Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

What You Must Know

I think my last post scared some people….

Or made them worry.

But here is what you must know….I can’t continue this blog without being perfectly honest, pouring my heart as if I have no audience and working through this nasty business of grief. So let’s get to it.

My Auntie Trace sent me this poem a couple weeks ago. I have spoken of Auntie Trace often- she makes the most amazing brownies and she knows kindness…through loss and through love.

I am grateful that she is there to tie my shoes and go with me everywhere like a shadow and as a friend.

Kindness: Naomi Shihab Nye- 1980:

Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow or a friend.


Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

To Remember

This evening I listened to an interview with a mother who had lost her daughter in Tower 1.

Her concern was that as time went on people would forget what happened on 9/11 and people would forget her daughter. I understand this, as time moves forward, I think about Samantha everyday but not everyone does. As the years go by will people forget our amazing little girl?

I did not know this woman’s daughter but I do remember that day and the days after. On 9/11 I sat in a waiting room about to start my new consulting job in Summit, New Jersey. When my manager came to get me, the first tower had been hit.

His wife worked in Tower 7 and was on her way into the office.

Summit was a commuter city and had been hit hard. The cars at the train station had marks on the tires as to how many days the car had been parked.

1 day

2 days

3 days

Was this person coming back?

I was stuck in Summit for 10 days. I didn’t know anyone aside from my new co-workers who were grieving lost family and friends. On Friday, I took the train into the city to see my friends, Scott and Laura, to get some type of human interaction, to hug and cry.

I will never forget the acidic smell of the city. The dust that had settled on everything. The posters! The posters of missing loved ones everywhere, papered through Grand Central Station. Lovely, sad pictures of people enjoying their lives, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons….people who were now missing.

I will never forget the prayer rally in the park five days after the towers went down; Buddhist monks chanting, drums beating, people singing and lighting candles, people praying, people trying to make sense of what just happened only to realize, there is no sense.

Ten years later, I can still smell that smoke when I think about that day.

I did not know this woman on the radio. I did not know her daughter but I do know the events of that day are forever in my mind. They have helped to form the person I am today.

And for me, as another grieving mom, I realized that even though people don’t think about Samantha everyday, to many people, who she was, has changed who they are; her sweet gummy smile, her tenacious spirit, the mystery of her tired body and her lovable personality.

Perhaps remembering isn’t always thinking about the event but how what happened changed us, made us think of the world differently, hold our loved ones closer, be less quick to judge. I can’t think of a better way to memorialize a life.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

What is the Call???

It would be easy to give up the fight.

Because it doesn’t really matter.

I don’t have to go to Children’s.

Because we don’t have a child who needs to be there.

It would be easy to turn our back on our mito cause.

Because we no longer have a mito kiddo. What difference can we make….really?

But every time I feel overwhelmed, insignificant and uncertain of the next step, someone reaches out and reminds me why this is important and why we fight to raise awareness, money for research and education.

Because mitochondrial disease sucks my left toe.

A 26 year old mom reached out to me last week and introduced me to Mabel. I hope her Mama doesn’t mind me posting but this little one-year old is so stinkin‘ cute and her mom is so very honest and determined in this tough, hard fight.

Welcome Mabel and Mabel’s Mama. You make me want to be a better advocate, to fight harder and remember that our own Mito girl is not here in body but certainly in spirit.

Thanks for the kick in the pants.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

The Path

You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself

– Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta

This week I found myself in Beaver Creek, Long Island Sound, Manhattan, Houston and now I am resting my hat in Santa Fe for the weekend.

As I passed from place to place, airport to rental car, ocean to desert, I became more introspective. Nothing makes you contemplate life like sitting in an airport, watching the world go by.

I now I sit in a Santa Fe cafe and watch tourquoise clad tourists in cowboys hats (admittedly, I am one of them).

I was here last year, just weeks after we lost Samanta, searching for some thing, some way, some guidance onto the next step. I collected holy dirt, I prayed, I got my body massaged, I praticed the fine art of retail therapy and I searched.

It is a year later. And although I am still searching, perhaps I have found solace in the crazy comfort that I will always be searching.

I don’t know if I will ever trust the path; it can change so quickly. The best laid plans are only that, plans.

But a year later I trust that my footing is sound and my gait is solid. I guess that is all I can rely on.

And I still find myself collecting holy dirt, and praying.

I didn’t cry this year until I hung a Ben’s Bells at the Sanctuario de Chimayo. They are so lovely, our Ben’s Bells, so simple and perfect with their message….

Be kind

Be kind

Be kind

I hung it on a tiny tree in the middle of the sanctuary and hoped that someone who needed it would find it.

As I walked away, I heard the sweet, tiny chime of the bell in the desert wind. It was then that I started to cry for the simple beauty Samantha has taught me, for the people she has brought into my life and in the relief I found after a year.

And I sprinkled a little holy dirt on the bell, for extra-good juju.

And then I sprinkled a little on myself.

My little author’s note: I have had the most amazing people reach out and post the last couple weeks. I wanted to thank you. I am so very happy we are on this journey together.