Friday, December 6, 2013

Emilie Parker, Her Mother, Evil and Love

I'm going to hold on to this for as long as I can. I've been reading so much about life and death since my friend Carrie's death from ovarian cancer, a young single mother of a boy who she loved as much as you can love. I've been reading about NDE's… I guess trying to understand what I can't  understand. And the thing I keep reading over and over again is how important free will is for choosing love, and the incredible power of making that choice.  So to hear this mother who lost her beautiful irreplaceable baby girl say the same thing- I cannot dishonor that wisdom by letting myself forget or reach for any less in my own life. I started crying when she reached up and touched her daughter's little bike, and you might cry too. It's a horrific loss. And, there is an 'and'. Dakota recently reached out to a young guy around his age who just lost both of his older brothers within four months. Dakota was deeply shaken and upset that he couldn't do more for this guy than the discussions they've been having. He said ' I told him I know it might be weird because I don't really know him, but I love him anyway just because we are all human. " And I told him just to be present, just to reach out and then stay present with love in the face of so much suffering, is the most important thing you can do. I'm so proud of him that he is choosing to do so.  I think that translates to our entire experience of life- Just stay present, with love, in the face of all the suffering- such an enormous task. Some people can't do it. I can't always do it. We aren't perfect. We fail the people we love because of those weak places, but it's the overall that counts, that lasts. Some parents can't do it for their kids, and those kids pay a deep price for it. That kind of abandonment is not talked about much in our culture, but it is behind so much of the emotional and mental disease we see.  On a small scale, it takes me to when Ever was in the hospital and screaming for over two hours as they pinned her down and pricked her black and blue, Ed and I took turns holding her hand and looking into her face. If you had seen her eyes-- she kept searching the faces of each doctor and nurse, nailing each one down and making them SEE her, then meeting our eyes with so much begging.  She was covered, head to toe- her actual toe- in large angry bruises on her tiny one month old body. She wanted us to make it stop, and all we could do was look at her with love. To be there. We felt like shit. We felt like we failed her, not figuring out a better way or stopping them until we could. But looking back, I think we did what we were called to do as her parents. And I think this mom is doing that, too, on a scale so large and terrible I can't truly imagine it. Facing loss- an absence- is so different than facing a person's suffering, and then what that loss is your child… I don't  know what it's like, but I know what we all instinctively know, that it is the worst pain a parent could experience. Joan Didion says that loss is to face the essence of meaningless, and that is the echo of what I feel when I imagine what it would be like. So to create meaning and love must be the only way to stop from being annihilated by the loss.  I can carry this with me--

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