The Trip & The Journey (Part 2)

I felt quite numb as I sat on the shuttle, as I made my way through the airport, as I settled into my seat on the plane and looked out at the planet below, the planet that her feet no longer walked upon… nor, in this moment, my own.

As I stepped into the jet way in Phoenix, the first air that hit me was oppressively heavy; a hot blast that I couldn’t breathe in completely. I thought immediately of my daughter and wondered if this is how she felt all the time, unable to breathe deeply, comfortably, in this world of humans so unlike the world of angels from where she came and to which she has returned. She tried. I saw how hard she tried to breathe on earth. It broke my heart how hard she tried.

In the moment, I regretted this trip. I regretted the expense since I haven’t been working much, I regretted the time away from home and all that I truly find comfort in (other than all the stuff in my really big suitcase). The only thing that stopped me from the downward spiral was the numbness. It’s actually more of a layer of disengagement that tends to hold me in a place of self-observation most of the time; silent observation of the world around me and all that’s in it.

First leg of the trip behind me, the journey began, or rather, it continued. See, this extrication cloak that transports me to my personal observation deck allows me to see a bigger picture of my life, my journey. When I’m in this place, I begin to get a sense of eternity, to release my attachment to this world and the people and things in it (not forgetting my really big suitcase) and I just begin to glimpse what might be a reason for all the hell we go through here on earth. The same cloak allows me to find beauty, love, compassion, motivation, determination, a will to live my daily life without the physical presence of my daughter.

There’s a feeling of failure when a parent loses a child by any cause. I have never heard anyone actually come out and say it but I’m going to be so bold because there isn’t a thing that I’ve heard from another parent experiencing this sort of loss that hasn’t rung true for me regardless of the child’s cause of death. I cannot be unique in having this thought at least fleetingly if not suffocatingly. Successful parents raise their children to be self sufficient, responsible and caring members of society. Independent. They guide their little birds out of the nest and into one of their own. Parents who don’t do this have failed as parents. The reason doesn’t matter. Your child dies? Game over. You failed. Isn’t it interesting how easily I can say that about myself yet would never *dream* of even thinking such a thing in the presence or direction of another parent suffering the loss of a child?

For this reason among others I am grateful for the cloak I now wear and my right to wear it.

Is it possible Dannica and I had an agreement of some sort? A contract, perhaps? Something we agreed to the potential of before either of us came here to earth? What if roll playing games or video games or legends or fairy tales are a microcosm of the macrocosm? Suppose this time around, Dannica’s soul required the challenge of anxiety and depression and an early transition to finish the game and go home. Suppose my human earthly character required the challenge of failing as a parent and the loss of my baby in the prime of her life to reach my soul’s achievement for this lifetime. Suppose the next level is simply to survive the next level.

Suppose my precious son required the indescribable loss of not only a sibling but a soul twin and all they shared in addition to all they would potentially share throughout the lifetime that he is now moving through as an only child in order for his soul to reach the goal it came here to earth to reach. Suppose. Just suppose the only way it could actually happen would be to lose part of his own soul. Now suppose that he and she planned it, knowing it would be hell on earth but that we would all be strong enough to do what needed doing so we could all win the game.

Regardless, we are in the fire. We are moving through it, this kiln. We’re being melted down, mixed together, reshaped, remade, remodeled and it’s an emotionally violent process. Still, it’s a process that each and every one of us must go through as human beings…somehow.

This is the only explanation for completely senseless things that makes any sense to me, that brings any comfort… that in some way, on some level, we all had some say in the paths our lives would take and that there really are no completely senseless things.

Perhaps our souls, having seen the potentials, brought us together as families in the first place knowing the circumstances were right, like fertile fields waiting to be planted with life’s lessons, harvested and blessed and taken in to nourish allowing us to flourish spiritually.

Following the trip, I realize as fully as I can in this moment the value of having made it. I met people I needed to meet. I learned things I needed to learn and though still walking through the fire I’m beginning to feel some of the strength that comes from this part of the journey.

In hindsight, no regrets. Hindsight always brings glimpses of blessing. Never, ever a sense of being okay with the fact that this happened, that my daughter’s life was taken, never that. But glimmers of hope and of strength and greater purpose behind the scenes…glimmers of blessing in the wake of the trauma and tragedy. The fact that I can truly feel grateful for anything at all astounds me, but I am grateful.

Hindsight will happen again at the end of my own life. Perhaps I will be able to look back over the course of this lifetime I’m living and be grateful for the challenges that allowed my soul to grow beyond what my human mind conceived as possible.

The Trip & The Journey (Part 1)

It felt so strange to leave home for the first time since my Dannica’s passing. I don’t mean ‘leave home’ as in going to the store or to the coast for the day but to be getting on a plane and leaving the state. The last time I flew on a plane, she was still alive. The last time I returned home from a trip like that she had three days to live but I didn’t know it.

I cried as my husband drove me to the shuttle stop early in the morning. He asked me why I was crying and I told him I didn’t know, I just felt like crying. There were many whys, though, and I knew if I started talking about them I’d start sobbing without knowing when I’d be able to stop. So I pulled it together and saved the thoughts and feelings to explore later when I could be alone with them first.

My packing began in my mind a couple of weeks before and led me to the idea that I wanted to buy a new suitcase… a big suitcase, really big. I already had a great suitcase; it had been plenty for all I needed during fifteen years worth of trips. I liked to travel light. Somehow, this time I couldn’t manage to do that.

I flipped open the paper and whaddaya know? Luggage 50-60% off at Khol’s. The universe was telling me it agreed with me on the new, really big suitcase. I found just what I was looking for and it’s even purple. If I curled up tight, I think I could pack myself in it.

I started piling things in. My things, way too many of them, my clothes, again way too many of them. Shoes. I never pack extra shoes. My slippers. It’s going to be 111 degrees in Phoenix…so what. They’re my slippers and I’m bringing them with me. Yes, and my blow dryer even though there is one in the hotel room. My own full-sized bar of the soap I like. Full-sized bottles of hairspray and other toiletries instead of the little ones I’m not used to. I packed my pillows, both of them; my journals and my rainbow of pens, a book on tape. I even packed the clip fan from the kitchen counter. That actually came in handy. I’d pack it again.

Finally, I stood back and saw all my stuff waiting to be zipped in. I contemplated whether to put a piece of tape over the tag that reads ‘Light Weight’ so no one strains themselves lifting it and then I started to really see myself. I watched myself arrange, zip, unzip, rearrange, zip again with curiosity and fascination.

Eventually it became clear to me that in leaving home for the first time, there just wasn’t a security blanket big enough to wrap myself in; me and my new filters and my still fragile, still forming new identity. The only way I could go was to bring as much of home with me as I could.

I simply couldn’t bear the thought of possibly wanting something while away that I couldn’t have. I live day in and day out with that feeling since my Dannica passed. Feeling even a little bit more of it caused more anxiety that I realized.

“Thank you,” I said to each shuttle driver and the sky caps as I tipped each of them for helping me bear the weight of my trip, my grief, my journey. “Thank you,” I say now to my new suitcase, “and I hope I don’t need to take you on every trip I make from now on.”