was also in the need of hearing. My next client after her was a woman who was still reeling from the unexpected death of her adult child 3 years ago.

A powerful and moving day of work.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beauty and Birthdays

"The older I get the more beautiful life becomes." - Frank Llyod Wright

I turned 43 yesterday. I neither look for feel like I used to but that could have much more to do with what my experiences have been for the past year more than a calendar age. To say my life had or hadn't gone as planned would be saying that I had a plan, which I really never did. No master plan as to how my life would work but it is safe to say that I could not have guessed how it would be in this moment. This moment right now, a quiet home with Nolan in his swing sucking on his fingers listening to the environmental sounds of rain falling, enjoying the beauty of this moment all the while feeling the emptiness of only having one son with me. But there is beauty in it, in this moment.

I remember when I was 35 and I was having a biological clock crisis. According to conventional wisdom my baby bearing years were coming to an end and I had to be ok with it. There was no man to create a family with on the horizon so I dealt with the sadness of possibly never being a mother in this life. I did it. But seven years later when that home pregnancy test showed positive almost exactly a year ago I was in shock and happy beyond imagination. And then to learn that I was carrying two.......

I posted on facebook tonight "I. Miss. Eli. Period." and a friend of mine wrote back that I am blessed to be his mom. I agree with her completely. Eli was everything I wanted except one flaw, his life was too short. Nolan is everything I wanted except one flaw, he is a twinless twin. And yet I am blessed to know I gave birth to them, care for them, love them. There is beauty in that, not a beauty I would have fully chosen, but it is there, every moment, for the rest of my life.

To find the beauty in a moment, even if the moment is one of tremendous grief, is a gift. A gift I am beginning to comprehend. An awareness of such sadness brings a poignancy and sharp definition to the beauty in a moment, in humanity, on this earth and within me. I begin to embrace my beauty even more fully. This is one of Eli's gift to me, one of many I am sure.

I am still a woman without much a plan even at 43, single and with child in tow but I am ok with that - if "it" is really about the journey and not the destination then I have done the journey well so far. And now I have an angel who I gave birth to who helps me step by step to see the beauty as Nolan and I continue on this journey together. The 3 Musketeers.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pain

I am up late again, unable to sleep - too much thinking. I had a conversation with a friend of mine concerning pain earlier today. She said that pain is a choice. Also that it comes from unmet expectations. Coming from a very psychological view point I didn't necessarily disagree with either statement but I also do not view it as that simplistic.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” - Buddha

Beginning with my childhood, I am not a stranger to pain. Most of us who have lived a human life are not. Without going into detail suffice it to say that some of my childhood was not ideal. I lost an innocence that no child should ever lose. It took me over 20 years to reach some type of understanding and acceptance concerning what I experienced, but I did it and by reaching that understanding the pain stopped, for the most part. I was forced to go deeper and wider than I ever thought possible. I had to express the fear, the rage, and the cruelty of the grief that I had held on to for decades. I refused to let that pain completely define me. Being on the other side of it, I can absolutely say that I am more compassionate, loving, accepting, kinder and wiser than I was and that would have been with out it.

"Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” - Robert Gary Lee

There are many popular beliefs concerning pain these days. The one that annoys me the most is that pain is evil and if you feel it it's because you did something wrong. As someone who is currently in a place of great pain, it FEELS evil and it also feels cruel and hideous but it does not mean that I did or am currently doing anything wrong. There are millions of stories on this earth of people in gut wrenching pain who did not do anything to cause it. As humans we try to put some type of explanation on our pain, take responsibility for it, blame ourselves for it, so that we can foolishly believe that have some control over it. If we have control in how it came to be then we can have control in stopping it? Sometimes our pain requires that we rage against it, move, make a change and then sometimes our pain requires that we just accept it without an answer as to why, sit in it quietly or loudly and just feel it until we no longer do.

"You should stand up for the right to feel your pain." - Jim Morrison

I believe that the view that pain is wrong is short sighted. It is not widely received as an acceptable place to be, as an experience, especially in the US. Many believe that it should be moved out of as soon as possible. It makes others uncomfortable, even those who have been trained in dealing with it because seeing someone in the raw and honest expression of their pain brings up our own undealt with, repressed, ignored pain. Pain is NOT something that needs to be or can be fixed. We, the person feeling the pain, may need help, love, comfort, support, understanding, guidance, wisdom, acceptance while in the pain and we may FEEL broken but our pain cannot be fixed. Pain needs to someone to bear witness to it, whether it is us doing for ourselves or someone else who can hold their own in full view of our pain and simply BE with us.


"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." - Mother Teresa

I have hurt because of lost dreams, babies who will never grow up, unmet expectations, betrayal, lost innocence, the shocking dismissal of human dignity by other humans
, (I could go on) but for the most part I am a fan of humans and the human experience, even with the pain. For as heart tearing, brutal, vicious and merciless our pain can be it never has to be the end of an experience unless we want it to be. I believe there is always something within it, on top of it, below it, somewhere, something is in there for us. Something that we would not have without it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Them - Us

A little earlier tonight, after I had put Nolan to bed for the night, my mom came out to ask me if he was asleep and I answered - "Yeah, I put them to bed. Um, him, I put him to bed."
She had came out to check on me again because when she had checked on me earlier I was crying my eyes out as I was holding Nolan. I had flashed back on the last kisses I had given Eli on the morning he died. As I remembered kissing Eli's little forehead and his little nose the tears came. I still find myself referring to Nolan as two people sometimes, he and his brother all wrapped into one little boy....

Six months ago tonight it was them, the two of them, the three of us. Eli was still alive and I was still in the hospital healing from my c-section. Six months ago tomorrow was the first time I held Eli. They are interwoven together with me. I don't know how I would have been able to be a single mom with twin infant boys but I wish that I had been given the opportunity to find out.


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