Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Have had so many lonely moments recently thinking about the holidays now that your cousin Erin is dead, too. I have felt so far from she and her sister for so long, and yet, my heart knew I was making my own family on the other coast. I felt a trust and love for the family I left back on the East coast, knowing that they raised me with love and care, feeling they would all do the same for Erin and her sister, too. I felt freedom enough to be on the left coast and make my family now. But my family here doesn't look like I thought it would.
It's not that I don't feel the two of you here. I do feel you like holiday sprites buzzing around me, trying to tickle me out of my reluctant spaces -- much as I might be doing for you if you were here as a reluctant teenager, Kota :) But at the same time, well, you just are not *here* either. This house doesn't feel or sound or look anything like what I thought it would. And, yes, it's true, I practice just letting all that go so that I can be present in what IS the house now. It's a fine enough house. I'm grateful for the roof, meditation space, art-making space, time and light. But I admit that when I get a peak into your sister's house with her three young kids making the very structure brim over with growth, I ache for all that we missed with you.
And I just miss you. Period.
And I find myself this year thinking about all the spaces back home that will not be the same now that Erin has died, too. The world is so full and yet there are so many spaces that ache under the weight of empty.
Sending you love -- and wishing you were here to discover oranges in your stockings and roll your eyes in teen fashion and say, "Mooooom, this is *not* a gift," which would allow a whole other discussion to ensue. :)
Love you, babies.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
With each experience of death and grief, I remember that this is all so fleeting. To love with my whole heart means risking, means knowing that the very same heart will break when death comes again, knowing that death does and will come.
Your daddy has been doing a lot of Buddhist study in the last 6 months or so. I'm fascinated with the idea of the differences between conventional reality vs. ultimate reality. In conventional reality, there is birth and death, you are here or you are not, there is dead or alive, there is being or non-being. But in ultimate reality, you see that Being IS Non-Being. There is no difference. You see that being alive means you are dying every moment with thousands of cells ending and you are being born with thousands of cells starting every moment, too. In ultimate reality, I can't just point to the ashes of your remains and say, "That is my son," because you are more than that -- and you are not that at all either.
Haven't exactly made sense of it all in a way that translates yet. But when I began hearing the dharma talks about how time is made up of non-time elements -- or death is made up of non-death elements -- or being is made of non-being elements...something in me just sang. Took me back to Tao translation Mitchell did where he talked about how we use clay to make a pot to hold something precious, but it is actually the space inside that holds what is precious.
Something in there about my heart being made of muscle, tissue, blood, body, matter, but it is the space that opened after death broke my heart -- that is the space where I hold you two boys -- and now, Erin, too. This is the space where I choose what I will carry forward of each of you. This is where you continue, even in the present moment.
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”~Thich Nhat Hanh
Can't send enough love to really say how much I love you both...please hold Erin's hand and give big hugs to her and to Unkie, too.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Kota, I thought you wouldn't mind if I take some space here to collect my thoughts and letters, not only to you, but also to your baby brother. Zuzu's (your father has decided Mizuko's nickname would have been Zuzu) 2nd birth/death day was today. It's been both a suckfest and just another day on planet earth with its rounds and rounds of monkey mind, cracked hearts, and moments of nothing but mussed up courage.
Zuzu, lovie, missed you bunches today. Had a lovely check in with your Auntie Lynndee yesterday where I realized consciously for the first time, that I had not done a single bit of new art since May maybe?? So as your birthday rang in during the wee hours last night, I sat to sketch you a little something. I had nothing in mind when I started. Just a blank page. It was the first page in a new journal, and I had the thought that it would be funny to page mark it "2" since it is your second bday. And then the three little flowers were just sort of, you know, two candles and one to grow on, like you'd have had on a birthday cake. And the heart is just my heart reaching for you...it is outside the body of the mother in the image because that is still how it feels here. My heart is always out of place here, reaching for you and your brother.
I can't stop thinking of you two lately. Daddy has changed so many things recently. Quit fire smoking, has begun meditating, given up any food that once had a face. I can't help but think you two probably would have always had a lean more toward veggies anyway...you'd have been breastfeeding while I was eating greens like crazy. :) But I sort of laugh watching how all the changes are upheaval for just us alone, and I can't help but wonder what you, still a little terrible two'er and your big bro who would be a roudy teenager now, would make of this house now?
The days like today -- well, if I'm honest, every single day -- simultaneously go too fast *and* feel like a barren land. Auntie Lynndee helped me re-check to figure out even how to hear what the days call me to now. Some days just feel so lost -- especially since your cousin Erin died last month -- that my head won't stop hurting, and it just seems easier to sleep and wish it all to be gone. Of course, you can imagine that makes Daddy ache as he wants to have full days together and steal every moment dry of all it has to offer. I always have been more of the Eeyore in this family.
Baby Boy, I miss you terribly. I wish there were more to do for you from here, other than build cairns out on the trails. The present moments we have, are...well... just are. But they are always also without you. And with you. But I do wish they were moments with you here in a more physical way.
I would have made you avocado chocolate pudding or brownies today. Sending them in spirit. Get messy and eat them up yummy, love.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Your daddy bought me that beautiful sculpture in the middle photo. It was something I had seen a year and a half ago maybe, but passed it up at the time. Regretted it from the moment I walked away from it. And with each foray out into the world, I'd look for it or a similar one again. Never could find it. Then, the day before your birthday this year, we walked into a little shop and there it was. Daddy bought it right away. I'm sure it is *far* from what you would have wanted as a living breathing 13 year old, but since you are not here -- since it is a gift in proxy -- well, this was the heART that came home with us.
We didn't either much feel like cake this year either -- again, I'm sure a growing and constantly hungry 13 year old would never have wanted watermelon, but there it is in your absence (in the bottom photo). Was sort of funny to light candles on a watermelon, but it worked. And it was yummy :)
In my reluctant return to the grid, I miss you more than ever. I view the world with more and more questions and ponder the absurdity of it all. Why some live and some die? Why anyone wants to continue living in this ridiculous world? What would you have made of it all as you grew and learned and woke up to adulthood?
Your daddy keeps telling me to stay in the moment. Find the joy right now because everything else is illusion. Stay with my breath and keep creating the playground of my life. Some moments it is so difficult to do that as the world seems pointless. The best I could in the days around your birth/death day was to escape. Two films save me over and over...
"I feel so happy here. This place makes me feel flooded with love. The important thing is to have lots of love about. I was very stingly with it back home. I use to measure and count it out. I had this obseesion with justice, you see. I wouldn’t love Mellersh unless he loved me back exactly as much, but he didn’t and neither did I. The emptiness of it all."
~Lottie, Enchanted April
"Any arbitrary turning along the way, and I would be elsewhere. I would be different. What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game. It's such a surprise."
~Under The Tuscan Sun
Remember, baby boy, your momma loves you!
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Oh baby boy, I can't believe you'd be 13. I can just hear you now. "Mooooom, I'm not a baby."
I remember your brother and sister as teenagers. Peter started sharing his comic book and video game favs with me. Bethany let me talk her into watching "Roman Holiday" even though she thought it would suck because it was a black and white movie. :-)
No, at 13 years of age, our children are not babies anymore. They start taking form as their own BEINGS. They begin asserting their likes and dislikes. They begin to question everything.
I wanted so much to see you do these things, baby.
It seems more difficult with each passing year to explain this reality to others. In some ways the grief ebbs, but the isolation grows. How do you meet new happy la-la friends at the local arts festival and then tell them you'll be checked out of the world this week because your dead son would be 13 this week and you still hate the world for him not being here? It's kind of absurd, which often translates into others thinking I myself am absurd (not that I don't already think that about myself and the world!). It's a mutual absurd fest.
After your birthday last year, I decided that I had to find meaning again for me, for why I'm still here, to figure out what I want to do with the days I have left. So I began doing things, silly, just for fun things off my bucket list, like going for the first time to multi-day film fest and going to my first comicon and going to Vegas for the first time. All interesting for exercises in the absurdity of being human, but what does any of it really mean? Leaves me questioning everything. Paris and Tuscany are still on the list, but they are just other places. Making my own short film or writing my first comic book are still on the list, but those are just other exercises yakking my jaw of human absurdity.
It sort of mirrors the existential angst I had as a teenager, too. Maybe I'm just channeling the challenging existential stuff you yourself might be starting to experience in the teen years? :) Maybe it is a practice of being an alive, awake, conscious human being to question each morning we wake and figure out a reason for getting out of bed and wonder what to make of this day? The human epic of living creatively.
The human epic of witnessing the death of self when our children die.
One little ray of heART I decided to create for myself this year is organizing a Day of the Dead themed art auction to benefit the MISS Foundation. We have a dozen or so artists so far, all handmaking Day of the Dead artworks that will be auctioned this Fall. The proceeds will go toward the amazing work your Auntie Jojo started over at MISS oh so many years ago in Cheyenne's memory. Tell all your friends over there on the other side I said thank you for inspiring their mommas to participate: Lucia, Nora, Maddy, Lyra, Liam, Theo, Kae, Aurora, Soren, Imogen, Heloise, Roku, Seven, Juggernaut and any other loved ones who are being remembered through this project.
I love you, baby boy.
I miss you with more aching than my body can take some days.
I wish I could do more than send you love across the time, space, life/death continuum.