I turned to the woman who was randomly next to me. I thought of her face as serious, I thought of her as reserved, I thought of her as uncertain. First impression.
We were told to hold our hands up to each other without touching. (Picture us saying “stop” to each other with both hands.) We were told to hold our hands close enough so that we could feel the life force of the other and when our hands were an inch or so apart I actually startled because I could so easily feel her energy in my hands. Our surprised eyes met and then glanced away. We were strangers, after all.
As the music started and with no words, one of us was to lead slow movements with our hands and body position while the other mirrored the movements. Anyone watching us should not be able to guess who was the image.
I had been studying for 100 delightful hours with a group of women and 1 man as we completed “Let Your Yoga Dance” teacher training at Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I had come to love my classmates and teachers and any one of them I could have looked deeply and continuously into their eyes for any length of time because of the devoted teaching of Megha Nancy Buttenheim. But here we were, just after graduation, in the Main Hall of Kripalu at the public “Noon Dance.” After playing in a puppy pile of love all week this felt different.
I was relieved to hear, “Look into your partners third eye, between the eyebrows. Sometimes it is awkward to look someone in the eye.” We had glanced again at each other shyly but it was not a glance we could hold. So we began safely studying each other’s foreheads. The music surrounded us.
As she was more of a “guest” than I, I politely waited for her to move first. She did not move. In my head I painted her as “grim”. So I slowly started moving my hands up and to the right. Ever…so…slowly. Our hands continued to move and at the speed of a tortoise in the sun I tilted my head to the right. She did not follow, for she was my image… she was truly with me. She was a lazy tortoise, too.
At some point our eyes met and held without effort. I cannot tell you when that moment was, and yet when I became aware of it I felt richness. In mutual acknowledgement our hands moved to our hearts. They rested a moment. We saw each other. Our faces had softened. My first impression was erased and I saw her warmth and beauty.
She became the leader and I was her image and my heart felt happy, as she was bolder with her movements. As the music peaked we both lead and followed at the same time. The song came to an end.
We held our gaze, my four-minute friend and I.
Suddenly our hands went up to our hearts again. We shared the gentlest of tiny smiles with closed lips.
Only our eyes truly spoke, and they danced as our bodies had. We nodded tiny royal nods of respect.
We stepped back from each other, not sharing a word. We parted. Yet today I hold the essence of her so fondly. As a gift to myself I have locked my moment with her forever into my life by journaling about her. I hope she carries a part of me as well.
Keep your heart open for delightful strangers.
The holiday stretch is over, and now we settle in. I ask my darling peeps not to be typical.
As you step into a fresh new year, do not focus on the vices you long to wrestle into submission, the pounds you want to drop, the problems you want to solve; the regrets of the past year.
I ask that you review your strongest moments of last year. Recognize the times when you were the most content; the times when you made your friends burst out in laughter; the times when you realized you were mistaken and apologized warmly; the times when your heart was bursting with love.
There was that moment at work when you spoke with such intelligence; there were all those times when you gestured to other cars to move ahead of you in traffic as you held in place. That dollar that you put into the tip jar when only you were watching; the time you walked with the dog and picked up litter you were clearly not responsible for. I remember when you gave someone the benefit of the doubt, too; and did not create a negative story in your head. You were so magnificent that day, so strong when you were simply offering love.
You had moments when you were the best of men; moments when you were the best of women; and those moments filled you up. So just treat yourself to a bit more of that; do that a few more times; focus on your strengths and use them to their fullest. That is where your power is. Be more of the very best of you, darling peeps. Offer a little bit more of the best of you and see how that makes you feel. Much love to you and yours ❤️
Oh, look! We have a new year coming. 🌲🌲🌲
We live on the most beautiful planet. Darling little babies arrive every day with fresh wisdom. We have doggies to run with and kitty cats to hold on our laps. We can choose to be kind to one another. We can treat others the way we would like to be treated. We are that free!
Make sure the ones you love know how you feel about them. Time is precious and sacred. ❤❤❤
Appreciate your own courage, how well you handle things. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Look for the times when you were your kindest. Sit with the memories. 🌺🌺🌺
Nurture the goodness in yourself and others. 🐶🐶🐶
Expect good things. Wish that good things happen for your friends and their friends and their friends.... and soon the wish will connect back to you. 🌲🌲🌲
Learn something new tomorrow. Share it. ❄❄❄
I wish you a wonderful, happy evening and year! You are one of the best people I know! I promise.
Holidays are life markers in a way, moments in time that cause pause and reflection. They arrive with excitement and celebration, but sometimes the festiveness is dampened by an edginess, or a sadness, because of life changes we all go through. 😥
Wow, I am feeling the changes this year. My family lost three men since last Thanksgiving, two within the last few weeks. My husband’s cousin Onofrio lived almost 6 extra years after a lung transplant, years rich with life. My stepdad Budsie, we had lost little by little in roughly the same 6 years from Alzheimer’s. And the father of my children left as suddenly as if he had been struck by lightening out of the blue; or kidnapped by aliens; clearly placed in the “much too young to die”category by most.
It is also our our first Christmas in sixteen years without our dog, Skippy.
We, as humans, are all going to have holidays that tug at our hearts. No one gets out of here alive. Sometimes we leave suddenly. Sometimes we have a diagnosis we dance with for awhile. Some live 100 years, skating through life’s challenges with aplomb. And we do not know which one we are, or will be.
Line up here everyone, and be depressed!
No. Line up here and feel the richness. Line up here and find the beauty. Line up here and live just in this moment. Line up here with the family and friends who are here, knowing those gone are safe.
Line up! Do not miss a day, or a moment. Feel the joy and feel the sadness. This is your life, after all. Don’t waste a minute of it. Grab it by the lapels. Laugh if you spill the gravy. And grab onto someone and hold on tight if you need to cry. Permission to dip low sometimes; just for goodness sakes scramble back up. Love the world while we are here together.
Mary Oliver says it in another way:
Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
So sad this afternoon peeps, over the events of today. I spent occasional weekends in the simple town of Sandy Hook CT many times in my 20's. Beautiful little New England town.
We cannot begin to understand how this could take place. This is much more than a gun question. This shooter did not gain access to guns and become crazed; he was crazed and gained access to guns.
What can we all do?
Once upon a time the young man who shot so many today was a kindergartener himself. I wonder what happened to him along the way. As a society, did we miss something? Was there something we could have done differently? Were there signs we should have noticed as he grew, signs that he was different or distressed and needed extra care? Was there a neighbor, or a parent of a friend, or a coach on a team that noticed something was "off" for this growing boy but squashed the feeling and forgot it? Did his parents need help dealing with him? Did they need help on how to parent?
If he did get lots of help and interventions, let's look at them critically. If he was on medication, let's seriously look at side effects and follow up.
Right now, all we can do is feel the grief. Then in honor of those lost, let's take a bounce from it. What do we want our world to be like? Let us be that world. In our tiny little lives, lets be the best we can be. Maybe we can love all children. Support all children. Reach out to all children. Donate to causes that help children. Support Planned Parenthood that helps people determine when they are ready to have children. Be a big brother or big sister. Set the best example for our own children. Set the best example for everyone else's children. Maybe we can all be a little bit better, a little bit kinder, a little bit more careful in what we say. "This monster who shot 20 children" (just heard on the news) was not always the monster. I am not at all defending him. I just want to make sure if we could have done anything to stop this years ago, we start doing it. Each and every one of us in our own little corners of the world.
“My friend donated her son’s organs and would like to know who his organs went to - how can she find out - she is still so devastated by his sudden loss and worries whether she did the right thing donating his organs - he did not specify he wanted to - he died suddenly, a young man, just a few years ago.”
Dearest, most generous Mamma;
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful boy. I can only try to imagine how his loss has impacted you, and how it must still feel, carrying on without him for several years. There are no real words for this, I think. I want to know his name so I can speak it out loud. I want to hear how he was when he was little, and how he changed as he grew. I wonder what you most loved about him. How he was a challenge to you. What his favorite food was. Did he have a favorite book. What was the first movie he saw. I know these details live in your heart and they probably do not get much chance to be spoken. That is a part of loss, I think; people stop asking about a very deep, sacred part of our hearts.
It might have been the worst day of your life, the day you lost him. The worst day. A day you were living a tragedy. And yet on that day, filled with foreign words and lights and sounds and the horror of the sudden loss of someone young, one of the dearest to you in this world- on that day, there was something about you, and something about your dear son, that allowed you to think of helping others. That fact shines so very bright to me about the two of you.
Mamma, at your worst moment, you and your boy gave the world your best. Not everyone can meet the world with such generosity. I think your generosity together at a devastating time is the brightest star in the sky of your life together. It was every ounce of what we call heroic. You saved lives when your son’s life was ended. You gave what you could not have. Wow.
We sometimes lose sight of the significance of life saving when it comes by way of organ donation. Let me frame this life saving in a new way, using current news. In France there was a little boy who was dangling from a balcony six stories up. “Man scales building to save dangling child” will bring you the video on the web. If we watch that video we see a man who put everything on the line to save the life of another. If your son saved one life, he is this heroic. Chances are, your son at his age saved more lives than one. For every life your son saved, picture him scaling that wall to save a scared, waiting person who is going to die if your son does not reach them. Please put your son’s life-saving in every life saving event you hear about. You and your son saved lives as if he had pulled two people out of a burning building. Pulled three people out of icy water. Pulled four people out of a crashed airplane. That heroic.
In all my years working with transplant patients and donor families, I found this to be true. Some recipients can find the words to say “thank you.” Other recipients will struggle as they start to write something and then worry it is not good enough. It is hard for them to convey the depth of the gratitude they feel. They may think of their donor and donor family every day, even pray for them, and still you might not hear anything. Please hold the thought: “My son and I are being loved and honored every day by the people we saved. Every day, their families and friends are grateful for the gift of life.” I know this to be so very true! Let your heart feel that appreciation and respect every day.
Please contact the donation organization that worked with you that day those years ago and speak to their family support staff. You can ask for an update on the health of the recipients. Do not be afraid to talk to them about some of your sadness, too. They will understand. If you have any specific questions about your son’s case, no question is an improper question. We would want you to have ease and a solid understanding, so that nothing worries you. If you have some fears about that day, call and ask. Action conquers fear.
You will probably never know the people your son saved. But you can meet someone that was saved by a transplant. Transplant recipients generally love all donor families. Find out how you can hear a recipient speak. Maybe you could attend the next transplant games so you could swim in a sea of love for donor families for a few days. I so want you to feel honored, and supported. You are part of a family of people that have saved lives. This family has walked in your very shoes. If you have never spent time with this family I would think it would feel good. I urge you to try it, even if you are shy.
With all my heart I hope you will be able to feel the power of what you did. With all my heart I believe your son is safe, and he keeps an eye on his recipients and you. With all my heart I think he wants you to feel better.
Maybe he put the idea in your head to talk to your friend about your sadness, so she could ask me your questions, so I could write this to you. For him.
In Philadelphia in 2014 a few attractive looking educated 20 something's had dinner and then while walking on to the next fun thing allegedly attacked and beat a gay couple because they were a gay couple. Wow. I mean, really. This generation? I mean, how does that hatred exist. And it was pretty astonishing ... we are the city of brotherly love! These folks attended the Catholic School just miles away from where I live. Two men and one woman were arrested.
I guess being a woman I was most struck by her participation. The woman, in her mid 20's and blonde and pretty... I just wonder what was on her mind. Had she ever really thought about who she was and what her values were, I wonder. What did she stand for? Why had she chosen this hatred for herself? Same for the men. It is tragic for the men that were attacked but also for our neighborhood and world that here were a dozen or so young adults who were so thought less. Even if they did not attack they watched and did not try to stop what was happening. Had no inner code that caused them to step forward even if they risked injury themselves.
I see people with this code all the time through my work talking to grieving families about organ donation? Families that have blessed and saved the lives of others are all colors and religions and ages and education levels. Their commonality is an inner code of wisdom about what they stand for. I see the very best most loving and beautiful people all the time and they have all changed me and caused me to be a better person. Oh, there is so much hope and goodness in the world.
I say to all those who have little ones at home. Day to day you are shaping your child's values. Every day they are sponges. So live your best and most loving life and treat them like the wisest little sages you ever met. Discuss things with them. Get their opinions on things. And very early, let them make decisions for themselves. Ask them what they think they should do before you give advice. You are simply providing them with a loving nest to grow in. They have to be able to think for themselves and know who they are and that comes with being trusted to make decisions at an early age. Respect them. Speak to them as politely as you would your most treasured friend. See them as wise and knowing. See the best in them. Talk about their goodness to others. They are here to teach you, truly.
I am glad I did not have a cell phone to distract me when my boys were little. I am glad we did not have a TV in the car so that my 4 year old son was actually looking out the window and noticing and thinking as we drove one day. So he saw the people picketing and he asked me what the signs said. Then he wanted to know what abortion was, and so I told him, and once he heard the definition I asked him what he thought about it... and my 4 year old taught me some things from his purity of thought. Those times are the sacred times of parenting. Is there enough time and quiet in your life, enough space, for times like these? I so hope there is.
“To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
So today, maybe we can build character. Cook together. Ride in he car together without the radio. Have dinner together. Talk. What did you see at school/work today that made you happy? Did you see anyone do anything you thought was nice? Can you think of something we could do to surprise Grandma? This happened in the world today, what do you think about it? What do you think you would do if you were there?
Do you know what my greatest gift right now is? That my three sons are three of the loveliest people I know. That other people tell me the same thing, how wonderful they are. I never tire of it. They are adults, and out in the world, and making the world a better place. Do everything you can right now, to treat yourself to that.
The Moon a Year Ago, and Still She Shines
Yesterday I was moving through moon beams. I have been spending wonderful time each month with my parents in Massachusetts. I wake up at 4AM when I make the trip, leaving 20 mins later. Yesterday from my moms walkway, the sky had scattered clouds while stars twinkled through. Orion was in front of me from where I stood. The air was fresh and the degrees were comforting. I took a minute to appreciate the perfection.
Within 20 minutes I had my travel coffee and my little ancient dog was already asleep on the front seat floor. I consider anyone on the road at that hour friends of mine. Co-travelers, watching out for each other. There are fewer of them after the route 2 exit, as people get off and head toward Boston.
Route 84 in Connecticut brought me a new companion. The magnificent harvest moon! For she hung right above the road I was on for miles! She was looking directly at me! She was gorgeous! A few flocks of geese flew over the highway just ahead of me, and she shone on all of us. Sliding my window open I could hear them honk! It was such a display! I was driving through a Disney movie. I was the heroine, finding her way, claiming my space in this world.
And then slowly the sun eased its way in. The perfect distance from us. The day started with its cheeks blushing, a gorgeous pink, a faint blue. A shy start to the day we label October 5th, 2017.
Through all this, the music shuffled in my phone in perfect synchronicity, playing through my car speakers.
This was all readily available to anyone who happened to catch it. Who are we to deserve this? Who are we to be so blessed?
Gifts all around, when we choose to see them.
The pain woke me up about 3 AM, and because I was already the mother of a darling boy I knew right away that it was labor pain. As it faded I lay on my side in the dark and got my bearings. I was 12 weeks pregnant.
Every few minutes it would come again, stronger, and at some point I needed to focus and breath so that I would stay “over” the pain. If you get distracted, the wave of it can overcome you and you lose control; you whimper and moan. My firstborn had been a natural birth, and this felt familiar; this pain, this breathing, and this ability to stay “over.”
I was silent except for my breath. I claimed this as my experience. I did not wake anyone, or call anyone. I did not want to explain to anyone what I knew was happening. I was with myself for this miniature birth. In that moment, and for many years, there were no words from me for this.
Time passed, contractions came and went, and my focus and breathing held me. I felt the urge to get up and go to the bathroom. I took a few steps, and I could feel that something smooth was sliding through me. As I reached the bathroom I could feel the smoothness about to exit my body, and I reached my cupped hand below and caught the miracle.
In my hand was the fluid filled sac, intact and whole and clear. And floating inside was my little fetus, with tiny arms and hands, itty-bitty legs with feet and maybe the hint of toes, and a tiny “large” head with dark eyes. I held a little embryonic world in the palm of my hand.
I breathed. I sat on the toilet and waited a bit. Nothing more happened. There was no blood. The fetal connection to life, the placenta rich with its gifts of blood and oxygen, remained inside me.
I crept down stairs in the dark, cradling the miracle tenderly, close to my body, and in the palm of one hand. I am logical in emergencies. I knew that the sun would rise and my doctors’ office would open and that I would drive over there with the miracle and I would ask how it all came to be.
In my kitchen I was thinking cold was needed for preservation, but it seemed wrong to put the miracle in the refrigerator. One handed, I carefully chose a little glass Pyrex custard type dish and placed it on the counter. I chose a bigger yellow Tupperware container and set that down. As my left hand cradled the miracle I put ice cubes in the Tupperware with my right. The ice cubes clunked into the plastic bowl, sounding loud in those hours before daylight came. I then positioned the little glass bowl into the ice.
I sat in the blue plaid wing chair I had gotten for my birthday. Next to me was our basket of children’s books. I sat and held the miracle for a time in its first and only cradle, the warm hand of its own momma. I marveled at it. I said a prayer to its sweet little lost promise. It was at this moment that more emotion came. Later it was hard to put the miracle in to the glass dish, because I knew I would most likely not hold the miracle again.
The sun rose and my husband woke and I told him we lost the baby.
“Maybe you are wrong,” he offered supportively. “You can go to the doctors and see.”
“No, “ I said. “This is for sure.”
I brought him downstairs and took him to the quiet corner of the kitchen where I had placed the yellow Tupperware, the little glass Pyrex dish, the ice, and the miracle.
Our toddler son woke up, and the doctors’ office opened.
“Maybe you are wrong,” the nurse offered supportively. “Come over now and the doctor can see. ”
“No,” I said. “This is for sure.”
I had no more words for it.
I snapped the bright yellow cover into place, instinctively burping the extra air out of the container to seal in the freshness.
This is only one woman’s story about a few moments in her own life. These individual experiences are so easily dismissed by others at times. Why do you suppose that is?
I drove to my obstetricians office with my miracle next to me on the front seat. This was a tiny office with one physician so a very intimate place that knew you when you walked in. I walked into the office carrying my sealed yellow Tupperware container.
I opened it at the desk.
“Oh,” the nurse sighed. I have never seen anything like this. Now I know what you meant.” The nurse gave me a hug. She went and got the doctor.
“Oh my goodness,” the doctor said. “In all my years I have never seen anything like this.” He would retire after I had my next baby, so he already had lots of years in, and yet he looked and looked.
“Everything looks perfect. I think the fetus is about 8 weeks along. Were you sick a few weeks ago?” He was kind and spoke gently, just the way you would want someone to be.
We had been. We had been vomiting for 24 hours, 4 weeks earlier.
He explained what he thought had happened. At certain points in development a fetus is vulnerable. Our miracle had not survived our catching that virus at 8 weeks. Mother Nature knew, and there we were, catching up with it all 4 weeks later.
The doctor placed the miracle in a proper medical container and sent it to hospital pathology to test his guess and make sure that we would not miss anything that would be important for us to know.
We waited to see if my body would pass the placenta but my body held on to it. I was scheduled for a D&C (Dilatation and Curettage) at the local hospital to remove the amazing network of fetal support my body had created. As a part time emergency room nurse, I called out sick that day and the next, to take the day after the procedure off, explaining what my experience had been. “Why are you calling out sick?” my nurse manager asked. “It is like having an abortion. People have abortions and do not get to take days off.”
“I want the day off. I lost my baby.” My voice shook. I felt instant anger but this was all I could muster at the time. Why would someone be so cruel?
Her heart heard me and her voice shifted.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Take the time, and I hope all goes well.”
This is only one woman’s story about a few moments in her own life. These individual experiences are so easily dismissed by others at times. Why do you suppose that is?
Weeks went by and I thought about the baby we had thought we were having. It was a promise that was lost. Had we lost a boy or a girl?
Had we lost a second son?
Had we lost a daughter?
We had good insurance, but bills arrived in the mail. We received a bill from pathology. We did not receive any report. We paid the balance for the pathology testing that had taken place.
More weeks went by and I still thought about the baby, the promise. Had we lost a daughter or a son? I wondered. Had we lost a boy or lost a girl? We were waiting several months before we could try to get pregnant again. In this time, I wondered.
One day, something occurred to me, and I wondered if they could tell.
Home alone, I took out the bill that had all the medical record information and I called that Pathology Department.
“Can you look something up for me? Months ago, I had a miscarriage. But I passed the entire little perfect fetus, still in the sac. I have been wondering if it was far enough along that they could tell if it was a boy or a girl? I mean I know it does not really matter…. But if they could tell, if it is documented, I would really like to know. Could you look up the report for me?”
The woman was helpful once I could give her my medical record number and dates for the procedure and enough of my information that she was confident that I was “I.” She put me on hold.
About 5 minutes later she came back on. This was almost 30 years ago now; she had to pull a paper file.
“Okay, I found it. Lets see….”
I could picture her scanning through a document.
“It just says ‘Indeterminate tissue.’ ”
“That’s all? I mean… it was not indeterminate tissue. It was an actual little fetus in a sac.”
“I’m sorry. That is all it says,” she said.
I had no words for this.
I shared this with no one.
I did not want anyone else to be upset.
I tortured myself with this fact.
I pictured my miracle in a jar of formaldehyde on a shelf of specimens in a lab.
I pictured my miracle in a jar on a bookcase behind the desk of some doctor.
I felt that we had been violated in some way.
I knew if I had known this would be the outcome, I would have buried my own little sweet promise in a pretty box in a pretty garden. I would have said beautiful momma prayers.
You could not have seen that specimen, and labeled it “Indeterminate Tissue,” unless you wanted to keep it, the voice in my head would say. Unless you were doing it deliberately, because it was actually an amazing little miracle you do not hold in your hand every day. I could understand it might be a specimen worth saving.
We should have been asked, if that is what happened. It should have been our decision.
I was sad for my little promise. I felt that I let my little promise down.
I would be sad when it came to my mind, for a long time. I would ask “Why?”
It was my own, silent burden. Was it a bad thing? Should I be upset? I would leave the earth and my little promise would be alone in a jar, forever preserved. I wanted to know “something,” I was not even sure what it was I was asking. I longed for a greater understanding. For years I longed for what I did not “know.” We are told we can pray about things, seek answers, aren’t we. I asked to understand whenever I felt the upset reach for me. My heart asked, my mind asked; for meaning, for the intention of it all.
Time went by, and time heals, and sometimes I still wondered. Another darling baby boy was conceived and born.
We were driving past the County Courthouse one day and my wise oldest son, now four years old, saw something unusual going on through the car window. There were maybe fifteen or twenty people outside the county courthouse with signs. “What are all the signs for, Momma? What do they say?”
Oh, boy. All the signs were about abortion. He was a wise and thoughtful child. I thought a few minutes, and then I tried to explain.
“People have strong feelings about something called abortion. Sometimes a tiny little baby seed will start to grow, and the woman will not be ready to have a baby. She might have big worries about being able to take care of it. So while it is still a baby seed, a doctor can take it out so it will not grow. Some of these people think women should not be able to do that. Some of them think that everyone should just let the women and the doctor decide.”
All was quiet in the back seat as we drove slowly past the crowded sidewalk.
“What are you thinking?” I asked him.
“I think it is sad it does not get to be a baby,” he said.
In March of this year a little house finch laid three pretty eggs in a nest on our porch. The mother and father were very active with the nest. Three weeks later,
I found a tiny little dead bird on the porch. It barely had feathers. Its holy little body reminded me of the holy little body I had birthed, so long ago.
Even the simple little bird was such a magnificent little thing, its yellow beak and tiny head with little “ear gills” visible on the sides. Little stick legs. Just a dear little thing. I picked it up in a tissue, and actually took a picture to show my second husband. I got my trowel and dug a little hole in front of our house. Wrapping it in the tissue, I placed it in the hole and covered it with dirt and said a little blessing. The structure that carries life is amazing. And the essence of this little bird continuing on…. Yes, that is amazing, too.
And that is what I wanted to share; my knowing of the “continuing on” of things. Maybe there are hearts that need to read this. Maybe there are hearts, like mine, that are asking to know. These words are only looking for those hearts.
For I did receive answers. Knock and the door shall be opened. Seek and ye shall find.
Remember this moment, what I wrote earlier?
I called out sick that day and the next, to take the day after the procedure off, explaining what my experience had been. “Why are you calling out sick?” my nurse manager asked. “It is like having an abortion. People have abortions and do not get to take days off.”
I thought about her initial response, often, for years. In my head, I asked why she could have been so cruel.
One day, on a day that I was feeling wonderful, I just knew these words, about the nurse I had labeled as cruel.
There are always other things we might consider.
She might have had to have an abortion herself, and that decision was still upsetting. She might have wanted to take time off, but could not, because there are requests that are not socially accepted.
“How could she need a day off? She CHOSE this,” people might think they should think.
There are some requests you do not think you deserve to make.
It was a loss to her, a loss she felt she could not claim.
Whatever it was, she had not gotten support when she needed it and so she found it hard to give it. Just love her anyway.
How can anyone think choosing an abortion is easy?
Consider how hard it is, and that there are always things you do not know.
I was sad for my little promise. I felt that I let my little promise down.
I would leave the earth and my little promise would be alone in a jar, forever preserved. I wanted to know “something,” I was not even sure what it was I was asking. I longed for a greater understanding. For years I longed for what I did not “know.” We are told we can pray about things, seek answers, aren’t we. I asked to understand whenever I felt the upset reach for me. My heart asked, my mind asked; for meaning, for the intention of it all.
I thought about this grievance at random times in my head for years.
One day, on a day that I was feeling wonderful, I just knew these words.
There are always other things we might consider.
You have cried out, “Did we lose a son or a daughter? Did we lose a boy or a girl?”
Yes, It would be sad if it did not get to be a baby.
Nothing is lost. Do you think that any promise of life is ever lost? Do you think that each has only one chance? I created all this. Why would I create such loss?
Why would I let any sparkle of creation go unseen? It is all eternal and never ending. That is the promise. It is not complete without the individual sparkles of light. I love that one, and that one, and that one! How could I not have it become? You are such limited thinkers sometimes. Consider nature, for I remind you everywhere of limitlessness.
Your miracle, if it is in a jar, or if it is not, is still a miracle. It was a living miracle of opportunity. A miracle of cells and design and structure and differentiation and promise. It is still a miracle, even tiny, even though it did not continue its growth and come into life through breath. The sparkle stayed with me, where it waited for another chance, another turn, another car, another journey. Or it waited for you to be ready and is one of your next children. It does not matter. Feel the ease of knowing life is never, never lost.
The crosses in front of the church are set out with such good intention. They are set out with love and respect and deep grief for what is considered to be lost, each one representing 100 or 1000 losses. And yet there are no losses. They are never lost. Until the first breath, they are wholly my responsibility. Until the first breath, they are Holy, my responsibility. With the first inspiration, they are in your human care. At inspiration. That is my inspiration. Dear hearts that fight for this, have ease. You are carrying something you need not carry. Breathe. They were not lost. They were, or are, with me. You need not fight for them. The promised gift of them has already come or is coming. Take this in to your hearts. Feel the truth of it.
The women that carry the burden of a difficult decision, for days or for years or for a lifetime… have ease. You simply did not take a chance in that moment. Your chance stayed with me. Our chance did not lose its chance. Your chance took another journey. Your chance may have waited for you at a different time, be a child you had later. Or your chance may live next door. Your chance may be on the other side of the world, in a poor little hut, taking a chance. Dear hearts that mourn and think they took a life have ease. Breathe. You did not and do not have the power to take that life from being. They were, or are, with me. If you carry guilt for making the best decision you could with what you knew, know the guilt is of no value. Know that guilt is never anything I am requiring. The promised gift of them has already come or is coming.
Take this in to your hearts. Feel the truth of it.
These individual experiences are so discounted by others at times. Why do you suppose that is?
This is only my story.
I offer it, just in case you want to take it into your own heart and feel the truth of it.
Things are so hard sometimes, and there are always things we do not know. There are always other things we might consider.
Breathe, fellow women, breathe. Breathe and focus.
Back when I was a new first bride, after I moved to Pennsylvania but before I had any children, I got this amazing sales support job as a nurse. I was hired to partner with a salesman, I will call him Mark.
Mark and I were instantly a great team. He was a decade older than I, so had more life experience. He had been a flight nurse, and was currently in the Air Force reserves. He was smart and a bit of a light hearted comedian; I was more serious but hey, I can be fun. We traveled locally from hospital to hospital. We worked really well together. He was single and had a happy personality, and he would play off that all the time. To give you a silly example, we walked up to a nurses station, the nurses were bustling around it. We were not catching anyone’s eye, so Mark picked up a flashlight from the desk and, turning it on, started flashing it in the nurses faces. This would be annoying, but somehow it was not, when Mark did it. As soon as he got some attention he would just be so engaging, so charming.
Mark loved 50’s music and whenever we had a sales meeting he would bring his boom box and play his favorite hits afterwards. He was fun about it though, a work party was always better with Mark. He started dating this adorable woman and my husband and I would meet them often for drinks or dinner. We played rounds of Chip and Putt together, the four of us.
After three years as partners with me, the company pulled him to a territory out west that was a new target area; he was on an advance team helping to establish business. He became the top sales rep on this travel team. I took over our old territory myself.
He eventually officially transitioned out west to live and work. I became pregnant, and delivered, my first child. Mark sent the sweetest baby gift, these adorable, tiny, sneakers.
Have you ever gotten a phone call where you literally, have to sit down? Crumple down to the floor actually, with a moan of disbelief, or other sounds you have never made. There are times in life that sounds come because words can’t. I got a sudden call about Mark, while the tiny sneakers were still fresh in the box. He had broken up with a western girlfriend. She began to date someone else. He climbed up onto the second floor balcony of the girlfriends apartment while the someone else was there. He shot and killed him. He jumped down, drove off in his car and killed himself in the garage of the company, using company materials.
It was a total shock. I would have chosen not to believe, if that was a choice I had available. I would have signed a list, been one of 65 women to say how sweet he was, how easy to work with. I would have written a letter, been a character witness for him. I had no warning, no inkling, ever. I had no reason to doubt him, and might have doubted any one who told me something I did not want to hear. Mark had a side he never showed me. Who knew.
People do not have to be all or one thing. Sometimes we cannot imagine what we humans are capable of. We can have a successful life and rewarding career... and then. We can be capable of great, surprising love... or not.
I still wonder if the thank you note for the tiny sneakers, with the baby pictures I had tucked so happily inside, was ever opened by the Mark I knew.
Sent from my iPhone
Melissa Regan has approached grieving families about Organ Donation for over 12 years. She is a wife, mother, lifelong learner, and lover of the wonder you can find in a single moment. Recently she changed her life by studying Positive Psychology and Let Your Yoga Dance®. Join her in taking a day to be thoughtful... the rest of your life is here.