A Few Thoughts on Mother’s Day

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Picture4I had a very hard time with my Mother, her words mostly wounding, her anger terrifying. It was my father’s kind and loving heart that saved my childhood and my spirit. So when Mother’s Day comes round a tug of war ensues. I feel my heart segue-ing not to  memories of my own childhood but rather to my experience as a mother – and that, too, is complicated and bittersweet because of the loss of  two daughters.

That and the fact that we never know the truth of parenting until we do it ourselves – the sacrifices, the hard work, the unselfishness, the solving of unsolvable riddles – all that our parents gave and did stands out in bold relief as we struggle to do as well as they did, never mind better. So for me, the emotions  of this celebratory day are exponential and complex. Continue reading “A Few Thoughts on Mother’s Day” »

Posted on May 9th 2014 in Family, Life, Love, Sorrow, Women

The Family Plot

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DSC01568It occurred to me today, as I found myself standing in the middle of the family plot talking to the people I love who are no longer with me except in spirit and memory, that anyone not Irish might  consider it odd to find comfort in a cemetery.  Yet, I always do.

I’d gone there to to talk to my family about life  and I’d brought coffee because they’d loved it and because I thought it might be a lengthy conversation. A middle-aged woman passing by smiled and waved at me from the road below. “I’m so happy to see I’m not the only one who brings coffee when I come to chat, ” she called out and we both laughed at the loveable absurdity of the scene.

Maybe it’s the fact that we used to visit old graveyards when I was a child – admiring the tumbledown tombstones, scrying the inscriptions, imagining the heartaches both recent and long ago.  So much history captured in moldering memorials – died in childbirth… lost in infancy… gone but not forgotten… we will miss you forever so much of love and anguish preserved forever in a line or twoI used to wander from stone to stone reading the messages, imagining lives. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lost so many  of those dearest to my heart that makes this a place of solace for me. Continue reading “The Family Plot” »

Posted on January 12th 2013 in Death, Family, Life, Sorrow

Heart Murmurs

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Wild HeartI’ve been having an imaginary conversation with my heart lately.  Not the physical heart exactly, although I admire its pluck and constancy enormously.  But the metaphoric heart of me that loves, not necessarily wisely, but pretty well, and that has taken a lot of hits over the years. 

It occurred to me one day, while reading a Chinese medical Text that explained how the heart is the seat of the intellect, the emotions and the spirit, as well as the fountainhead of love – that this is a really big lot of stuff to be in charge of.  No wonder one in three women now dies of heart failure.  So I decided to acknowledge my Herculean heart as best I could. Continue reading “Heart Murmurs” »

Posted on September 29th 2012 in Happiness, Love, Loving Life, Sorrow, Women

The Timeline of Dreams

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Life breaks everyone’s heart somehow, somewhere in time.  Betrayal or death or illness or failure or war or most any tragedy can do the deed.  The question is what happens then?  In that dark night of the spirit, how do we live till morning?  How do we resilient, courageous, fragile, faltering humans take our licks and still survive?  Or even prevail, and manage to live or love again? Continue reading “The Timeline of Dreams” »

Posted on December 9th 2011 in Sorrow, The Philosopher’s Teacup

… and Having Writ, Moves on

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When your worst nightmare comes to pass a second time, a bizarre numbness sets in to keep you alive.  When my daughter Bronwyn died, six years after her sister’s death, I simply went underground and for two months did nothing but try to live through it.  I couldn’t write or even talk about my loss, couldn’t find sense in her journey, couldn’t do anything to make myself understand how both my daughters could be gone.  I knew by then that time doesn’t heal all wounds, that the sorrows of losing those you love are always just a thought away, and that much to your astonishment, “life goes on,” as Edna St. Vincent Millay said, “I forget just why.” And you must find a way to go on, too. Continue reading “… and Having Writ, Moves on” »

Posted on September 30th 2011 in Family, Sorrow

On the Death of a Child

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Losing a child is a special kind of grief, irrevocably out of sync with nature.  We’re not supposed to bury our children — the mind and heart rebel and struggle to find a place to contain the unbearable and unthinkable.

We give birth to infinite love when we give birth to our children.  Joy, hope, dreams, ambitions all crystallized in one tiny new life, unsullied by the world’s perfidies or sorrows.  We hold our small miracle in our arms in a state as close to ecstasy and God as humankind ever gets. Continue reading “On the Death of a Child” »

Posted on April 10th 2011 in Death, Family, Sorrow, Women

The Heart That Once Truly Loves Never Forgets

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When my daughter died, I couldn’t find the strength to say the words aloud.  Passed away, I could manage, as if she still hovered somewhere just outside my reach.  Died was final and irrevocable and I simply could not say the word.

The first few weeks after her death were a haze of grief.  A time of pain so deep it blotted out light.  When I roused from this torpor of sorrow — through no effort of my own, mind you, but because the human spirit seeks survival against all odds and assaults – I found myself not quite alive, but in a period of sleepwalking. Continue reading “The Heart That Once Truly Loves Never Forgets” »

Posted on April 10th 2011 in Death, Faith, Life, Sorrow

Traveling Companions

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I had a vision, shortly after my daughter died, in which I saw her standing on a great plain of Light, through which a Golden Road traveled towards Infinity.  She stood solemnly, awaiting a command to move on – with Dakota and me standing like sentinels, one on either side.  She said we mustn’t set foot on the road, or we’d have to cross over to the Other Side, but that we could travel with her for a while.  Continue reading “Traveling Companions” »

Posted on January 30th 2011 in Family, Sorrow, The Philosopher’s Teacup

Some Things You Never Forget

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Some things you never forget.  Like the comfort of your father’s hand in yours when you’re small and afraid, or the final ember of light in the eyes of your dying child.

Other threads are inextricably woven into the softer fabric of soul. The sensuous, cold satin of summer’s first ice cream on your five year old tongue… the careless rapture of life before cognizance of consequences tempers immortality.  The first triumph that defines your path.  The first loss that staggers you into the inexorable realization of death.

Continue reading “Some Things You Never Forget” »

Posted on December 4th 2010 in Life, Sorrow, Women
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