The Beginning

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This is the beginning of this new place at stillbirthday, called Mothering Our Mourning.

Mothering Our Mourning is a place of short revelations I feel I’m given on my journey.  It’s a place where I pause, to note the messages of healing spoken to my heart.

While our Ripples program allows you to identify the ways in which your child(ren)s lives can still create a positive impact, this, Mothering Our Mourning, serves to be potentially, deeply challenging, as it is a place where the focus is not on the legacy of my child, per se, but is on the connection I have with him – my grief.  It is a collection of observations I make as I daily nurture and daily discipline my mourning, for my healthiest grief.

I believe my mourning needs my mothering.  It is not only an entity that needs nurturing – that is, validation, respect, and care, but it is also an entity that needs discipline – that is, structure, wise counsel upon and constructive speaking to.

Like a child, my mourning can throw tantrums – ha!  It really can!

But, my mourning, in its mysterious similarities to a child, can make me take pause, make me see its wonder, and, can even make me smile.

Mothering Our Mourning holds a radical and revolutionary truth that grief should not be silenced, the love for our children should not be closed up, we should not disengage from our relationship with our children at their physical death and we should not detach from our own reality of love.  While grief is the collection of feelings we have, mourning is the outward expression of these feelings.  Not all bereaved parents embrace both.  I have grief, and I have come to realize that my grief needs mourning, and, my mourning needs my mothering.

Mothering Our Mourning is a play on words.  Most of my intimate times with my grief, when I am able to identify its goodness, have come to me in the wee hours of the morning.  I’ve come to refer to this sacred space as Mother in the Morning.  I share about these most treasured moments in my book The Invisible Pregnancy, where I also explore the challenging concepts of nurturing and disciplining our mourning, and other challenging concepts such as recognizing the beautiful truths in what I identify as ec0-thanatology.  If these concepts seem intriguing, I’d recommend getting your copy of The Invisible Pregnancy, or consider hosting an Invisible Pregnancy Mother Workshop – and you and I can meet!

Mothering Our Mourning is my way of recognizing that my grief connects me to my child, my mourning connects me to my grief, and that I can seek out and find the many beautiful aspects of thes connections.

 

About the Coloring

Not because I think I have much artistic skill at all (chuckle!), but because the vision of this piece came to me most suddenly the very day I decided to create the Mothering Our Mourning section here at stillbirthday, I want to take a look at some of the things that came to me as I was coloring this picture.

The Tree

I am the tree.  Sometimes, I feel grey and withered, as if I cannot muster any life from within me.  I feel on a dusty, lifeless plain.  While my heart does hold color, and life, sometimes I believe it is too wrapped in darkness for this bright life to emerge.  Still, I know it is there.

In contrast to the living seed, the grey tree doesn’t have roots, which seems to represent that the life from the living seed runs deep, is solid, is permanent, while the grey tree doesn’t have that penetrable hold.

As this grey tree, I have spent my own time, reaching, searching, outward, inward, looking for the answers to my child’s death.  Not merely the physical reasons, but the spiritual reasons as well.  “Why?” I’ve begged to know.  The branches of this grey tree, I made with a series of the letter “Y”.  As they thin, some of these Ys look like jagged thorns – in my quest, I know I have, at times, hurt others and myself.

The Jar

I had no idea as I was shading in the black, that I was actually making a jar, but that is exactly what I made.  The lifeless plain, everything I see in this darkness, is within this jar, this jar that doesn’t really have definition, it just sort of became there.  In my simple view, I can’t see where the darkness ends, I only have a conviction that it somehow, somewhere does.  In contrast to the colors above it, I trust that the Great Gardener can see much further across the horizon than I can.

The  (invisible) Rain

The rain, from the point of view of within the jar, is tears.  Tears of sadness, of pain, of longing, of confusion.  The rain though, from the view of the Great Gardener, penetrates through the darkness, reaches to the depths of the roots of the living seed, and it refreshes and helps it grow.

You don’t see the rain in the jar?  It’s because so often I recognize that I have a more masculine mourning style, and quite often it’s invisible rain, but nevertheless, is still there.

The Great Gardener

The Great Gardener implanted my child in my womb.  His hands are golden, to me the color of holiness.  Everything He plants is good.  His arms extending from above – I felt a little disappointed as I was coloring, to discover that both arms weren’t extending from the yellow in the rainbow, but as His left arm is extending from green, I am reminded of the chakras, and as His left arm extends from green, I realize that our left arms are connected to our hearts (hence wearing a wedding ring on the left hand), and that what He plants is a labor of His own love.  As He digs into the soil, and I am the tree, from my own limited view, I can’t see, but His hands are penetrating through the darkness.

These golden hands also look like my uterus.

The Big Heart

The big heart is the seed of my child.  This seed was planted within me, but what I don’t see in my limited view, is that this seed has taken deep root, and, this seed is growing and blossoming.

The Roots

The roots of this sacred life seed trail into my searching braches of Ys (and whys).  There are indicators of the growing of this sacred life, and connect me to the greater view the Great Gardener has, even if I don’t recognize them for what they are.  They can bring life into the otherwise greyness.

The swirling, deep roots also look like my hair.

The Blossoms

Only a heart can grow hearts.  This sacred life seed will only grow more of what it is.  This love extends and connects further than the primary stems that are immediately attached to it.  This love continues to extend, branch out, reach others, and even overflow beyond the Great Gardeners arms.  Such is the reach of this sacred life seed.

The Numbers

I didn’t realize this while I was coloring, but there are seven blossoms.  This is a biblically significant number.  And, altogether, there are nine hearts.  This too seems significant.  Nine is the triple of triple, that is, three.  This too, resonates with me as biblically significant.

The Rainbow

Many families who are trying to conceive a subsequent child after loss often refer to this journey as “waiting for the rainbow” after the storm of their loss.  While I understand the sentiment, I have always had a sense that this approach can put at least a little strain of expectation on the trying to conceive journey, and on the subsequent child.  I feel that this coloring confirms that the rainbow, of peace, the rainbow as a sign that God is with us, is already here, for each of us, however that rainbow manifests for each of us.  Even when I can get a glimpse out of the darkness, all I might see is red, but the Great Gardener can see much further along the horizon than I can.  This horizon, it looks like the sun rising.  The rainbow, while I purposely didn’t measure the spaces of the colors, I can see that the purple is not as thick as the other colors, because I ran out of paper.  Even in knowing that the Great Gardener has a view of the horizon that extends much further than I can, even I can’t see to the end of the rainbow.  I believe that someday I will.

 

 

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