February 23, 2007

Scars

Just as plants and non-human animals respond to the seasons by hibernating or mating or pushing leaves up towards sunlight, we humans, too, have responses, often mysterious and complex, in response to the seasons. Memories embedded in our bodies are loosened by a slant of light, the rush of cold air, or the smell of pollen. Adrienne Rich writes about scars that re-open once each year, on the anniversary of something sad or hurtful. Emotional time is cyclical rather than linear. Today, the February 23rd of two years ago, when I was home alone, my husband out of town, surfing blogs to keep myself company, or the February 23rd of seventeen years ago, when I was tucked in bed, grieving for the miscarriage I had just had, are closer to me than the West Coast trip I took last summer or the trip I will be taking to see my daughter two weeks from now.

Perhaps these cycles are the only way our frail human selves can handle deep emotions like grief, hurt, and betrayal. The rhythm is a bit like the contractions that come during labor, waves of intensity are separated by periods of rest, quiet moment during which the body gathers strength for what comes next. Like labor, perhaps it's best not to fight these waves of emotions, but accept them, welcome them, surrender to them, knowing that time will bring respite. The seasons will change, February will end, and spring, with its sensual mix of lilac and tree pollen and new mud, will rush in.

21 comments:

Linda (FM) said...

Beautifully said. There's a Rumi poem entitled "The Guest House" that has helped me accept these rhythms as a natural part of life. It's still hard not to fight the pain though.

Linda (FM) said...

Looks like I did the hypertext link for the poem wrong. Here's the right one: http://www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Guest_House.html

Songbird said...

It used to scare me when I would feel the deep sadness of my pregnancy loss over and over again. For me it's been tied as much to Good Friday as to the actual date, and sometimes both days feel very dark. But I know, as you do, that Spring is coming, that the resurrection of life is inevitable and beautiful.
Thanks for this.

Grace to You said...

I miscarried on Mother's Day 2005...I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to celebrate that day with my 2 children without grieving for the other...miscarriage is such a lonely grief. The world doesn't grieve what it can't see.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Several days ago we had a mild snap, and the air smelled of mud and curious plants and the absence of bitterness. I can't wait for Spring to finally knock at the door!

Yankee, Transferred said...

You have written about this event and its memories so beautifully,here and last year. I'm sending you much love and hopes for your peace.

Kyla said...

Oh jo(e). Beautifully written, both posts.

And also, ((((o)))).

readersguide said...

I had a miscarriage, too. It would have been my third child, and I was never able to have another. What a sad thing -- it was in April. But better to remember than not, I think. Thanks.

kathy a said...

this is such a meaningful post, so true about emotional memories being cyclical.

thinking of you, and all who have had pregnancy losses.

i keep forgetting that mid-february is bad for me, that my body will remember certain hard events even if i don't consciously.

BeachMama said...

I try hard not to associate my miscarriages with any one season. I love Spring too much and the newness it brings every year for rebirth.

I send you my hugs and wish you peace this Spring.

halloweenlover said...

I so agree. My mom always tells me to avoid pain, and keep myself busy when I'm going through a bad time, but I'd rather just sift through the pain and emerge on the other side feeling better. Embrace the difficult time and then get through it.

halloweenlover said...

Sorry, posted before I was done.

Big hugs sent your way. I'm so sorry.

Marie said...

Beautiful post, and yet so sad. Take care of you.

susan said...

(o)

Janet D. Stemwedel said...

February is a challenge. Some years, it helps that my birthday is part of this stupid, short month, and some years that just adds to the challenge.

But March is almost in reach!

timna said...

jo(e), I missed this last year. I'm so sorry.

I lost three before my first live birth.

March is coming. really. it is.

Patti said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Iroquois people take grieving seriously - they give themselves over to it completely for 10 days. Other people will take care of all your needs and responsibilities, so you literally do nothing but grief work. At the end of 10 days, there is a feast, and your mourning time is over.

This is how I was brought up, and how I deal with it now; as much as possible - I take 2 weeks and give myself over to it. I have no grief cycles. I remember dates of when horrible things happened, but I have never dreaded the time of year when they occurred or relived my grief.

And remember, the days keep getting longer!

J said...

(o)

Jo(e), thank you for being so open and beautiful on such a very personal and difficult subject. I think you are exactly right about the cyclical nature of time. Sometimes I feel as if, as the earth circles the sun, each point in space becomes marked by the events that happen there, and each year as we move away from a date and then towards it again, we move in and out of those experiences and the emotions they carry.

As you are a writer, I thought you might appreciate this beautiful expression of loss by one of my friends, who, with his wife, went through a miscarriage two years ago: http://alittlelexiconofsighs.blogspot.com/2004/12/zoe.html

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jo(e) said...
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