Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zelda at the Car Wash

And then there are those moments when I just really miss my son. And my practice and all this time on the battlefield tells me to hold steady, to be still and instead I jump up and down until my own weight shakes my house. I take off my clothes, rub earth and blood all over my body,  tell the practice to fuck off and go-for- broke in the madness of another level of heart opening. There are venues in which manners and my commitment to hold space for others is essential, is priority, is service and I can and I do it with grace. But do not be fooled. I am and will always be a work in progress.  The moment I think I have some new insight, some kindness, some understanding, some knowing... something new shows herself. It is the size of a cubic centimeter, a small little window into this human heart of mine. So I follow it.

I am a bit skeptical of people who are impressed with my "grief work".  There is nothing impressive about it. Grief is death. Death is messy. I am messy. All I know is that staying in it carries me to a new level of awareness, but each level is its own legend of Zelda. Remember that game? The one where you begin the game with a small shield and then a sword becomes available to you only after you enter the cave... so the awareness (the weapon) is always met with a challenge equivalent to your resource. As you move onto new levels, the game doesn't get easier. What starts out as a cave turns into underground labyrinths. You are frickin fighting for the Triforce of Wisdom. The final level is Death Mountain where you don't stand a chance unless you have acquired the silver arrow.  Then there is the Princess of Zelda... enter new relationship and good god... I'm just saying'... it gets more complex.

Someone who shared how"impressive I am" asked me a few months ago if I have done a lot of processing around the loss of a child. She is a prominent grief therapist in the Bay Area and this converation was over dinner so I felt that she could handle a bit of my skepticism.  My first answer to her question was more questions... " do you always refer to people's children as articles instead of pronouns? Can you please ask the question again referring to "my child" instead of "a child? I can only speak for myself".  Then I asked her to elaborate on what she meant by process. She meant process kind of like a car wash. You pay to have a machine clean off all the messy as you drive your car through and come out the other side kind of sparkly. These weren't her words exactly but the simile fits her meaning of grief process. 

Here is the thing with "grief process". Only parts of us are mechanical. My opinion is that our work is to transform the mechanical parts of ourselves not fucking wax them.  Otherwise we are just adding layers of habitual response when the faculty of grief is to penetrate the layers, to peel back the levels, to enter the labyrinth well equipped because we have done the work. Time doesn't give you silver arrows, only the quest does.

Grief is not a process with an end result. I am not a conclusion or a consequence. I am interested in being a refuge, a safe place to be with death, to be honest with how she has her way with me,  but this is not a place that has a finish line. This is a place that has seen women flip cars to save their children... and if we do want to wash them... we do it ourselves in cowboy boots,  bikini tops, and our collected quiver of arrows.


Sarah Trudeau said...


So beautiful. I'm crying. And I love the sentence at the top of your blog... "Live radically from your heart." You do. I only met you once, but you do.



miss alice k. webb said...

It's so reassuring to hear someone else that has let go of the idea of grief as an outcome, something on your "to-do". I see grief as an invitation to explore who you love, to truly understand how meaningful and helpful our connections to others truly are and learn how to love yourself and others in new and different ways.

Within my own family, I've received that sideways look when I've told my Ma that there are days that I think of my grandma and cry because I just want her here, I want to know what she would think of this, right here, right now...and yet I feel like my ties with her have not been severed, they changed 7 years ago when she passed. We remain in relationship, but not as we were before. She's still around, but sometimes I just really miss THAT relationship, where I could hold her actual hand in my hand and she snuck me cookies as if they were forbidden fruit. I miss her hands and her face, dammit. I miss that look that said "you are wonderful no matter what you do". I could have lit her house on fire and she would have found a way to call it adorable. And reading your words made me feel like those moments are not so much a backslide as being open to what my heart has to say in the moment :) So, thank you very much, lady.

I can't wait to see your rakusu, btw. I myself choose to wear a functional yet comfortable armor at work. The hoodie. It's not actually cold at work, but I always wear one of three. Lately, when people ask me if I'm cold/why on earth I'm wearing a sweatshirt, I say "no, this is my's kinda rough here, I need protection." I am comforted and surprised by the fact that I mostly get respect for that comment.

love, love, love to read this blog.

Lucia Maya said...

I just discovered your blog and want to say how beautiful your writing is, and your sharing of your grief, your love, your warrior self.

My 22 year old daughter died Sept 23 (almost 4 weeks ago), from cancer. I am deep in grief, and also continue to be grateful, finding beauty in each day.

Similar to something you wrote, I know that she and I chose to do this journey together, and that my work in the world has been informed and enriched by Elizabeth's time here, and by our relationship.

Such a mystery this is!
much love to you, and I look forward to more,