27 November 2008

Welcome to the world...

To my sweet, nameless, little friend whom I've never met,

You are three days old today and four weeks early. I heard this from your mommy who is really amazing for emailing me three days after your birth, especially since we've never even met in person. But this, sweet girl, is what you must understand about your life: Already there are people who love and adore you who don't even know you. Your little five-pound petite self is making splashes all across this country, and all you are worried about is where your next meal is coming from! As it should be.

This is a strange, strange thing, this whole thing about love and babies. You--you just get to do exactly whatever it is you do, day and night, and you will be loved. Period. end of the sentence that isn't really a sentence at all. Truly, love is more of a question mark often but today, you are the exclamation point!

Someday, you will learn about Pudding. Maybe your mother and father will tell you. Maybe your big brother, Gus! But know that you are one lucky, little girl with the two big brothers you have and the arms wrapped around you right now.

And if you ever for a second, god forbid, question your parents' love, which you most certainly will, let today be the day that I can honestly say without knowing a thing about you, that love is all around and surrounding you! And your mother adores you beyond anything you will ever understand. It is our job as parents.

Welcome to this crazy, harried, mixed-up place that we call life! That you have come into it with eyes wide open is a gift much larger than I hope you will ever have to understand.

Love from Spokane, from a friend that you may never need to meet!

And to your mother, Elizabeth, from the bottom of this cracked and beat up heart, love, love and more love to all of you!!

25 November 2008

Beauty from Pain

Where I've been...

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know i'm alive but i feel like i've died
And all that's left is to accept that it's over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that i made
I try to keep warm but i just grow colder
I feel like i'm slipping away

Where I never thought I'd be...

After all this has passed, i still will remain
After i've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today,
Someday i'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

When you're in that tunnel, when you can't see the light, it's hard to know where the light is going to come from.

In the early days AG (after Grace), my days were all darkness. There was so much darkness that I didn't even want to find the light. And if some light started to seep in, I'd crawl farther into the dark. I remember being alive and wishing for death.

It was a dark, dark time. It was a kind of darkness, that if I think about it for too long, I start to feel panic, I start to feel the pain, I start to hypervenilate. And so, as much as I want to find the beauty in that pain, the beauty really has come after the pain, from the people, the experiences, the life after Grace.

The entire area around Grace remains panic-stricken--the ultrasound, the drugs, the birth, post-birth.

It's the sounds I can remember--Beth walking down the hall taking Grace to the funeral home. The sound of the elevators when we left the hospital without her. The whirl of the lights at 3:40 a.m. when I woke up with blood pouring out of me. The sound of nothing waking up that first morning at home, without child, with milk running down my breast, crying out.

There is pain all around. I have friends in pain right now and I can do nothing. It is the helplessness really that's the hardest. The part of me that wants to fix the world, that wants to find the beauty and take the pain away.

And yet I know that the stark contrast of pain from beauty is really what makes those moments even more stunning. It is seeing Sawyer for the first time, crying out and the eyes open, the open eyes. I can tell you now there is absolutely nothing more beautiful than the open eyes of a baby. Seeing his eyes wide open after birth, the looking around, the searching for milk.

What I wish for my friends, for my friend, is the absolute knowledge that from this pain comes sheer joy, sheer pleasure. And from this place of deep sadness within me comes understanding and love and grace. And that this sadness too shall pass and when it does, we will dance and sing and celebrate all of the briefness that is Grace and grace.

02 November 2008


Terry, Carver, Sawyer and I spent the last 2 hours in the ER. Sawyer fell at a friend's house and had to get the cut on his head permabonded (no stitches).

Being in an ER allows a lot of time for thinking and a lot of time to remember trauma.

So there she was--Grace--right there in front of me, taking up space in my head while I was trying to console Sawyer during the trauma he was experiencing. Wrapping him up in a sheet like a burrito and holding him down was bad, was painful, but having experienced Grace gave us the calm, gave us the steel we needed somehow to sing songs to him, to wipe his forehead, to keep him calm.

When Carver broke his leg some years ago, before Grace, I nearly passed out in the ER as they were holding him down, as he was screaming, as he was begging them to stop and yet, here in this hospital tonight, I was holding down Sawyer. Terry and I were singing to him and I thought, "he's screaming, I am so grateful for his tears, for his pain, for our ability to hold him."

I just wanted her to cry. I just wanted to hear her wail and still the silence of Grace's birth is deafening, the absolute stillness, the lifelessness of it all, it is too much, too great.

And so, as Sawyer cried and wailed, I found myself surprisingly calm, surprisingly okay with all of it. "All we can do is keep breathing; all we can do is keep breathing; all we can do is keep breathing."

And Grace, she is here among us, silently teaching me how to fall in love over and over again with my children, grateful for their burdens, grateful for their cuts, grateful that the trips to the ER brings us back home with our children safe in their beds.