Sunday, September 1, 2013

This time last week I was holding you

Dear sweet girl, this time last week I still had you with me. This time last week I was holding you. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember feeling you next to me as I laid next to you on the studio floor where we spent our last two nights together. I remember how grateful I was to see you resting comfortably. I also remember moments when I would start to question whether I was making the right decision … was it time to let you go? Could I hold onto you for just a little longer? And you would send me a clear message. You got up and scratched on the studio that led to the backyard. You threw up and burrowed yourself in the plants. You looked at me and with those eyes clearly said to me, ‘mom, it’s time.’ And as much as my heart was breaking I also knew … It was time. I had made a promise to you ... to love and cherish you and to be there with you when it was time, holding you and loving you. It's a promise we made to each other. A promise I vowed to keep.

I am learning to walk without my you by my side. I am learning to listen, to see you and to feel you in a new way. I am learning to be with a gut-wrenching, primal pain that screams and thrashes like a baby ripped from her mother’s womb. I am learning. And I am faltering and I am floundering.

“Keep walking …one foot in front of another, “ I tell myself. I pray, that one day … one day my heart will not feel so heavy. And today, I lean into the comfort of my pups (Legacy, Missy, Mister), and a community of so many loving friends … and to words --- my own words, the words of poets like Mary Oliver, and to the lyrics and the music of Melissa Etheridge …

Heavy – Mary Oliver

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying.

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had His hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
“It is not the weight you carry

but how you carry it—
books, bricks, grief—
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

When you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind and maybe
also troubled—
roses in the wind,
The sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

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