Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Healing.....Part 1

I have one favourite poem that sticks with me always.  With all the reading & English lit I had studied in life I did not hear this poem until 2006 or thereabouts.  

Over the years, when I had suffered my miscarriages I had read plenty of new age type verse that did bring me levels of comfort & I even shared them with others. One of them I used for my SHIVER exhibition piece as I blogged here a few years ago.

Sometimes God sends us people. Sometimes He sends us words. Often He sends people with words.  This was the case for me.

I was raw & hurting but forcing it deep down inside, believing I was hiding my pain from the world.  Getting on with life and caring for the children.  I had lost pregnancy number 10, baby number 11.  Even now I cannot go into what was happening for me at that time. The door to those memories is locked. That in itself is a blessing.  My outside façade was a busy mum of young children. Inside it felt like voices were screaming. I felt frumpy.  We'd lost our little one at nearly 20 weeks. That leaves a few more body issues behind than just a regular early term loss.  I remember shocking my family by coming home from a shopping trip with all my beautiful waist long hair cut to my scalp.  The younger kids cried.

I wasn't getting out much to hang out with people. My friend asked me if I was angry with God. Her question made me angry.  I snapped "I'm not angry with God. I just need time to be alone with Him."  And that was true. But possibly after all this time, I was a little bit angry.  So much loss. So many dreams of little ones that were not meant to be....

My daughter invited me to hear her Oracy at school. Its a bit of a big deal at the high school.  So I dragged myself from the comfort of my nest and walked over to the school.  I hated being around people during that time. As a very private person, I never spoke about our miscarriages like other people do. In fact to this day we never 'announce' when we're having a baby. We let people figure it out for themselves but we don't aid anyone's guessing until 30+ weeks. Up until then we let people believe I'm getting chubby.....

So I'm sitting there in the hot room, feeling awkward and isolated & finally my daughter comes on.  I cant remember if she did her other pieces first or after her poem. It really is a blur.  I just remember her starting to recite her poem.

- By Henry Lawson

A lonely young wife
        In her dreaming discerns
        A lily-decked pool
        With a border of ferns,
        And a beautiful child,
        With butterfly wings,
Trips down to the edge of the water and sings:
        ‘Come, mamma! Come!
        ‘Quick! Follow me—
‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’
        And the lonely young wife,
        her heart beating wild,
        Cries, ‘Wait till I come,
        ‘Till I reach you, my child!’
        But the beautiful child
        with butterfly wings
Steps out on the leaves of the lily and sings:
        ‘Come, mamma! Come!
        ‘Quick! Follow me!
‘And step on the leaves of the water-lily!

        And the wife in her dreaming
        Steps out on the stream,
        But the lily leaves sink
        and she wakes from her dream.
        Ah, the waking is sad,
        For the tears that it brings,
And she knows ’tis her dead baby’s spirit that sings:

        ‘Come, mamma! Come!
        ‘Quick! Follow me!
‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’

The room seemed to loose all its air.  Sweat broke out of my forehead.  I was listening yet I wasn't listening. My face felt frozen in a smile, like a gargoyle, as other parents watched me watch my daughter. Her oration was beautiful. But those words were cutting a path to my heart!  I slipped my sunglasses on & tried desperately not to let the pooling tears fall. I thought it would be almost as embarrassing for Lyssa as for me if I started crying. No one would understand.  Those words!  Those words felt like they were torn from my own grieving mind.  "AH the waking is sad, for the tears that it brings..."

Yes the waking was very sad. 

My daughter came into the audience to see me & I croaked "you could have warned me" and walked out.  I felt bad about that afterwards but at the time I was consumed by my own grief.  She'd been practising for weeks and not once shared the poem she had planned to recite.  I wished I had been given the chance to desensitize myself!  

After I finished crying at home I looked the poem up myself. I read it again & cried.  Another day I read it again & cried.  Time moved on. I read it again & felt sad, shed a tear. My hair started growing back.  I returned to jogging & the baby weight started to drop off. Slowly, slowly I could feel the healing.  The start of it had been as bad as having a bucket of ice water thrown over me. But looking back it was what I needed to get me moving forwards again. 

Not to say there weren't times when I was dragged back to that sad place, suddenly, unexpectedly. Like in 2008 when I broke my wrist and had to pick up the xray films and in the packet was a sheet of still shots from the ultrasound when they discovered my baby had passed away.  Completely random & out of the blue. But again it gave me a chance to cry, reflect, pick up & get on with life again.  We need that chance to process what has happened to us, as hard as it is to do so.

And now as my 9 year old approaches book week, and I am told that the theme for their class is poetry, I can share this beautiful piece with her, and I feel absolutely OK. :-)

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