This afternoon I spontaneously took Dahlia to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. They’re having a weeklong exhibit called Bouquets to Art, and boy was it gorgeous. As if the museum wasn’t beautiful enough, this week it is adorned with flower arrangements created to depict or appreciate different works of art throughout the place. And… I’d forgotten the two traveling exhibits that are currently there: Andy Warhol and Yves St. Laurent. Talk about eye candy… and color!
Someone recommended to me a few months ago, “Go look at art. Walk in a park surrounded by flowers. Go see something beautiful.” They were right…
Today I fed my soul.
Today I refilled my leaky well.
Today I stroked my tired heart with softness and vibrancy and beauty.
Today I sat on a cushioned couch under a disco ball, watching Dahlia skip and dance and hop among the moving lights and shapes that circled the floor. As if she were a work of art herself, an ever-changing statue in motion. A dancer. A happy child simply playing. Making others around her smile. Filling me up.
We flitted about, surrounded by mannequins dressed in Yves St. Laurent gowns, and Dahlia pointed at each one and said, “Mommy, this one’s me and this one’s you. This one’s you and this one’s me. Look, Mommy… Wow! This one’s my favorite…” Delicious. The bright colors, the sparkles, the eccentricity of exaggeration, just for the sheer beauty of it.
Today I loved my daughters, the vibrant living one dancing before me, and the spirit one whom Dahlia said she saw in the mist that was watering the grass outside. “There’s Tikva!” I loved them both from a bright and full place within me.
And I thought about possibility – the word I have been swishing around in my mouth for a while. Surrounded by all that color, all that imagination, all that life – however fleeting… there’s a reason the flower exhibit only lasts a week – I was able to feel the possibility of what is ahead with greater depth than before.
Because if a person can make art so bright, so gorgeous, isn’t anything possible?
If a child can be born as vibrant as Dahlia, or as fragile as Tikva, isn’t anything possible?
If we can move halfway around the world to try with all our hearts to help our baby live, is there anything we can’t do? If Tikva chose me as her Mama, how can my life be without meaning?
Possibility is tasty.
I have always been an optimist, even in my darkest times. I have had more hard times than many in my 37 years, so my eternal optimism sometimes surprises me. I must have been born this way, it just seems to be my nature – my spirit is a positive one. Maybe I just learned early on that if it’s possible to feel really bad, it must be possible to feel really good, too. I’ve always believed that you have to go through it to get through it. Maybe it’s true that knowing deep sorrow is the only real way of glimpsing profound joy. I don’t know… Maybe it’s not important to understand why the glass is half full through my eyes, but rather to be thankful for that part of who I am.
But back to possibility…
How do I reconnect with that sensation after so much possibility has been lost? How do I trust the possibility of happiness, fulfillment, even hope… after so much has been taken away? After so much letting go? How do I hold the likely possibility that I will one day birth and hold another healthy living child, and that it will be easy and smooth and real?
I just do. Every day I make that choice. Every day, even when I’m not feeling it deep inside – and I have plenty of those days, too – I am choosing possibility. I’ve learned in my later thirties that I can actually choose what I focus on, that I am capable of readjusting my lens if what it is focused on isn’t making me feel good. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but the intention is there. Not an intention to always feel good – because sometimes I just need to cry and feel like crap. But a desire to remember that possibility is always there.
Before she was born and during her very short life, Tikva became such a symbol of hope, not just for me and my family but for so many others who followed her journey. Since her journey took her to another realm of existence, I have asked myself often, “How do I hold onto hope when hope has been lost? And how do I build new hope, new promise, new possibility?”
The thing is, possibility is always there, and hope is a thing with shallow roots but a powerful desire, always seeking to be replanted, to rise back up through the soil towards the moisture and the light. Towards beauty. Towards possibility. Towards love.
I have to admit that I didn’t find possibility at the museum. I actually went there already feeling it deep inside me. My eyes were open to seeing it, and there it was. The magic I encountered there reaffirmed promise, gave me permission to hope, showed me proof that more beauty is possible. And I was reminded of the incredible beauty that exists in the very short life of my little girl. I stood before a soft all-white arrangement of flowers and loved it completely because it reminded me of Tikva.
And Dahlia pointed at a stem of orchids hanging down from it and said, “That flower. That’s Tikva.”
Even though she’s gone, she’s never really gone. For me, Tikva will forever be proof that anything is possible. Not because she overcame the greatest odds and lived a long healthy life, but because she was powerful enough to teach me hope and possibility.
And the deepest love imaginable.
How do you hold possibility? Where does it hide after the loss of your baby(ies)? Where do you find it?