Sunday, February 20, 2011

More from Maui

For E's birthday, we drove to "the back side" of the island and spent the night in Hana. The following day, we took "the really long" way home, not retracing our steps but rather continuing along on the really scary, single lane, curvy beyond belief (even for this Northern California girl) road.

About halfway back, we stopped at an old, beautiful church. It was perched high atop a hill and had the most spectacular view of the ocean.

The church dated back to the early 1800s, if I recall correctly. There were stone ruins from where the pastor lived way back when. Sunday services are still held at this church.

Around the back of the church, there was a small burial ground for some of the church parishioners. Some of the graves were very rudimentary, just piles of stones, others were more "formal" gravesites.

I wandered through the grounds, into that back graveyard, lost in thought, speaking to Otis...remembering how when E and I were first ttc and then in the early months of my pregnancy we had spent so much time walking through a local cemetery here. It is an absolutely stunning old cemetery, with tons of local history, and the dogs can run leash-free there as well, so we would spend many mornings wandering through the park. We often looked at the tombstones and discussed baby names. I guess it could sound macabre to some of you, but it was just so peaceful and beautiful.

And then, there in that rustic graveyard in the back of the church, in the middle of nowhere on the backside of Mt. Haleakala, I stumbled upon it. All the other grave sites were quite large. This one was only about two feet long. And barely there, in crude handwriting in the concrete, it said, "BABY" and another name, along with a date I couldn't quite decipher (maybe 1985? 1885?).

I burst into tears. I sat down on the grass and sobbed. I knew immediately how loved that baby was. How wanted that baby was. That a mother and a father dreamt about that baby, and held wishes and hopes and expectations and then that a mother and a father had those hopes shattered...And they laid their baby to rest in the ground and they made that beautiful marker for that beautiful baby...

I cried for the baby, but more, I cried for his (or her) mother. I cried wondering if that mother had anyone to speak with about her pain. I cried wondering if that mother felt held and supported in her grief. I cried thinking about her, all the way on the back side of the island, all by herself in her sadness. I hoped the church provided comfort for her in her pain.

I am not alone. This pain I feel is as old as time.

And as we walked out of the grounds, I found this growing right there next to our car - like a dandelion, but not. Simply beautiful.

This poem was read at Otis's memorial, and I was reminded of it that day.

Blessed sister, beautiful one
with broken wings.
Your journey is a difficult one
that no mother should have to endure.
Your path is steep, rocky and slippery
and your tender heart is in need of gentle healing.

Breathe deeply and know that you are loved.
You are not alone,
though at times, you will feel like a
desolate island of grief
Close your eyes.
Seek the wisdom of women who have walked this well-worn path before you,
and before,
and before you yourself were born.
These beautiful ones
with eyes like yours
have shared your pain, and
weathered the storms of loss.

You are not alone (breathe in)
You will go on (breathe out)
Your wings will mend (breathe in)
You are loved (breathe out)

~ Mary Burgess

Thursday, February 17, 2011


With e no longer working I've had very little time to sit and write by myself and very little time to devote the kind of attention to your blogs that I want doesn't feel right and I suspect it will remedy itself in the next few weeks but right now I'm offline more often than not (or online via my phone which STINKS for blogging and commenting)

I also continue to be so moved by our experience on Maui that I just can't put it to words. And it doesn't feel right to NOT put it to words, but right now I feel words are so little compared to the vast experience we had there.

I'll leave you with this photo, for now:

This guava fell from a tree at our feet, in the middle of a forest, just like this. We had just undergone a prayer ceremony and a salt cleanse with a traditional Hawaiian healer, and were bathing in a stream in the forest to complete the ritual.

The picture doesn't even do it justice; a perfectly shaped heart had been nibbled/torn from the peel. We saw it fall from the tree. No one else was near us as it dropped. It fell from a tree where no one could have reached it before it fell.

The day before, E had found a black lava rock in the exact same shape, and then the day we went to return that lava rock to the sea (after carrying it in our pockets for two weeks while we were there) a white coral heart also in this exact shape appeared at my feet as E threw the black heart stone into the sea.

I am one to scoff at "signs." I do not believe my son is an angel, looking over me. But these hearts bring me immense comfort, and I guess I'm having a little bit of a crisis of faith in reverse; trying to figure out something that can't be figured out, trying to allow myself to revel in the magic of it all, and to bathe in Otis's spirit as I so clearly did each time the hearts appeared to us.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Mother Speaks

Eloquent words from a friend in this club that none of us ever wished to join.

Thank you Ceil, for sharing this so poignantly.

Ceil, Word Off 2011 Starlight Theatre, Terlingua, TX from sally martin on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

5 Months

Five months ago today, baby boy, you came into this world and I was forever changed. I miss you like crazy.

We just returned from Maui and you should have been there with us, sweet boy. Everywhere I looked, there were parents and their young babes, or pregnant mamas, or papas holding their children...

We went on a whale watch tour and watched a mama whale push/carry her tired baby calf on her nose as they swam in the warm ocean waters, and I sobbed openly on the boat at the beauty of the mama and her babe. When the baby had rested sufficiently, mama whale then taught baby to breach and we sat there marveling as the two of them jumped in and out of the sea.

You were all over that island, my beautiful boy. It took my breath away, made me smile, made me laugh, made me cry, made me wail, made me jump for joy and brought me to my knees in despair.

I miss you so much.

I forever love you.