empty room.

After being greeted at the airport with a sparkling shiny car and ice cold beverages, Hubbs took me and one adorable Braveryboy home. The house was spotless, smelled like a man (despite his best attempts to use the oil diffusers), and all the mail sent to us neatly stacked by couch. There was even a small amount of food in the fridge! I had to keep asking him, did you go to store, or did my sister? was this delivered? aghast and annoyed, he replied, no babe, I actually went. (who knew he could grocery shop? apparently that is an ability that he has kept conveniently to himself for several years, and shall hence be forthwith employed).

I walked by Amelie's room and I didn't feel the overwhelming pang of longing as badly as I thought I was going to.

A fabulous dinner prepared, I headed out the door to spin class. I needed a physical outlet, something more than the "raising of flatware to feed mouth" exercises I've been doing for the past few weeks (which, if you eat fast enough, you CAN get out breath, almost resembling a workout). I spoke with my spin instructor, my mindy/body/guru Alisha, for over an hour after class, and, by the time I got home, I was feeling somewhat normal again.

Bravery was still awake (UGH! ever read that book, "Go the f$%K to sleep? read my Samuel Jackson? yeah, that is my life now).  THANKFULLY we are dog-sitting, so he had a buddy with him. Brave insisted on sleeping next to the dog, Barley, so they could cuddle. Then he insisted Mommy sleep on the floor, so we all could cuddle. an HOUR later, its 11pm, I had finished an unexpected laughter induced convo with Auntie Schimel, I'm ready to hit the shower for a lovely nights rest in my Hubbs' massive arms....when I walked by Amelie's room again...only this time, I lost it.


I held her ashes in my arms, totally grief stricken, in a sort of suddenly realized shock that this was all that remained of my only daughter, all that remained of her sweet body. Those tiny feet, her button nose, those romantic eyelashes, her soft, delicate hands, and those squishy cheeks I can still feel on my face....in a fucking box. No beeping machines, no sweet sighs or moans or coughs by her, just total silence. I now understand the term, "deafening silence" and I mean, I UNDERSTAND it PHYSICALLY. I held her urn in my arms and just let out tears, thanking God for her. the tears don't even feel good. Like, you know when you watch that one movie that just gets your tears aflowin' (the Notebook for some, Saving Private Ryan for others, or my personal tearjerker Achilles: the last episode of Band of Brothers or the final scene in The Help. gets me every.time.), then afterward it feels cathartic, cleansing, emotionally purifying?

Yeah, well, this crying is not like that. This doesn't feel good. It's not purgative in any way. It feels like, the more you cry, or rather, the more I cry, the more is unearthed. The more tears that flood, the more pain is felt in my chest. I can see why people drink or numb themselves to it. This s$@t is no joke.

I closed my eyes and spoke to her. Boss said he's felt her presence many times, so much that it can be overwhelming to him....but I confess, I haven't. or maybe I have, but the pain makes me closed off to it. very possible. pain does that. It's closes us off to GOD. Mara, the shadow god, as Buddhists call him, the shadow side is grief, hatred, and delusion, it's a master manipulator. I am not fighting Mara. I can't even if I wanted to. I got no fight in me right now. I'm battle weary.

Not surprisingly, I couldn't sleep. My stomach ached with pains, my mind raced, my head hurt. Around 2:30am, I fell into a deep stupor, only to be wakened by Bravery. and when he walked into the bedroom, even as quiet as he was, I jumped straight up, heart pounding in flight or fight mode, ready to spring out of bed and help Amelie.

Only she wasn't there.

it was like being smacked in the face with a shovel. I held little Bravery until he fell back asleep. Daddy and son sleeping soundly together and taking up the entire bed, I swapped spots and laid next to Barley on the floor. Then I remembered something from my past readings....

"When we feel grief, PAUSE.  PAUSE. It's really the gift that brings us back home." Tara Brach (a wise Buddhist teacher I highly recommend you listen to immediately, if not sooner.)

Instead of running away, pushing pain away with austerities, I'm facing the shadow....because, in that moment I suddenly remembered what Tara B said about all that jazz...she said that there is a fear that if we/I invite this anger, shame, pain, grief into my soul, that it'll get worse, I'll never get better, and there's a sense that things will go rapidly downhill. We have a sort of programming that accepting this feels dangerous...however:

Radical acceptance. It’s a courageous capacity, not a passive one. It’s an engaged presence, one that is very kind. True acceptance is not resignation. Radical acceptance is accepting the actuality of our experience in present moment. It’s not an evaluation of it, it’s the courage to accept the actuality of what’s happening.
— Tara Brach


Then I somehow fell asleep. Only to be wakened by a hallucination that Amelie was back with us in her bed. Taking a moment to sense my habitual way of reacting to Mara, to difficulty, (like, wishing to myself this hadn't happened, which is just another way to say NO to my experience), I just said, OK. This happened. YES. without judgment or evaluation. I sensed the distressing shadow of Mara, and invited him to lay with me and the dog.