My dear little Ferdinand,
today you are three weeks old. Although I am not one to hang onto numbers and care not much about them, how can a mother not remember? The first days are always so precious we count everyday as a gem.
Yesterday your ashes were installed in a niche in the temple where the ashes of your great-grandfather and your grand-cousin also lies. Rev. Meow Ee put your ashes into a marble urn; it was a small one, very nice one; mama would have chosen the same. On your tablet is engraved a drawing of you and also two deers; the deers symbolizes Buddha’s first sermon at the deer park, where many animals also came to listen to the wisdom of his teachings. There is a baby white-tailed deer that has been visiting our yard from time to time; it made me think of you; so gentle and so swift to move. Rev. Meow Ee asked for lots of food to be prepared for your special prayers, as he said you did not have enough to eat. That so hurts mama to hear, do you know? To think that you did not receive enough nourishment in the womb, and mama not being able to even offer you a sip of her milk before you set off on your long journey. It just totally tears me to pieces. Your grand-aunt sent me pictures of everything and it saddens mama to not be able to be there for the prayers. I realized that we were not allowed to bring your ashes back home because you died such a young soul; in Chinese customs the elder do not pay respects to the younger and that was why the temple took over the installation of the ashes and the prayers. But know that mama keeps you in her heart forever, and sings to you and prays for your safety and our happiness! In the mysterious place that you are now, you will probably meet your great-grandfather. He died when I was five; he loved me very much and I still miss him. I am sure he is happy to see you. He will be proud of you, for even if I had guessed at your temperament, deep down I know you will be a gentle and beautiful soul. Mama just knows.
Ferdinand, my son, I am still trying to understand it all. It is so very hard. I feel as if I am trying to piece together a puzzle except I do not even know what the puzzle is about. Sometimes it seems I am almost getting there, but then things will shift, or I never find the missing piece. Some days also I feel I am in acceptance, and then on some days I simply refuse to do so. I do not know why. Somehow I feel if I say “yes” to acceptance then I am admitting to defeat, but I don’t know defeat to what, or to who. Even your father told me the other evening that it is time that I “let go”. He said he also desperately wants an answer, and he also could not understand, but he kept telling me to think about how things really happened in the best way possible… … he reminded me that you only knew Love, nothing else. I know that too, my baby, and I try to remind myself of that too. yesterday I also told D that I try not to put a “good” or “bad” judgement on what had happened, trying to just accept it, though I also do see many good things. I wrote, “Although I have never in my wildest dreams thought I would labor and give birth to a dead baby, I actually feel honored that I can still bring him out to greet him briefly and his sisters could see him as a whole baby. We could hold him and touch him. During the labor I was checked more times than I liked, and it hurt to have my waters broken, esp not feeling the waters gush out, knowing there were no more fluids, but the birth went very fast and well, I did not tear at all.”
D and I also talked about the loss of innocence, and having fear. I am afraid, my son, I am afraid for the road ahead. I do not feel so sure anymore. This blow is so brutal my knees still shake and I cannot stand. My body still bruised and bloody from the impact and the pain and ache do not lessen with the passing of days. Life is no longer a positive, bright, happy thing. I realize more deeply now Life and Death are really the same thing…. not very far from each other. I also see that life is so terribly fragile. As I research and read and dig around, I have come across millions of problems that can occur when Life tries to prevail, from the minute of conception to birth, so many perils lurk; and then after the birth, it is the same. Human life is no stronger than any other, really not at all. I know now that when I look at your two sisters, I am truly looking at two miracles, as I consider my previous trouble-free pregnancies, and how they were and still are such robust healthy children. These are truly gifts to me that i do not dare take for granted anymore. Is this the gift you give to me, to realize this? Was I too cocky and arrogant before to think that I am entitled to a healthy pregnancy and healthy children? I have also wondered if I have entered a different phase in my Life, where innocence and Believing are taken over by being much more cautious, even paranoid, being a little jaded, and somewhat fearful. Is this how Life is supposed to progress? It can seem like that, but I refuse that path.
I don’t think I have ever felt Fear that way, my son. I try to recall, and I know I was very afraid when i had to go to the hospital to give birth to your elder sister; I was scared to death when they cranked up the pitocin on me and I had no control over my body at all. But even though my ribs were breaking and I felt I may die, there was a point when I took a deep breath and decided that I have to take charge of my body. And so now, I also refuse to just let fear consume my Life. I don’t think you would have agreed. Even though I feel now I have died, and I am struggling to stand up, I told D this: “I feel afraid for what Life has in store for me for the road ahead, but I also know I have to walk it. You have to love, and lose, and gain, and hurt and gain joy, there is no other way. It is a fact of life for me, and I choose to accept it. I feel afraid but a part of me fiercely wants to embrace life again, and yell and shout with joy and dance in defiance. Life is suffering, as Buddha discovered one day; his father wanted to prevent it but there is no prevention for such things. You dare to love, you dare to lose. Life is like that; big risks, big returns. I hear you about not getting hopes up… …. I think this is how humans progress…. from the wide-eyed innocence and confidence and belief to being more cautious, a little jaded…. …. but I want to try to defy that.” And I think, you are going to be that big boulder of strength behind me when I get up and walk again; I know you are holding my hand and my heart then, and you will show me the way.
Do you know, when i cannot sleep sometimes, I will put my hands on my belly. It is something I love to do once I find out I am pregnant. Before the belly starts to show, I feel for the vibrations of Life within when I put my hands over my belly, smiling at the secret that I held within, that nobody will know, at least for a little while. As you grew within my belly, I love to feel over the roundness of it all. Now, as I lay my hands over my belly and remember the sensation and vibrations of you within, and the odd shapes you give to my belly as you squirm around, I feel a deflated, wrinkled belly covered with stretch marks. It only reminds me of the emptiness within, and how you filled me up in all the wholesome way the last months. I miss you, I thank you.
Ferdinand, my dear son, I don’t think this pain ever dulls; but I feel some peace to know that you are at a brighter, happier place. I know you chose a different path, and I am terribly saddened to not be your mother on earth this time, maybe next time! Even then, know that Love transcends all space and that I have an abundance of that for you.
Missing you, and loving you,
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