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Archive for April, 2009

Ferdinand, my dear sweet child,

last week I ordered some clothing for your little sister, from a website that sells really cute, organic clothing for children. It’s not fancy stuff, but oh, so adorable. And the colors, I like their color choices because girls are not limited to pink and yellow and red. I looked at their color chart, enjoying reading the names of the colors (marine, port, midnight, dragonfly, basil, storm, bubble…) and wondered, idly even, what would look becoming on you. You, whose eye color we will never know. And we are still waiting to find out about your sister’s eye color. I think they are greenish-brown, or perhaps grayish-blue.

This week I received the clothing, and because last week was Earth Day, they also sent me a small treeling to plant. Somehow I felt it was like a consolation prize for me– can’t watch your baby grow? Plant this and watch a tree grow! Nah… of course, they do not know about you, but I felt it that way. I guess I just miss you terribly much and got a bit bitter. I have not planted that treeling yet. It’s a Colorado Spruce, and I don’t think it’s going to do well here, but maybe up at the cabin it will be nice. That is, if it does not die whilst in my care, me with my through-and-through black thumb.

You were there when Lyra was born, I believe you escorted her, I feel it, I do. But you seemed to have also just dropped her off and left. Like you’re in a hurry. You did not stay, did not linger to chat, to let me feel your breath on my face. You dropped Lyra off, bid a swift and easy fare-thee-well, and off you went again.Yes, I am upset with you about that.

And, I can only find peace by telling myself it is because you are free. Your choice. I find peace by telling myself I know too little. I cannot find the edge of the Universe, and even if I do, then that means beyond that edge is yonder blue, more mysteries than I will ever know, so how can I say it is sad that you are dead? Until I die, I won’t know what it is like. Perhaps it will be nice; fun, even. But this is too hard for me to do, son. Freaking hard and it makes me want to spit fire. In this society, here, down in this realm, we think death is a bad thing- sad, morbid, terrible. But you know what I’ve been thinking of late? — the worst thing is not having your child die. The worst thing is being alive after your child has died. That’s why the other night I laid and look at your father and silently told him, I wish to live one day less than you do, so I won’t have to suffer the pain of watching you die. Selfish, I know.

I often imagine how it is for you, where you are… what is that space out there like, how you travel, how you communicate, how you laugh. And often, I wish, fists clenched, that I will be able to join you in that space one day. No more parallel universes.

Some days, I am at peace. Not too many of them, but some. And some other days, well, I just want to throw things at people, because it hurts crazy on the inside. Those are the days when I think I will never see you, and when I put a limit on you. That you can only be dead, done, and no more. I have to then remind myself who knows what happens beyond the last heartbeat, the last breath? Won’t you come and tell me about it all, so I don’t have to wait so long to find out?

I miss you so ever terribly.

Much love,

mama

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the last frontier

Yesterday we were at homeschool park day, hiding in the shade in 98F freaking heat, celebrating Earth Day. It was not too bad, at least a breeze was blowing (and the breeze was cool, not hot). And a mom was saying she needs to get her butt over to this nifty little herbal shop, which we shall call here XYZ.

I know XYZ well. Back when they were in their old location and when it was just the mother and daughter running the store, I knew them, and they knew me, by name, and by voice (or perhaps my accent) when I call in on the phone. They are now in a new location and expanded and the mother and daughter do not work as many days as now they are fluorishing and hiring helpers.

XYZ is my last frontier. I have not stepped in there for, uh, about 2 years now.

You see, the daughter B, who is a sweet, sweet, awesome lady, she and I, we had two pregnancies close to each other. Her first daughter was born a couple of months before S was. When I found out I was pregnant with Ferdinand and called XYZ to order nutritional supplements, the mother picked up the phone and said Don’t tell me you are pregnant because B is too!! It was very exciting. I adore this mom-and-daughter team, they are just kind and gentle and passionate.

But then, Ferdinand died.

After Ferdinand died, it took me a long time to return to some places. You know, those places that you frequent and people know you and were anticipating the baby with you.

When I finally had to go to the library, I was scared. My knees were quivering when I walked in. There was this librarian who often joked with us, who once asked if we have decided on a name for the baby. I was just so afraid someone in our little library will stop us and ask most cheerfully, “So! Where is the little baby?!” I kept my eyes glued to the floor, not daring to look at anyone, my hands trembling, my entire being trembling as I hurried the girls to pick their books so we can leave already. I almost collapsed when we got to the car with our books. I was shaking like an autumn leaf. Now, I still avoid that cheerful librarian who often talked to us.

When I had to go to the Oriental grocery store near our house, I wanted to die. Scenes played over and over in my head of the times when I had wandered in there, picking out my cilantro and lemongrass, the cashiers eying my bulging belly and commenting on how big I had become. When I went there, I picked a new cashier every time. Someone who would not recognize us. Someone who would not be curious about us. Now, I notice I still heave a big exhale when we get to our car, and I do not shop there often anymore.

When I had to go to Trader Joe’s by myself again, I prayed and prayed the people whom we are familiar with in that store would have all quit their jobs. Really. And thankfully they must have had a big schedule shuffle because we saw new people, or maybe they did hire new people, and I was able to lift my chin and my eyes when in the store. The girls quickly found a couple of cute guys who work there to chat with and ask for balloons and once again, I knew I could go back to an “old” place again.

But, XYZ. That place, is my last frontier.

I told L yesterday that I have not been in there for 2 years, and why. And she teared up. “It takes time!” she told me.

Of course, it takes time. Freaking long time, too.

But I told her, “I will go back again, and I will go when I know B is there, because, I have to overcome my last frontier.”

I told her how, every month when XYZ’s monthly newsletter come into my mailbox, I will delete it, telling myself, “Not this month.”

XYZ is barely five minutes from my house. I sometimes drive by there when we shop near that area.

And I do silently wonder to myself, will I ever go back to that little shop again? That little shop smellingĀ  of herbs and essential oils concoctions, that little shop where people are warm and friendly, where customers often start chatting with each other and exchanging notes about alternative therapies?

What is so scary about that place? XYZ is supposed to be all about taking care of your health and healing. It is a cozy, welcoming place. It soothes, it comforts, it heals.

I guess, because I do not wish B to think of my dead child every time she looks upon her second child. (Well, maybe not every time, it is not that I am so very important to her. but still, you know…) I guess, because the shop is small I am afraid to cry in there and have people wonder. I guess, because I really do not wish to cry anymore. I guess, because I feel sore and tired to the bones that grieving really is never truly over.

How about you? What was it like to go back to familiar places? Do you have a last frontier?

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An interview with my chrio over at Glow today.

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traitor

Today I write about a different type of betrayal, over at Glow.

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p.s.

I love your thoughts on the lacy-rocks photo.

Of course, I neglected to tell you I wrote that post at 3:30 in the morning, even though my brain was kicking and screaming and wanting to go to bed. But I had seen that photo for a few days already and the post has been on stand-by I just had to write it. It was not complete and some of the thoughts I had on the photo had vanished, fleeted away beforeĀ  I could grab them by the tails, pin them down and form them into sentences. So, it’s not complete. But, your thoughts have made it complete, and all the more fascinating.

Yes, yes, I also think we are like the rocks, only often inside out.

And, I also wanted to say the crocheted lace makes me think of spider webs. The threads, so gossamer and diaphanous, yet, they are strong, even fatal. (hmph, I like that fragile yet fatal aspect. wanna analyse my psyche?)

And yes, the delicate-looking can be very strong in unexpected ways. Did you know that years ago in ancient China, spider silk was harvested to make the strongest armour ever? Today, people are trying to understand that technology to make ballistic vests.

oh, the holes in our beings. so beautiful. A solid piece of crochet would not look as nice over the rocks, would it?

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rocks1“Close Proximity” by knitalatte

When I saw this photo, I gasped.

I knew I have to write a post about this.

When I saw this photo, I thought of us, the bereaved. Then I thought of us all, all of us- human, people, things with brains and hearts and feelings.

This photo shows what she does and sells- rocks wrapped in crocheted lace. In another print she named it “Delicate but Strong” but I prefer the above print, it looks better. But I really like the phrase delicate but strong. The visual, it makes me think of us…

— how we need to be strong, when we are feeling so tender and delicate inside. — how we are so tender and delicate, even if we are strong inside.

I love how the delicate crochet wraps so snugly around the rocks, as if protecting them. And then, it also looks like it is seeking comfort from the rock, so sturdy and strong.

Doesn’t this photo print remind you of us all? Strong, yet delicate; delicate yet strong, all huddled together?

I love this print. It is so beautiful. Do you like it as I do? Will you share your feelings about it?

::

I love rocks. Especially the small smooth ones you can hold in the palm of your hand, and feel its weight, its texture, its silence, its weight. Once, I bought a friend a set of meditation rocks (can’t find the link now for the hell of me). It’s a set of small rocks that had been specially collected by a woman after meditating, and asking permission from Nature to collect them from an ocean beach at a certain time of the year, I think solstice. Apparently, holding them in one’s hands while meditating makes one grounded and neutralize all the negative feelings. I loved how those rocks felt in my hands. Small, cool, strong, and yet, delicate.

Funny how this play of delicate and strong came into my consciousness just like that, and then not long after, I saw this. Holy cow, I need those rocks!

Serious. This is not a want, not some vain desire, I tell ya!

Just look at how joyful they can be!

But what is really intriguing is how the designer had melded together those qualities of hard|soft, sturdy|cuddly, stable|fun together. Wouldn’t you wanna snuggle up against a large, soft and cuddly rock? I do.

And you know what else? I relish that illusion. Those big rocks lying there, like they are so hugem strong and sturdy. Then you touch it, and it’s soft. It gives. It yields. It welcomes you to step on it, bouncingly, and lay on it, softly. I love that.

It also reminds me of the Taoist teaching of strength in yielding, in being pliable. The example Lao Tzu gave was the blade of delicate grass who survived the storm because through the pelting rain and howling wind, she bowed herself over, yielding to the forces of nature. When the storm rolls away, she can stretch herself tall again. Whereas the strong, tall tree who endeavored to stand strong and fight– it gave. It fell, it cracked. By standing against the forces, it broke. So Taoist philosophy recommends a yielding, to not fight. It also teaches that the truly noble can stand tall and yet bend low.

For some reason, the crochet-embraced rocks, and the ingenosu rocks remind me of this philosophy.

So, when the wave of grief hits, we need to roll with it. Because when we fight and struggle, we sink deeper.

And hopefully, with close proximity, we will buoy each other up.

::

Thank you, for being here. Especially when you are non-bereaved. I am thankful.

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Today, she is 100 days old.

I cannot believe it- that she is here, that she is growing so beautifully.

Looking at her so active and alive, I still cannot believe that Ferdinand is dead.

Often I feel when I turn around I am going to see him, just standing there, smiling gently at me.

And then I will reach out and touch him and of course it will just be air. Like how you see it in movies.

My heart, it overflows with joy and gratitude, even though there is a hole in it too, whistling with sorrow, a deep sorrow of endless depth.

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