My grand daughter would have been 6 weeks old today.
I never got a chance to meet her. She died in utero from umbilical cord strangulation. She was delivered by induced labor about 36 hours after her parents learned that she had no heartbeat, on the day that had been chosen to be her birthday. I only hope her journey through the Bardo will be short and will allow that tiny portion encompassing Brahman to choose what lesson she will learn, or teach, next to happen soon. I know that which ever path that spark chooses next will be one of profound compassion and clarity. It is very difficult to bring that hope to the surface through the tears shrouding all I see. I am a coward and weak and unable to realize how insignificant my own pain and utterly immobilizing anguish is compared to what her parents are experiencing. I am shamed by my weakness. I want to blame someone, something, some god. There is nothing at which to direct my anger and I am ashamed by that fear and anger. But it isn't about me.
My son, C___ and his lovely partner H______ were so happy and proud when we saw them last September. They looked so joyous and in love and strong. C____ is 28. H______ is 24. C____ stands six foot five and H______ comes nearly to his chin. I was so pleased and proud of them both and the life that they had put together. They shared some of their plans and hopes and concerns with us, both together and separately.
C____ and I talked about how a child changes things. About how that tiny intrusion of perfection into our mundane lives brings wonder and awe and uncertainty and fear but mostly unspeakably indescribable love. How we are remade into better people by such a small wriggly bundle of newness. How we can relearn the mystery of this universe every time we see them sleeping or blinking at us through unfocused eyes bright with that still fully connected to god sparkle, not yet dimmed by all the intrigues of butterflies and puppies, the momentary agonies of bruised knees and broken arms and hearts. Of the guilt felt by us when the complete trust and boundless love given by them freely and totally is fractured when we feel they need to be trained in the rules of this world. At least as far as we understand those semi agreed upon rules. How they will forgive us our ignorance about what really matters when they reach out and wrap their sticky-fingered hands around our neck and kiss us on the cheek. How they will share their most treasured and powerful amulets of bird feathers they find stuck in the bushes, the empty, broken snail shells that fascinate and enthrall them and the delight when they give us a special rock or dried up leaf they've found.
When C____ and I emerged from his mancave, we returned to the civilized world and sat around and talked about practical items like curtains and mortgages and car seats. We chatted about what might be needed for them to feel ready for this incredible journey they were fully embarked upon. How they were starting Lamaze and prenatal yoga classes.
I don't know what my wife and H______ talked about, but I am pretty sure it had to do with mommy type stuff, which as all men, who think they know who they are or not, realize we can never fully comprehend even though they tell us and show us every moment we are together. I used to think I was a reasonably intelligent man and knew quite a bit about this world until I was made aware by the mothers of my own children that my misplaced and ignorant ideas of what was of value paled to insignificance by dirty diapers and healthy choices of foods and toys. Of how sharing is a lesson that, while difficult to impart, is closer to Truth than spelling correctly or tense agreement. By the urgent and paramount requirement that acceptance and encouragement is so much more vitally important than scribbles on a wall or a broken dish or a throw up stained tie and shirt. Of how answering “Why?” needs to be an immediate priority, towering so far above a dusty shelf or a messy room, as to need a telescope of Hubble proportions for such ephemerals to be even seen.