Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to measure tears

I don't know if tears can be measured, if anyone has bothered to collect them and see if they have cried a thimble, a tablespoon, a half pint or liter, a bucket.  We tend to want to exaggerate and say we have wept an ocean.  I think I weep about a medicine dropper a day.  I think this is pretty accurate.

I feel like the world should know, but I have not posted since my worried optimism of March. I am sad beyond sad to report that my daughter's beautiful baby, Jade Bird Guthrie, 7 Lb. 12 Oz. was born only to never cry, or take a breath. She was able to be on life support and many of us got to feel her presence, hold her, and then let her go four days later at the Children's Hospital in my hometown of Pittsburgh.  My daughter and her husband feel that they were visited by a little hummingbird who touched down and could not be held. It was the first death at the Midwife Center in 35 years.

When meeting her small body, all pulse and graph and hookups, I thought of Alvaro Cardona-Hine quoting his Zen teacher,  "Long is long, short is short, Every life complete." He's 89,  and Jade was four days here.  I am on bird wave-length these days.

It was a fluke, a blessing and a curse, a loss and an innocence, and so I measure my days in medicine droppers.  We are blessed that she came and went peacefully.  That we were all treated so respectfully and loved so much. That she did not live a life compromised and suffering, I am truly grateful for this.  But each day is rough, taking homeopathy, Bach Flower remedies, herbs for grief. My kids planned their own wake, cremation, flight home to New Mexico, and burial of ashes, or a Good Bye Ceremony as one friend named it.  Jade's ashes are here, with a Golden Rain tree planted by them, a hummingbird feeder I fill every day or so. I watch the birds come and go, Scarlet Tanagers, finches, and hummers.

I learned to tend cut flowers, do laundry non-sop for the bereaved, that I was able to rise up and hit walls and crash, only to rise up again. Each person, both our family and Leland's, gave from their very core and genius.  One might be playful with our 3 year old "big sister." One might order egg-rolls or buy plane tickets.  The giving was non-stop, round the clock blessings. People got in cars and drove all day.  People wept all night and stayed by her in the NICU.

Yesterday we attended a mass for Valentine, an 8 year old son and grandson of family friends.  He was a little hoop dancer from Pojoaque Pueblo, injured in a car accident a year ago, and finally was ready to be released, no more surgeries after 14 of them.  I saw him dance once and never forgot the vitality and charisma.  We grandparents exchanged hugs and sorrow, we had been neighbors at the bus stop so many days and years ago. So here I am, wordless for all these weeks.  My kids, Hope Logghe and Leland Guthrie, speak so eloquently on their Facebook accounts, you can go on and scroll down to see what they have to say, how they frame this great loss.  Or my page, down about four entries, their language.

This is what I can say, finally after sadly seeing the last blog posting and letting it silence me.  Hope posted her own pregnant beauty on her birthday, and her strength helps me be able to face up and find my own.  Thanks for sharing this moment with me, and the tides of sorrows we all have felt, may they wash us a little bit cleaner, more core and source. Every person I meet meets my pain with their own story.  I agree with poet Jack Gilbert, that this is paradise, right here in each other's eyes.