Monday, November 24, 2008

Love will Endure

If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation...
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure - if I can let you go.

--May Sarton

Things keep shifting, yes? I want to write about the epiphany I had a few weeks ago when I finally found I could put the co-sleeper and the Jumperoo in the closet, and how happy I was to find that my connection with Sage is not about these things.

I want to write about the kindness of friends who have looked tenderly at Sage's photo album or gently touched the memory quilt, or who sat with me while I cried... or cried with me.

I want to write about gratitude, but in this moment all I can think is . . . LOOK at him! Look at how he stuck out his tongue, and how his hand rested so casually on mine. Look at how much I loved being his mama!

Thanksgiving is the 8-month anniversary of the accident.

I hold on AND I let go . . .
and love endures.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

-- Wendell Berry

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Where to Go

Since losing Sage, I have encountered quite a few women who have experienced pregnancy loss, and one thing I have heard over and over is how the baby, which was so very real to them, was not exactly real to most people around them, and so there is sometimes less acknowledgment of the loss. It is almost invisible.

If the loss was early on, there may be a question of whether or not to have a memorial service, and so often parents miss out on that communal ritual. With late-term losses sometimes the hospital will whisk away the baby without giving the parents time to see, hold and connect with their child. Thankfully, this is changing. Now many (but not all) hospitals offer parents time to be with their child.

There is also a network of volunteer photographers who are part of an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, that does bereavement photography - photos of the parents and child together, documenting the bond that would have otherwise remained unseen and unshared.

Another thing I have heard from mothers who have experienced pregnancy loss, is that many people assume that the words "You are young. You'll get pregnant again," are comforting. For many mothers, these words utterly miss the point. Yes, maybe she will have another child, but that doesn't lessen the loss of this unique and precious child.

And in addition to losing a child, parents lose the dreams, hopes, and wishes for that child. They go home to a thoughtfully decorated nursery with empty arms.

I want to share a poem written by my friend, Liz, after she miscarried her baby. I am so touched by the simple, beautiful honesty of this poem, and of Liz herself, whose heart is very tender and open to life.

Where to go
(For our unknown love)

You grow and grow
You hope and wish
You plan and question
You grow and grow
You kiss and talk
You love and look
You grow and grow
You pray and sing
You rub and comfort
You grow and grow
And love grows and grows
And each day all of it multiplies by hundreds and thousands
And then one day it's all gone except love and prayers
Your hopes and wishes
And planning and questioning
And kissing and talking and looking
And singing and rubbing
And comforting and growing
And all that is left is tons of love with no where to go but in prayers

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Unknown Between Us

A message of love to my husband, who is on
retreat in Maui for the next three weeks.

With respect
And reverence
That the unknown
Between us
Might flower
Into discovery
And lead us
The familiar field
Blind with the weed
Of weariness
And the old walls
Of habit.

-John O'Donohue

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Strange Conviction

Sarah and Jessie

I haven't written about Dad for a while. Yet, I think of him daily, especially now that it is autumn, his favorite time of year. So many small things remind me of him. A few days ago, my teaching partner and I took the kids out to the field behind the school and we played beneath the trees, throwing handfuls of yellow leaves in the air. As the leaves rained down on my head, I thought of Dad.

I remember when we were kids, Levi and Sarah and I would help rake all the leaves from the giant maple tree in front of our house. Dad would give us rides in the wheelbarrow on top of a mound of leaves. We had leaf fights, buried ourselves in leaves, stuffed leaves in our clothes. And that scent of sweet decay, that crinkly sound, the richness of color - these things make me think of him.

Sarah, Levi and Jessie stuffed with leaves

In October of 2000, Dad wrote me an email saying "I begin each day with an overwhelming sense of expectation and excitement. I simply sense that I am leaving one plain behind and moving onto the next." That was one of Dad's amazing gifts - the ability to see possibility, not just in the obvious blossoming of spring, but in the necessary decay of autumn. He ended his email with the following poem.
It is autumn here.
The defoliated trees look frightened
at the edge of town,

as if the train they missed
had taken all their clothes.
The whole world in unison is turning
toward a zone of nakedness and cold.

But me, I have this strange conviction
that I am going to be born.

-Tony Hoagland