How do you solve a problem like more loss? PART II of the healing journey! (With Sound of Music gifs!)

It is DAY TWO of the blogging series about my healing journey – can you handle the excitement?! Do you have your coffee ready?!

I will recap yesterday’s post. The start of the journey, if you will, in one long run-on sentence:

My mom dies in 2013, I am very very sad (as one would be), a year later I try to get pregnant but can’t, I go to the acupuncturist, the energy gates open and I grieve every loss I have ever had (a lot of loss), I am on a road to healing…and BUM BUM BUM.

(Oh, and there is a flow chart! And Sound of Music gifs! Really you should take a look!)

That takes us to part two: we pick up at the bum, bum bum!

We are still at the top of the flow chart (<–here in full). BUT now we are gonna move to that section labeled SUFFERING. Hold on to your hats folks.

It is January, precisely two years, four months after my mom died. I am still feeling a lot of grief but it is flowing through me. This is good. But also, my husband has been witnessing the grief flow through me for, oh, two and a half years. That is a hard thing to do, to witness our loved ones in pain. (Psst, this bit is some foreshadowing, wink wink.)

As you may recall I was seeing an acupuncturist in the hopes of getting pregnant. I was starting to see shifts in my body, and I was also taking Chinese herbs and such.

And then in mid-January, I noticed all the signs I had noticed when I was pregnant with my daughter. I took a pregnancy test and I was pregnant.

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Sing it Maria! Tumblr.

Everything about this pregnancy felt miraculous. It is hard to explain. It felt like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t think my body was fully ready for pregnancy so I was a bit stunned.

I did the online calculator of when I was due: It was the date my mother died, September 18th.

To the day.

Now, I know due dates are estimations, but I got goosebumps. I mean really, how does that happen?

This feeling of disbelief–but also of something not being right, of it all being too easy, and not quite real–was with me from the start.

Seven weeks into my pregnancy I had a dream. It was a beautiful dream of huge cranes flying away into the night. I can still close my eyes and feel its beauty. But I awoke with a huge amount of despair and grief. I could not figure it out. I honored the grief -I figured it was new grief surfacing about how my mom would never meet this child, or something like that. I was so very sad though. I remember taking a day off of work, that was how much I was grieving.

Two weeks later I sat in an ultrasound room and saw there was no heartbeat. I had started bleeding the day prior. I knew that I had lost the baby, but I was not really ready to face it until sitting in that room. My husband’s eyes welled with tears and I sat numb. I knew it already on some level. But I hadn’t been ready to really know it, you know?

It appeared the baby had stopped growing two weeks prior – the day of my dream, I am nearly certain. 

This loss, this loss of a child that was supposed to enter our world on the date I lost my mom, it was the icing on the cake of so. much. loss. It was the tipping point. I had suffered up until this point, yes, but I was able to see light at the end, to which I was headed.

This loss was different.

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Maria understands. source.

Are you still with me? I now it is so sad but I will promise you, this big story ends well. It ends with love and connection. I think we need a reminder from Maria that it is going to be ok in the end:

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From TUMBLR of course!

But yes, what came next was suffering.

We have all suffered so what I will share I am sure you can relate to: I felt like I was being punished. (“Why me?”) I felt as though maybe it was true that bad things happen to bad people. (A favorite ethos of our culture. Not true however!) I felt isolated and alone in my grief, that there was NO way ANYONE could EVER relate to MY PAIN because it was SO UNIQUE. (Also not true.) I felt bitter and angry.

Remember my husband? Well, we both took it hard. And I wanted someone to blame and while it makes zero sense, I remember constantly being upset with him because he just couldn’t understand, he wasn’t being patient in my healing…and later, in therapy, I realized that really I just wanted HIM to make it better. Somehow. I didn’t realize it at the time but suffering does weird things to us doesn’t it?

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More gifs from here.

So, not only was I suffering from the miscarriage, I was feeling angry and bitter in my marriage…a bit of projection, if you will. Well that just creates more stress. A sh*tstorm of stress, really.

And then it all shifted.

If you were to ask me the turning point in my healing, if I could identify one moment in time, I can tell you. It was early March. I was talking to my sister on the phone. I can even picture the corner of my couch I was sitting on when I spoke to her.

My sister is often able to connect spiritually with my mother in intense ways that I am not able to. You know what she told me as we spoke on the phone that day in March? She said mom saw my intense suffering. And she said, “Mom wants you to be happy…to be able to enjoy your husband and daughter. She doesn’t want you to suffer any more.”

That, my friends, was the turning point.

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Tumblr.

I felt those words in my heart. I felt my mother with me, and I felt her pain at seeing me in pain.

It was like a light bulb went off. I thought, I do not have to choose suffering. Yes, I didn’t ask be dealt these cards. But I can choose how I respond. 

I surrendered to the pain. I didn’t blame, I didn’t fight, I simply saw that it was part of my story at this point, and that I could choose to embrace this or I could angrily fight against it. The fighting-against-it-trope was not going well for me, my husband or my family.

If you want the truth, it was my mother’s love that made me see. My mother continues to mother me from beyond the veil. Is that not incredible? 

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Hooray for a mother’s love! From source.

I TOLD YOU IT WOULD END WELL! But there is more…

TOMORROW – PART 3: How I chose love and connection over fear, anger, and suffering. (PLUS more gifs!)


Do your life also correspond nicely with Sound of Music animated GIFS? Then I invite you to join me on Twitter or Facebook!

Therapy for you! Therapy for you! Therapy for everryyyyonnnne!

Top of the morning! This post is going to be a practice in flash blogging. (Is that a thing? Like #flashfiction only blogging. I will make it a thing.) The reason? Today I see my theraaaaaaapisttttt! (That’s me saying it in my inner Oprah-voice.) And therapy day is a great and wonderful day, but it means a hastier morning routine…hence #flashblogging. Seriously I’m gonna make that a thing.

In the midst of writing this, my wonderful therapist called me. She had a logistical snafu come up and needs to delay our appointment until later. As she said, ‘Shit happens!’

Oh boy doesn’t it.

Sometimes I am amazed at how much I can process simply by sitting and unloading for an hour. (Us people who see therapists, we like to use words like “process.”) Why, just by holding space for me to speak and speak and speak and be heard I can discover so much about myself and my situation. It’s hard to do this with our loved ones. They are too wrapped up in our outcomes. Oh they are so eager to see us just be OK AND WELL! But our therapist can just chillax and let it be.

Huh. Let it be. Hold space. Interesting because now that I think about it that is what I have been struggling with lately. Perhaps this is a better way for me to think about the perceived “inaction” in my life: maybe the universe is building in a pause period for me to figure some more stuff out. To untangle the Christmas lights a little more so the lights can shine through clearer.

This sh*t right here y’all, this is why I love writing. And therapy! This is why I love therapy!  These periods of pause might be challenging for me, but maybe I just needed a new perspective. The quiet pause might be viewed as an extension of what I experience in therapy: moments of being that will help me bring further clarity before taking action. (Or maybe it is simply a pregnant pause (ha! Pun intended) to savor the gifts in my life before I build another robot.)

Huh. That makes a lot of sense. This is what we call in therapy lingo, an “a-ha!” moment.

Because shit happens but then we talk about it for fifty minutes and we figure stuff out. We hold space to be so we may see.

Hallelujah, how I love therapy day.

(And seriously, may we all have someone to do this with! If I was Oprah, I’d totally make that happen…”A therapist for you! A therapist for you! Therapists for EVERYONNNNE!!!!”)


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You can’t manifest a robot in only one month.

Good morning my loves! Sarah here, with coffee and writing. (No cheese today. Just a medley of Life cereal mixed with Cheerios courtesy of the child. Mmm. A little sweet, a little oat.)

Mooooo. (c)mourning dove motherhood

I am proud to announce that last night, while watching Veep and eating my popcorn, I was so tempted to zone out to Selena Miller interspersed with Facebook scrolling. But then I was like, oh sh*t, I just told the dozens of lovelies who read my blog that I was going to do art at night time. This is good, you are holding me accountable. So I did some sketching…of COWS! Cows with cattle egrets. I am noodling around with the idea of a children’s book involving a cow and an egret who are friends. As part of my Wikipedia browsing  important literary research I discovered that cattle egrets are fierce little dudes. They apparently sometimes eat OTHER BIRDS. They think they are owls or something. Anyway, more to come on the cow and the egret.

What’s on my mind today is MANIFESTATION. I am talking about seeing something in your mind’s eye and making it a reality. I have always been pretty good at manifesting. I’m not a wizard* or anything. But I take leaps and follow my heart and probably most importantly, listen to my intuition. Now don’t get me wrong this quality in me isn’t always pretty. I once followed my intuition and dated a guy…who braided his beard. (And yes he worked at a food co-op. You guys, I can’t make this stuff up.)

So I have this manifestation thing down but what I struggle with is simply BEING. For a long time I thought the opposite of manifesting something was inaction. I am slowly realizing that no, it is important sometimes to simply be. I have had all sorts of random assorted messages that have made me aware that I am starting to tap into feminine energies more.  Feminine energy holds space for something and masculine energy is action. But that both are needed to manifest something. Or so I have deduced from others who are wiser about this stuff than I am.

Right now my heart (and a snail) are telling me that the flow for me right now is being. It isn’t time for action yet. This IS SO HARD FOR ME Y’ALL. I want action! Boom shacka lacka I want to get stuff done. I get antsy when I feel like I am not doing doing enough even when my heart tells me, slow down, poco a poco, you will get there.

Yesterday I was talking to my sister. I was lamenting about how hard it was for me to be patient in certain matters which I want to see results now damn it! I was talking about one personal thing that I will speak in code about. The conversation went something like this:

Her: Be patient with yourself. Think of all your body has been through over the last three years, and especially in the last several months. I have no doubt you will be holding a robot in your arms soon.

Me: I know. I want to build a robot now but I just need to be patient.

Her: You know, there are doctors that help people build robots. And sometimes medicines.

Me: Yes, I know, but I haven’t taken that step yet. I mean it is has only been one month since I started trying to build a robot again.

Her: *silence followed by laughter.* HOLD THE FRONT DOOR. You have only been trying to build a robot for one month?!

Me: Huh, now that I say that out loud, that is absurd that I am fretting about building a robot when I literally have only tried for ONE MONTH TO BUILD A ROBOT.

Yes, that is me in a nutshell. I decide I am ready to build robots and then see it in my mind’s eye and I am like, ok let’s do this. Let’s manifest some robots. And then when they don’t manifest in a month I am like, why is the universe broken??

Holding space. Simply being. All robots will be built in due time.  You know, perhaps in longer than one month. 

 

*Speaking of wizards, yesterday I saw a man in a long black cloak walking a dog. My first thought was, wow is that Professor Snape? Then I noticed the white collar. He was a priest. You can tell you have pretty much shaken your Catholic roots when your mind immediately goes to Harry Potter before thinking man of the cloth.

Do you want to be the first to hear when Sarah has built a robot? Follow the blog on Twitter or FacebookOr  follow on WordPress for you fellow nerdy wordpress-y folks. 

My Daughter’s Brand of Magic

 

It doesn’t seem to matter what stage my daughter is at. I often look at her with wonder and think, there is no way I will ever forget this.

But then she evolves and I struggle to remember. What exactly was she like at two years old? That other version of her fades away and the person who she is right now is front and center, stealing the show. Sure, I remember in broad strokes what she was like at two (there was a lot of climbing…) but the details of her brand of magic at that age seem so fuzzy.

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Image source

Right now my daughter is 3 1/2. She still says “Lello” (yellow), yesterday asked for a “lollyplop” (aww!!) and would prefer being naked to anything else. I have a hunch this won’t last forever.

All I can do is stay present to it all. Soak in her little whispers (‘Mommy, let’s pretend to be an alligator and get daddy!’) and try not to laugh when she stands, pouting, arms crossed, imploring “I want a Pogistle (popsicle) right now!”

You now the old adage, this too shall pass? Well I tend to like that saying when life is craptastic. But when life is lovely and joyous and maketh my heart overfloweth, well, it seems more than a tad unfair. photo-1460176449511-ff5fc8e64c35.jpeg

Nevermind. This version of her magic will blend in the background when the new one emerges. And I certainly wouldn’t want to miss that.

Do you have any tricks for remembering the magic?  Please feel free to share below or on Twitter orFacebook.

 

 

 

 

Facing Anger (And Reluctantly Admitting My Husband Was Right)

Every window in my house is currently steamed up. (No, it’s not what you think! Jeesh, don’t make me blush.) The reason? I live in Florida. It is summer. The humidity is higher than Donald Trump’s bangs.

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high hair, high humidity. (photo source)
I just returned home to this heat from 

vacation in the cool, humidity-free Northeast. No matter. I am loving the all-consuming stickiness.

At last: the outside world is matching my inside world.

As vacation ended and some unpleasant realities of life creeped back into my consciousness, anger began seeping out in all the ways that Oprah would advise against. Projecting onto my husband. Snapping at my daughter. Scowling about towels left on the floor and muttering loudly under my breath.  A tiny voice within squeaked, hmm you seem pretty CHARGED UP about this…perhaps something else? To which my ego (angrily) replied, NO! Really, I  AM this angry over my husband whining about needing a nap after he slept ten hours last night! (Yes this really happened. Normally I would I would chuckle and lovingly mock him and tell him to shut his pie hole. I would not be full of PRIMAL RAGE.)

I was full of PRIMAL RAGE.

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Who knew? A google search for “primal rage”returns this fantastic image from an early ’90s video game.
I’ll spare you the details of the who and what that led to my anger. It isn’t necessary. What I will share is how surprised I have been at the depth and fierceness of the anger—and my unwillingness to simply name it for what it was.

Why, I wondered later, is it so hard for me to just say, “I AM ANGRY AT X AND I NEED TO JUST SAY IT OUT LOUD!”

Many wise souls have pointed out how resisting what is is the source of our suffering. Certainly it was the source of the suffering between my husband and myself, as he threw his hands up and said, “Whoa, why are you so upset with ME? I know this isn’t about me, this is about x! Stop projecting!”

He even predicted that ten minutes later I would be back, apologizing, and admitting he was right.

Damn it, I hate when he is right.

I think it all has to do with anger being a secondary emotion.

I read the term “secondary emotion” for the first time a year or two ago. I had this major “AHA” moment. I had been lumping anger as an emotion with all the rest. Turns out, anger is special. It is just the first layer of a delicious cake of emotions. Perhaps it is the crispy charred caramel bit atop a Crème brûlée. You have to poke through it to get to the creamy, smooth center, the meat of the thing.

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If only anger tasted as delicious. Image source.
Which, in my case, turned out to be sadness. So. Much. Sadness. Once I finally admitted to my husband that he was right (sigh), that I was not actually angry at him, I crept into a spare bedroom and wrote a little. The tears started flowing and they wouldn’t stop. Streams and streams of tears. I hadn’t cried like this in a very long time. I let it run its course but it took an awfully long time for my eyes to dry up.

No wonder I was hiding behind the anger. Who wants to unearth all that hurt and sadness?

I’d love to carry my metaphor forward about the dessert and crème brûlée, something trite about how sweet it is to finally break through all the flavors and eat the gooey custard middle. But that is not the case. There is nothing fun or delicious about resisting anger, feeling anger, and then crying for twenty minutes.

For me, the closest I can come to that happy ending is through my writing, which always helps me unpack what I’m feeling and find some self-compassion in the process. Not as tasty as a French dessert, but I’ll take it.

 

 

The Sinewed Bonds of Family

The other night I woke at 5:30 am—that liminal time where you still have one foot in a dream world—and a word appeared in front of me. I sat up straight in bed and knew I had to write it down, this gift from the dream-space. I googled the meaning, took a screen shot, and saved it in my phone.

I went back to sleep and upon fully waking vaguely remembered something about a word popping in my head. Aha, I had been clever enough to save it in my phone! There it was: sinew.

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I’ve sat with this word the last 24 hours. I’ve let it accompany me on the comings and goings as we visit my in-laws for the week.

The other night, I heard someone rustling around in the kitchen before dinner. Iced tea had just been made. There was a click of a radio being turned on. For a moment I thought it was my own mother, summer tea in hand, small kitchen television turned to CNN.

It wasn’t my mother of course, but my mother-in-law. The ache that was lingering in the background, a sullenness that was a small throb, came right to the forefront. Oh, I miss my mother. Oh, I miss my father. I am not here to fill that space, though, I reminded the small child within me. This visit is for my daughter.

I am soaking in the joy of seeing her with grandparents, a grandfather who teaches her how to play “pea porridge pie” and explains to her the merits of free market capitalism. A grandmother who insisting on combing my daughter’s unwieldy hair and telling her, “ears are not just for listening, but for tucking hair behind!” Cousins who shoot nerf guns at her and share their bikes with her. Oh, this fills my heart. This is family. This is not my family, but it is family.

In the midst of all of this I thought about my word sinew. I read the definition. Deeply within, I fully understood why this word appeared before me in the early morning.

Tough fibrous tissue, uniting bone to bone, or muscle to bone. The thing that gives it strength or bind it together.

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Gray’s Anatomy, Public Domain source.

Alas, my family’s ties are sinew. The ties that currently feel stretched to their limit, so taut and fraught with tension you think, surely they must break, just might withstand the stress.

 

This sinew—this connective tissue, our shared DNA, the bonds that unite us bone to bone—are designed to bear it all, I am reminded. The stuff of survival, of ropes and weapons, they are resilient.

Like my family, the word is of Germanic origin.

As I sit in my in-law’s kitchen, I will observe the sinews of my husband’s family (not without its own bonds stretched tight in places, a good lesson to keep in mind.) And as I sit in the liminal space that is the uncertain relationship with my father, an in-between place of its own that is not what it was and not yet what it will become, I will close my eyes and clutch this word. sin·ew.  Perhaps a whisper from the beyond that in the end, ties won’t break, and are stronger than they seem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of Spring

It is spring in Southern Florida. You have to look closely (it is easy to miss the subtle signs among the constant sunshine and blue skies) but it is here.

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Magical little dragonfly. Kind of weird and cool at the same time. Image source.

 

On a walk yesterday I noticed what appeared to be baby dragon flies. Have you ever seen such a thing? At first I didn’t even know what I was looking at. Were they flies? Were they butterflies? They seemed like something out of a fairy tale. One little booger landed on my hand! She had bright red wings. Magical.

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Flowering bougainvillea. image source.

As I walked further I suddenly noticed tons of
flowering bougainvillea that
seemed to appear out of nowhere. Overnight entire branches were now full of the bright pink blossoms.

And the baby anoles! They are the lizards you see everywhere in Florida. I noticed they were absent from our yard for a bit. Weird. And then in the last week or two tons of the little guys started to appear once again, darting around, climbing the lanai screen and scurrying under foliage.

I am heartily embracing these signs of spring. It may not be daffodils and forsythia (gosh I miss forsythia) but I’ll take it.

If you have read any of my recent posts you might have caught on to the fact that things have been a wee bit heavy in my life as of late. (Understatement?) I recently wrote about how it felt like I’ve been stuck in the winter season.

Since writing that post, a heaviness has lifted. I am pretty sure the writing itself had something to do with it. It never ceases to astound me how the simple (and yet so difficult) act of witnessing and acknowledging our pain is enough to make it go POUF. Even when it is heavy and dense and feels like it stretches back a thousand lifetimes. Doesn’t matter. Poof.

Crazy isn’t it?

I am fairly new to Florida and I’m still trying to figure out what the seasons exactly are (other than rainy…and non-rainy) but I will tell you: It feels like spring.