We have the opportunity at the church we attend to list our beloved for prayers, but it just seems so....personal, i guess, to share that pain. Maybe that's what church is supposed to be about, I dunno. But i have my list, in my heart, and it's even got categories. Most painfully missed to people I should miss and never knew well enough to do so (my maternal grandmother, for one) Maybe I mourn the missed opportunities, the relationship I *should* have had with her.
And what about people I didn't know, but those who made a great opportunity in my life for change? I think mostly of my friend Diana, and her beloved daughter Hannah, whom she lost just shortly before we met IRL at a Live and Learn conference. The announcement of her passing, was like a dash, I don't know, of cold water, of flames, of some passion across my heart. Me, with my tag-along gang of kids...how could Diana be at a conference after losing her baby? How could she *Be*....much less *be* anywhere? I lingered at the table of momentos, beloved Brat dolls left by adoring friends, a comfort quilt made with blocks from unschooling families across the country, and most precious, small bags of Hannah's ashes, left with love and trust by a mourning mother. Over and over again, I returned to that table to run my fingertips gently over those little packages of person....Hannah I never knew. I never did take one, and that was a lesson for me as well, regret after being fearful, rather than living joyfully and being willing to share.
I have realized, however, that taking Hannah's ashes weren't necessary for me. I have my serenity spot, with the ashes of my Abigail, and my Matthew (I still have Asher, I haven't been able to let go of him quite yet, he's still too young in my heart, and John Wallace was so many years ago, that he is there in spirit, just like Hannah. The hospital never even released his remains). She was interred there just as I did my own children, and she feels at home, listening to kids laugh and watching them swing in the vines on the old trees. I sit there and I internalize that we are all just ashes, and really, rather than spread those ashes, we should spread the spirit. I feel Hannah's spirit in that spot...I can sit and come away feeling like I can be the mother I want, the one that has no regrets. I can be the mother that realizes your child should NEVER be taken for granted, because in less than two weeks, they can go from perfectly healthy to gone.
Part of what I gained was seeing how Diana continued to develop as a mother with Hayden, after Hannah was gone. I've been rereading her 'after' blog, and seeing how she worked really hard with the depression and anger and frustration and I realized, *I* have been having anger and depression from the loss I have experienced. Not just the babies, but the loss of the life I expected, of what I assumed would happen, that loss of control. The anger emotion, it takes over and makes it hard to unschool. The trust of the universe is gone, your belief that God wants what's best for you is gone, because you can't see past that fear and frustration...and without seeing past that, you can't find, much less SHARE, love and compassion and trust with your children.