07 May 2010

The Second Coming

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to protect yourself, the centre cannot hold.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to protect yourself, things fall apart.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to protect yourself, the best lack all conviction.

Sometimes, it is just one of those weeks.
Exhaustion sets in.
Grief takes hold.
Unexplained emotions rise to the surface and there is no stopping them.

World War I poets like Yeats must have felt as if the world was spinning out of control with no end in sight. Perhaps they really did think This is it! Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen felt the same way. These war poets wouldn't know about WWII yet. Would never find out about Vietnam, Korea, Persian Gulf wars.

But they all share something in common. They know the trauma of loss first hand from being in the battlefield. They know the trauma first hand from the horror of those moments, the sound of the guns, the cracking of the bombs, the acrid smell of burning bodies.

It doesn't take 100 bodies to become overwhelmed. It doesn't take guns and ammunition and bombs dropped from above.

One child.

One child dead at birth.
One child dead before birth.
One child ripped from your arms.

And you remember the sound of the monitor and your own heart beating while the other one lies silent. You remember the sound the wheels made on the ultrasound machine wheeled in the room to have 'one quick look to see what's going on.' You remember the metallic taste in your mouth when all moisture suddenly disappeared and your jaw clicked together when you tried to talk but no words came out. You remember the way the room became cold, frigid really as you started shivering uncontrollable unable to regulate your body heat. You remember the sound of the bomb being dropped, "I'm sorry, your baby is dead." and the silence that hangs in the air. You remember thinking you never knew silence could be so deafening that you needed to cover your ears to make it go away.

You remember.
You remember.
You remember.

This has been a week filled with hope and wanting. It has been a week filled with disappointment and sadness. It has been a week, a full week, of the full emotional range.

I have met two more this week, two more babies no longer with us. Two more babies whose mothers fall to pieces when they talk. And I continued to be amazed at the courage of these parents, at the love, at their genuine hopelessness and hopefulness. I continue to be amazed.

My own life spins somewhat chaotically this week. Unpredictably.

So much so that I question so much about the direction of my life at the moment, but on some level, I have to trust in the fact that things will continue to present themselves to me, things will continue to make sense at some point, things will continue to improve.

I am not without wanting, longing, desire.

While I was convinced at one time in my life, that longing was just folly, I am more convinced now that longing is a part of who I am--constructing its path for me, teaching me patience, laying down its gifts.

It is difficult though, in a week like this to see that far ahead into the future. It is difficult to understand the implications.

The darkness drops again.

And still, I hope, I wonder, I wait.

I long.

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