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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged, understood.

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Sunday
Jan262014

Community Voices: Grief is...

Today we are honored to present the writing of two more Glow readers.

Anne is a dancer, teacher, writer and non-profit arts administrator. Anne and her wife Burning Eye's first child Joseph was stillborn at 35 weeks in December, 2012. Some of her poetry is being published in the upcoming anthology "To Linger on Hot Coals" edited by Stephanie Page Cole and Catherine Bayly.

 

35/35

 

My poet’s brain never had much use for numbers and formulas—

preferring the symbolism, the metaphor,

of mass, gravity, planetary orbits, chemistry, heredity,

the tiny organs in that poor frog.

 

But now, in the aftermath of your short life,

I turn to science for solace, trying to find sense and reason,

or make it. 

I write poems about logic, Newton’s laws, math—

the equation never adds up. 

Still, I can’t stop measuring, comparing, weighing—

searching for meaning among misremembered facts,

proving your life with whatever symbols I can find.

 

 

Today, the days of your life rest delicately on one side of the scale,

balanced perfectly by the days of your absence. 

Tomorrow, the scale will start to tilt,

listing as the days keep piling up. 

You will always be more gone than here from now on, forever.

 

But maybe that perfectly balanced scale is an illusion,

an incomplete equation.

 

Surely, the scale tipped toward loss long ago—

as heavy as these days have been.

 

Or maybe your realness, the weight of you in our hearts,

still outweighs the loss of you—

the nothing that can never balance your substance.

 

 

This next piece is by Carolyn. Carolyn blogs at hangyourhopesfromtrees.wordpress.com. She writes: Lost my first baby to a miscarriage at 17 weeks. I find solace, as I've always done, in writing, art, and thick, wordy books. Finding hope, now, but still burdened often by my loss.

 

I dig my toes into the rocky incline. Looking down, I can see clouds hovering underneath me. I am high enough that the place where I began isn’t visible, grey and swirling storm. Up here, as I pull myself further, the sun shines upon my shoulders. The sky is a brilliant blue, hopeful, vibrant. I keep climbing, distancing myself from the stormy ground. I don’t know what the plateau above looks like, but I long for flat ground and stable footing. I reach up and grasp at a root emerging from the rock.

It snaps.

Suddenly, I am scrambling, rocks and dirt begin to funnel down around me, I slide, scraping my skin, dust grinding into my wounds. I am falling, slipping down this slope, wind howls in my ears and I plummet below the cloud cover, into the cold, torrential rain 

I came home from work today on shaky legs. I had a sense of panic. I was on edge. Everything seemed too bright, too real, too harsh. My eyes couldn’t adjust. I squirmed uncomfortably, I felt restless.

I caved. And I cried. 

It’s been months since I’ve broken like this. I can hardly recall the last time I sobbed under the weight of the world. I buckled in the grass, hot tears on my face. I pressed my head to the earth and wept.

I clutched at my firefly necklace and I begged God not to take anything more from me.

I composed myself, wandered inside and climbed into my bed.

I slept, shutting out my mind, retreating into a world of quiet.

I find myself halfway down that steep incline, wedged into the rock, covered in blood and gravel. I manage to crawl up onto my knees, rocks and grit piercing my wounded skin. My head reels, my vision weaves, distorted. I breathe deeply as the pouring rain pounds my soul. I breathe in this storm until my mind clears, my heart slows, I regain balance. I pull myself up to my feet, digging my hands into the dirt above. Slivers of blue sky are revealed to me, far above this tempest.

I reach up and begin the climb again.

 

These are the last two Community Voices posts for this round. We want to know what's on your mind, readers. We want to hear your voices. What questions are you asking yourself in the wake of your loss(es)? What questions are you asking of others?

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Reader Comments (1)

I wonder how each day will turn out - how anything could possibly be OK by the time the sun sets. The world is upside down.

When I wake in the morning, I am met with my own grief and feelings of despair. Taking a leave from work, I wonder who I will be at the end of the day and how it could be possibly be OK for me to be in such a vulnerable place. I am so used to needing more control than this. This is unknown territory for me. The only answers I have these days are in taking deep breaths and crying.

A quote that sticks with me right now, if OK:

Tears are a river that take you somewhere. Weeping creates a river around the boat that carries your soul-life. Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver to someplace new, someplace better." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves
July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Rachel

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