Meena's daughter Zoya was born and died in Suresnes, France—in 'a country that was never her home but will eternally be hers'—on November 3rd, 2016. "I went into pre-term labour while I was travelling in Paris for work—I was 5 1/2 months pregnant," Meena writes. "The day before her birth I was walking through cobblestone streets and eating in little Parisian cafes. It was surreal. She was kicking furiously right up until she was delivered into this world—she was a warrior. She didn’t take a breath outside of me. I held her in my arms and said goodbye. She was beautiful. I think she chose to be born in Suresnes for a reason. Maybe one day that reason will become clear. For now, I'm just moving through in a completely non-linear way and settling into a new normal."
Please welcome Meena as a guest writer at Glow today.
She came and left the same day, into this world and out of it, in moments. In the glorious beauty of autumn, her warmth hidden in the crisp of the leaves swirling to the ground in some mathematical formula that I didn’t know but understood in my soul. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
She left me alone to face the eternal winter of my soul. It was a winter of self-reflection, devastation and disbelief. The pure white snow covered my sorrow like a shroud. I hibernated in this northern chill, with life swirling around me in patterns of a million snowflakes settling into frost. I retreated, further and further into myself until I was so lost I couldn't even recognize who I was.
Today I felt the sun again, renewed with hope that the spring of life is near and that Zoya is always here. She is still my daughter, just in a different world, on the other side. What is it about the sun that makes me feel like things will be better one day? It softens my grief ever so slightly. Starts to thaw the cold, hardened parts of my soul.
It is all cyclical—birth, death, rebirth. We see it in the flowers, the leaves and the trees, in the plight of the caterpillar and beauty of the butterfly. The days of the week, the months, the years, the seasons; all one pattern that keeps swirling. As much as I don’t want the time to pass, it inevitably does. Time doesn’t stand still for anyone. The more time passes, the further I am from that moment when I kissed her little head and tasted birth and death at the same time. I lived and died in that moment, along with her.
Soon the winter will be spring and spring will give way to summer, when we were first together, my daughter and I. We were in one body but layered souls, with the imprint she left that is now forever a part of me. I speak of her often. Her name escapes my lips more than some people might be comfortable with. But I do it, I do it all the time, because I want to talk about her. Saying her name makes her real with my words, it breathes life into those moments in my memory. It makes it a little less surreal.
She came and went that day in the fall and now I am trying to pick up my pieces and put them back somehow. But they will never fit just the same as they used to. They have made way for slivers of grief and gratitude to settle into the imperfect cracks as I try to put myself together piece by piece. Today, with my face in the warmth of the sun, I realized where to find her. She is in between those pieces that will never fit back just the same.
Spring is rapidly arriving, and along with it comes inevitable rebirth. It is hard to miss the sprouting green leaves, the blooming wildflowers, the warm wind on grassy plains. Rebirth is not a choice, it is the law of nature. I feel myself coming out of a winter of desolation, whether I want to or not. These signs of nature both sadden me and soothe me, depending on the day. Time is passing too quick and too slow. The alchemy of transformation is happening whether I want it to or not. So I may as well give in, give in to mother nature who is more of a mother than I could ever be. I will let her soothe me and nurture me and take me through this time of growth.
If I am still for a moment in the sunlight and look within, I see slivers of light shining through the cracks. This is where Zoya resides. I thought she was made of me, but really I am made of her. It is with her love and light that I am re-birthed into a new season of my life. In grief and gratitude, I welcome this spring and everything that comes with it.
What season soothes and comforts you? What season challenges you?