Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Full Circle

It is in the character of very few men
to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.
Aeschylus, Agamemnon
Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC - 456 BC)

I started this post assuming that the subject was about envy. I looked up envy in the dictionary - a feeling of discontent over another's success. I really like the quote above, but for me envy means longing and longing doesn't have to mean jealousy. Whatever we call it envy, longing, desire, it comes from events ensuing around me as well as the purest feeling I have ever known, love for my child.

Over the next six months, we will (hopefully) receive 11 announcements of babies born to friends from all stages of my life. I shared this at our grief group last night and a collective gasp went up in the room. They get it. I would never want one of these babies to die, but all around us, our friends are embracing new life while we are facing our daughter's death. The one baby we want most, we will never physically have here with us again.

In the midst of this, I am dealing with some of my own internal struggles. As I long for another child, I picture myself in a hospital with a child snuggled in my arms. How will I respond? Joy? Unfelt grief of what I have lost...that I will never have Cara? Another child never replaces Cara, but will another child set forth a new wave of grief.

I talked to the leader of our group last night. Her son died at 2 and a half over 30 years ago. He was her only child at the time, and she went on to have two beautiful daughters. She said there is joy, but there is grief. Lighter moments come, but the grief never goes away completely. I'll always long for the child who should also be here.

Our counselor encouraged me early in my grieving to embrace other people's joy as my own. THAT'S CRAZY to tell a grieving mother. I blew it off at the time thinking it impossible, but since have caught glimpses of what he meant. Most recently, a friend was over for lunch with her little girl born several months before Cara. As they were getting ready to leave, I sat with her daughter in my lap, putting her shoes on, and my heart just swelled with love for this little girl. If she had stayed with me that day, I could have loved her as my own. At the end of our visits, she ultimately goes home with her mommy, but dances delight into the days that I see her.

So maybe it's not jealousy or envy, maybe it's just a deep longing or desire. Could we change the quote? It is in the character of very few men to honor a friend who has prospered without similar longing. I'll caveat that by saying there many things one could long for that are not worth it. A friend receiving a hefty promotion and longing for that, this is not what I'm talking about. Longing for a child is different. Maybe we just scratch the quote altogether and just call it a point from which I started this post. Coming full circle through feelings of sorrow and joy and pain and happiness. Such is my world these days...


Carly said...

I found that when River was born all I felt was complete love for her. She didn't replace Christian, and no one could ever replace her.

I know your feeling of longing and yearning. Even though I had Scarlett I still longed for another baby. I think I wanted to replace Christian. I wanted the pain to stop. The pain didn't stop when River was born but it changed. There is now so much beauty in my world even with grief hanging over me.

Sending you love and many wishes as you welcome these babies over the next 6 months.

with love

Carly x

Cynthia said...

Thanks for the comment, Carly. These are the reflections I need to hear. I'm so glad you have River and Scarlett, and for Christian who taught you to love in new ways.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure how I happened over to your blog...I do believe it to be "Divine" intervention! I read several of your posts and landed on this one.
I thought how and what could I possilbly say to help that I have no experience in. I am a true believer that out life exeriences lead us to people and theirs to us. I have not had a child born sleeping( really I don't want to offend or to upset, it seems to be a nicer picture or thought. does that make sense.?) I have had two losses and still grieve my children in heaven. After the second loss I learned I have some bloodclotting disease MTHFR heterozygote.... while pregnant my body clots too much and when the placenta and baby are growing there is just too much clotting and the vessels can not flow as they should. I read a lot, but much was very "medical and clinical" I met a woman that had the same and she said she had to have heprin injections and took LOTS AND LOTS of folic acid. I began to increase my folic acid and a baby aspirin(blood thinner)... and became pregnant again..I really wasn't trying. I wasn't supposed to be able to without "help". I have the type that didn't need the blood thinners but continued my baby aspirin and folic acid. I got past the 12 weeks. All went well...the rest you can read if you like of my Miss T.
I was thinking why is this hitting me so hard today why am I feeling as though I MUST say something to you... I realized that today Feb 14 is the day my baby I named Emma would be 11yrs old. I don't know Your pain but I do know of aching so unbelievably deep and not knowing when it will stop or let up. I have no other advise other then to say I am praying for you and your family. I pray for the healing of your heart and to let you know that you are not alone. Your sweet angel is with many other loved angels and not alone either. I know that it is not a lot to hold onto but that is what I have found in these years to help me.
Our experiences are only ours and this is mine. Yours is yours. Do Not let anyone tell you how or when to greive. You need to do what works for YOU. Take one day at a time and sometimes it is simply one minute at a time.

From my heart