Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Heart's Hidden Vault

Yesterday, my coworker, Lorena, brought her son Isaak to work. Usually when he is there, I take a short turn holding him and then pass him on to one of my coworkers.

Yesterday, I was feeling a strong need for some "Isaak Time," so I took him to one of the classrooms and talked to him and played with him. He started rubbing his eyes, so I rocked him in a rocking chair

I sang to Isaak - children's songs and Paul Simon songs. I sang "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," and "Cecelia." I tried to remember the words to "Feelin' Groovy." Isaak seemed to like my singing. He soon fell into a peaceful sleep, both hands clutching one of my fingers. It felt so good that he sensed he was safe with me.

I thought about taking him back to his mama, but I told myself, just a few more minutes. I sat there, rocking him . . . for an hour and a half. I sang even after he fell asleep.

The chair was positioned in front of a mirror, and sometimes I glanced up at the image of myself cradling this baby. I let my eyes blur a little, and I could almost see myself holding Sage. I rocked and cried and imagined that I was singing to Isaak AND Sage.

When Isaak woke up, I took him outside and showed him things - a bright orange flower, the slide, the sandbox, the rough, wooden fence. Isaak likes to be held facing outward so he can
see everything. He gets a very serious look on his face when he is concentrating. Sage had a similar expression.

Eventually, I gave Isaak to another coworker, and I went back to work. Once I heard him crying, and I stood up to go find him, and then I sat down, knowing that his mama would comfort him and that is who he would want to see. I felt a little aimless, and I was glad when it was time to leave.

Last night, at home, grief washed over me like the tide coming in, rising higher and higher until I was submerged. My response to this intensity was to hold very still and not say anything in the hopes that it would pass. But sometimes it cannot be contained. So at Michael's gentle request, I shared with him the experiences of my day and the emotions that arose, and Michael's response was so balanced and loving that the sharp edges of my pain began to soften.

He breathed deeply, which reminded me to breathe as well. I was amazed by his courage and his ability to hear me. He didn't try to pacify me with advice. And somehow he understood that in spite of the pain (or including the pain) holding Isaak was an immense gift for me.

Since the accident, my relationship with Michael has felt both sacred and fragile. I want to protect us from the tendency to draw conclusions about each other or our marriage, which is one reason I rarely write about him on this blog. There are so many fluctuations. We have witnessed each other's pain, expressed in its many unpredictable forms. The ground we used to stand on has shifted and continues to shift.

We are intertwined by our shared loss, as well as the process of healing and the hope of having another child. This is a lot for us to carry, within ourselves, and for each other, and sometimes it all seems so heavy. Last night, though, Michael found the strength to hold me until the storm passed and I could sleep.

For Michael, for Isaak . . . and for Sage
a quote from Bibi Hiyati:

"From the moment of time's first-drawn breath,
Love resides in us.
A treasure locked into the heart's hidden vault.

What can I do but thank you,
one hundred times?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isaak and I are very lucky to have you in our lives! Thank you for being so loving with Isaak, he loves having all that positive attention. I saw you and Isaak when you guys were outside looking at the flower, and you looked beautiful holding Isaak. Thank you again for being part of this amazing journey that we are experiencing with our Isaak. love you, lorena