Saturday, May 3, 2008


My first day back at work was last Wednesday. It took more out of me than I anticipated. Being with my coworkers felt uplifting. Being in the classroom felt . . . different. Because I am still on crutches, it was difficult for me to engage the kids as much as I usually do. I realize now how much my job involves sitting on the floor, standing up, crawling, following the lead of the ever-moving babies from one activity to the next. It's part of what I love about being with kids that age. Yet, on Wednesday, I felt like I was moving in slow motion. At times I was little more than a quiet observer while my teaching partner cared for the kids. It seemed to take a lot of my energy just to be there.

The room where I teach is saturated with memories of Sage. It is the same room I took him to every workday to nurse him, play with him, change his diaper, rock him to sleep. To be there now is disorienting. It is scary to feel myself so changed inside, but to not know exactly how I am changed. It is most noticeable when I am in an old, familiar setting, and I am so obviously not my old, familiar self. When I got home from work, I slept the rest of the afternoon, totally exhausted.

This will take time. I want to be so patient with myself.

Since then, some things have helped rejuvenate me: coloring with my nieces, playing the guitar with my brother, walking in the park with Michael. There are moments I feel strong and hopeful. I am finding that the one thing I can count on is change. My emotions, no matter how dark or frightening, change eventually. The massage therapist I've been seeing encourages me to watch my pain with interest, with no resistance, and to breathe into it. He says that when you resist pain, it digs in deeper, but when you attend to it with compassion, it is able to change, evolve. This will take a lot of practice.


I cupped my hands over both ears
took a long, slow, deep breath in and out
again and again
until my breath was like a series of waves

and I washed up on the shores
of my own inner landscape

each wave of breath brought more
fragments of myself to the shoreline

I gazed into the broken places and
I saw grief comfort fear
I saw compassion laying on hands with envy
I saw hope reaching out to despair

now I could see where the separate places came together
to make the whole

and the whole was yet another fragment
of a greater whole

and I lay there
letting the waves
wash over
all my unbroken places.

~Elizabeth Adams

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