5 years his story

Warning: trigger post on loss.
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I’ve never fully shared his birth story. It’s been 5 years and I’m finally feeling ready because I know his soul is being redeemed. Thank you for reading if you decide to continue. I fully understand if you don’t read more.

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5 years and 2 days ago I awoke to Xavier’s Mommy’s post in the group about Xavier’s passing at 19 weeks and my heart broke. I was in bed and just stunned, never before realizing loss like that could happen. I thought once we were past the first tri we’re good! (I know, so naive!) I prayed for her and him and started my day.

5 years and 1 day ago, I was 19 weeks and I went to the gym to rest my hips in the hot tub. After avoiding the hot tub during my whole pregnancy, due to the warnings I heard non-stop, I was in so much pain I just had to go this one time. I settled in and tried to be brief. I felt him tell me he was too hot, with a little flutter and a feeling of panic. I begged him for just a couple more minutes and hovered with most of me out of the water. (I spent months regretting that until I realized it would have just been something else later that would have evoked the same response.) I finally felt a little relief and climbed out and dried off. I met Raul in the lobby and he looked at me concerned and asked if I was ok, if I got too hot. I said no, that I felt better (with a flutter of doubt), and we went home. I slept so well and was looking forward to the first Food Truck Rodeo in Seattle the next day, Saturday.

I awoke 5 years ago and pulled out my Doppler, and feeling worried from the night before, tried to listen for his heartbeat and couldn’t find it. I called my friend, who was studying to be a mid-wife and would be my doula, and asked her. She assured me that they sometimes don’t find baby easily at this stage and to rest and try listening again later. I got up and got ready, worry heavy on my heart. We went to the ‘rodeo’ and I was freezing cold the whole day, colder than I’d been for months. I knew something was wrong. I called my doctor’s office and the best they could do was an appointment on Tuesday.

But I knew. I knew he had died.

I waited until Tuesday in complete conscious oblivion and praying that what I knew in my heart wasn’t true. We checked in, the doctor who had confirmed my pregnancy was still ok just 10 weeks earlier pulled the portable u/s machine in the room and there he was, still. Still. They sent me downstairs to the big u/s machines, where I still had an appointment the next Friday for his 20 week anatomy scan. The tech didn’t say anything but excused herself and left the room. We knew. Raul held my hand and I turned my head and started crying. They sent us back upstairs. My options were a D&C or induction. My mom was flying in to town on Friday. Surgery terrified me so I opted for induction and asked to wait until Fri. They booked me a check in for Thursday morning. I told just enough of my clients and colleagues to buy a few days.

I spent two days with my angel inside of me. He would move only in reaction to my movement. I cried. I was panicked. I was numb. He was a “threatened miscarriage” from 6 weeks but they said at his 12 week NT scan he looked great! How could this happen to me? WTF do I do with myself with a dead baby in me? Well, I googled and I cried. I tried to piece together an ‘action plan’ for my hospital stay.

I took one last bump photo. I tried not to cry while Raul took my pic. He hated me for making him take it. I have NO regrets about taking it.

I had been seeing 222 frequently in the days before his death. When I got in the car to go to the hospital, our car had a range of 222 and it was 12:22pm. In that moment, I knew what it meant and I hated it. I am right where I’m supposed to be. And it is hell on earth. On the radio came the song Sail by awolnation. That became his song, my anthem of grief. It used to make me cry instantly but now I find a strange comfort in it, a ‘hi mom, I’m thinking of you,’ instead of suicide (which I did contemplate a few times when the PPM pain was too great). 222 is now comforting, I know when I see it, for better or worse, I’m where I’m supposed to be.

We pulled in to the hospital parking garage, got checked in. They made me sit in a wheelchair and pushed me to the end of the hall. It was dark, there was a white butterfly on my door. They hooked up an IV and started fluids. They put pitocin tablets up against my cervix and we waited. Slowly the contractions started to build. The dr came to check on me. She told me rather matter of fairly but with a soft touch that I could have any pain meds I wanted. I held off for quite awhile. Once the sun came up, the contractions got stronger. I asked for something for the pain, they gave me morphine. My doula came. My mom arrived. The contractions got stronger. Cervical cheeks came and went but I was little fuzzy, a little more numb. Finally they said it was time to push. It wasn’t too hard, I remember feeling his sack slide out. They popped it, cleaned him up and helped me birth the placenta. They asked if I wanted him autopsied but I declined, the thought of cutting him open made me physically ill. I was ok with having the placenta checked out. (The only thing his placenta results revealed was that he was missing a blood vessel in his umbilical cord. I believe the bleeding I had at 5-6 weeks in, just before I met you ladies, was related to that blood vessel issue as that’s when the cord forms. But that’s another story.)

He was so tiny, he fit in my hand. He was not a typical 19 week old bc of that missing vessel. His left arm was not fully formed, his head and torso were excessively swollen. But his feet and legs were just perfect. (His right side was visible in the NT scan and was formed properly so that’s why they didn’t catch anything amiss.)

I was told I could have as much time with him as I needed. The nurse dressed him as best she could, but he was too tiny for regular hospital clothing. My doula left to tend to her life. My mom went to get some food. DCW stepped out too. I ordered food for myself, and sat with my son on the pillow next to me. I pretended he was ok. I talked to him, I held him. I WILL NEVER AGAIN JUDGE A POST-PARTUM MOM FOR ACTING “CRAZY”. I get it now. I understood what a ‘mother’s love’ meant finally and it did me no good. I didn’t know before that it could hurt this terribly. I didn’t know before that it would be so beautiful. He was so beautiful. I could see Raul in him. I could see all the hard work our bodies did, G’s and mine, to build him as he was.

I spent a good 8 hours with him by my side before the nurse came to take him away. He would be transported to a nearby funeral home. I couldn’t watch her walk away with him. I wanted to scream to bring him back. To let me take him home, please just let me take him home. (Repeat after me, I will never judge a PPM mom again.)

The grief counselor came but I was too numb and in shock for her to be any good. The u/s office downstairs called wondering why I wasn’t at my 20 week scan and that they’d have to charge me for no-showing (um, hello, you saw me three days ago, who the fuck forgot to cancel my appointment?!?). That was the first, but not last, person I had to tell that my baby died. Pretty sure I cursed those words at her on the phone. They checked on me a couple more times then said I could be released. It was dark by now. Raul helped me pack. They put me in a wheelchair again.

Coming out to the lobby and to the elevator was a LARGE, maybe 30+ family of a patient. Happy, excited, cheering, with balloons. I wanted to scream at them to shut up. Instead I looked away, trying not to burst into tears. That moment, that moment right there, has been the hardest moment of my life. To wheel past all of those happy people without my baby. To go home without my baby. I succeeded in keeping my composure until the elevator doors closed. Raul helped me into the car and drove me home.

We held a small funeral service for G a couple days later. I got to see him and say one more good bye. I didn’t want to leave. Raul had to pull me away bc it was someone else’s turn.

I don’t remember much after that. The day I checked in to the hospital was the last day of summer. The day I left it was fall and started raining. It rained for days. I couldn’t get out of bed. My milk came in, a stinging giant Fuck You from the universe. Raul made me sage butter pasta for a week straight. I wore allthebras. He forced me to go outside on walks, and pointed out the lovely bits of nature. He watched me slide down and wouldn’t let go of me. For all of my bitching about him, he saved my life.

After 2 weeks I had to go back to work, to deal with my projects and the volunteer gig I had signed up for (as Madam President of a professional organization.) I threw myself into distractions. I still bled for 6 weeks.

I joined the FB group Stories of Babies Born Still. I learned how common this is. I heard stories of heartbreak worse than mine. I didn’t have a fully put together nursery I had to dismantle. I was not due in a week or due last week.

If I had a super power, it would be perspective. I can see both sides of the coin. I can understand the other’s point of view (even when my ego doesn’t want to admit it!) and if I ever seem callous or dry or harsh, it’s because of this power. Seeing these stories of others, of still born babies, of nicu babies lost, and since then of Syrian babies killed, of women who choose abortion, and so much more, gives me a weird comfort. Comfort that I got off easy. That my experience was only this bad. And I felt guilt about that for a long time, but a special reiki session helped me make peace with this. I understand now that he chose me as his mother and he only needed that little amount of time on earth to reach perfection.

The hospital classified him a miscarriage because he perished at 19 weeks, one week shy of the ‘cut off’ to be recognized as still born. I didn’t get a death certificate. I did get a cremation bill.

My grandma, who had 3 early miscarriages of her own, has, for the last 5 years, knitted small little baby blankets for me after she first heard he was too little for the hospital clothes. I tuck a card and a blanket in a ziploc and deliver them to hospitals in his name.

It was hard to be an invisible mother. It’s much easier with a rainbow baby because at least now the world recognizes I am a mom. But it’s still hard. He’s not in pre-k. He’s not losing teeth. He’s not riding his bike next to me. All these things he will never do are thoughts I usually just try not to think.

Then I’ll be alone in my car and that song, Titanium, comes on. There’s something about it, I can’t explain. It transports my heart back to that hospital bed and I’m instantly in tears. Tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. Tears of strength. I am titanium. I remember my lesson from my first son. My purpose is to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and carry them forward, to grow them into a new love. To spread love. To be love. To calm my fears, to trust my strength. To run in the fields on these most perfect feet I have, with angels lifting me up, and Bear by my side, reminding me of all I have lost and all I have gained.

I am sitting on the floor in Bear’s room as I type this, crying of course. And just as I typed that last sentence, in his sleep he rustled and then said, “whoaaa!” and I have to giggle. Thank you my son.

 

I love you forever.

I like you for always.

Beyond when I’m living,

my baby you’ll be.

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A Rainbow for my Minions

Oh minions, dear minions, how I have missed you so.

I am sorry for not posting lately. I can offer you a lot of excuses but it’s ok not to care. You’re busy, I know that. You’re also awesome, did you know that? I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Those of you that read this blog, thank you. I hope you get a chuckle or two, maybe a laugh, a new perspective on an old situation and inspiration to let your own inner RAWR out once in a while (I promise, your RAWR will thank you). Hard as I may try, I can’t guarantee any of that will happen.

Over the last couple years, during this unexpected sabbatical, I’ve come to appreciate even more what you mean to me. You inspire me. You give these words purpose. You push me to learn more, know more, grow more and love more.

Thank you for still coming here day in and day out whether I’ve posted or not. That makes you awesome in my book. I’m finally getting (again?) to a place in my life where I can put some time and thought into this thing called RAWR and hope I don’t disappoint you.

I also have a little bit of of good news to share. (Of course I’m saving the best for last!) In July of 2013 I found myself staring down the end of a pregnancy test that read POSITIVE! After 10 months of terror, delight and worry, in March of 2014 I brought a handsome & healthy little guy into this world! For our purposes his name is Bear. I’ve grown and learned so much in Bear’s first 9 months on this planet. I’ve also honed my sarcasm stick and bullshit meter with months of sleep deprivation. I greatly look forward to sharing my insights with you as we all RAWR together.

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Happy World Down Syndrome Day_ a tribute to eternal love

It was decades ago but I still remember snippets like it was yesterday. Sitting shotgun in Oma’s station wagon, my flute case on my lap, rain misting over the car as we barreled down the back streets. Into the waterfront community we went. We drove to where the gardens are shaped like animals and everyone’s lawn is immaculate and level. Beautiful flowers peek out of the rockery used to secure the hillside to each home.

We pull into the driveway and ascend the stairs to the front door. I look behind me at the Sound, the water glistening off in the distance, a dreary dark blue grey with just a pocket of sunshine hitting the waves and glistening back at me. Stepping inside I’m hit by the smell of them. Not in a bad way, but in the way that everyone’s home smells a little bit different. I gaze up at her cases of trophies and collectibles while Oma and her chit chat. We walk down the stairs past photos of her, of him, of their son.

I don’t remember if I was ever able to meet her son. She talked about him a lot and had photos everywhere and I always left feeling her love and grief. The love made sense to me. The grief, not so much to my small self. I could not put words to it, but I could feel it’s cloudy presence over her heart.

She would walk me to her music room, help me get set up, kindly ask about my day while Oma sat to the side, or upstairs some days.

© Yiannos1

Joy would teach me about music. She would teach me about playing the flute, about proper breathing, reading music.

© Argument

© Argument

What I didn’t realize until many years later that she was also teaching me the strength to love in the face of grief. She taught me how to have an open heart, a patient mind and how “disability” is a state of mind and environment, not a reflection on someone’s soul, their heart or them at all.

She loved to talk about Davey. She loved to share his photo and tell me about what a loving a warm heart he had. Her beautiful son, Davey, was born with Down Syndrome.

Pilot with down syndrome

*not Davey, but a close stand-in

She always wanted a child. Joy and Herb had tried for many years. Joy was a former beauty queen and dedicated musician and singer. Herb was a brass man. Keen to the trumpet, her to the winds, together they would teach children to love music, to be good at music.

Then came Davey.  He grew from a baby to a toddler to a young boy. It was as he was turning into a young man that his generous heart gave out. They loved him so much, and I’m sure they grew to love him more and more each day even after his passing.

The look in her eye would be bright and shiny at first, then as her memories moved forward in time, the twinkle would dim and a veil of grief would sneak in. He was her only son and he was perfect.

Davey was a fighter who would constantly defy the odds. Growing older against doctor’s opinions. Going to school and embracing his life, he was a lover who welcomed every person he encountered with an open heart and compassion. He is an angel and an inspiration.

Joy was a mother who loved her son unconditionally. Her love for him was so great it gave her the strength to be a mentor to and love other people’s children. She tutored many dozens of kids in her years teaching music. The photos they would send her, for years even after going to college and moving away, are a testament of her work. (Any woman who can love someone else’s child as if he or she were her own, in the face of her own loss, is superwoman to me.)

What I took away from Joy and Davey was not a tale of loss, but a tale of dogged determination, hope and love. I don’t know if Joy and Herb are still around, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking of them and thanking them for their love.

For more information on World Down Syndrome Day click HERE

Even a Rex sometimes cries…

I cried the other day. That doesn’t sound like much of an event, especially when I have friends who cry at least once a day over what seems like trivial events to the outside world. I realized afterward that it’s been about a year since I had a really good, ugly cry. That’s a long time for someone who previously would cry at the sappiest of movies.

Leading up to my dry spell, I spent so much time crying, mourning my lost loves, that one day, I had to stop. I had to stop crying. I had to stop to survive. If I kept mourning with so many tears I would wash away my resolve to live. So I stopped crying. I put up a wall and tried to find other outlets for those emotions. Crying couldn’t be one of them.

Then the wall was punctured. A long, stressful day led me to crumble the next morning over a seemingly dumb event. It wasn’t the event that made me cry. It was the build-up of all that emotion that I tried so hard to acknowledge and let go but never really let go of. It’s the emotion that hangs onto the edge of your heart or gets stuffed into the fringes of your mind. That emotion needs out, and like water flowing downhill, it will find a way. It will leak out in the worst of places if it’s not dealt with, felt and really, truly let go.

I admitted defeat. I admitted the Universe got the best of me. I let down my walls.

Time stood still for a moment. That pesky and persistent resolve to carry on swelled up. My emotional self wanted to bash it back down.

It is in these weak moments that I think of a young woman* Oprah interviewed many years ago. Her ex-boyfriend had set her on fire and she survived but with terrible scaring. She’s had dozens of surgeries and just living is a challenge. Although she wanted to give up, her sister tells her to take 5 minutes a day to feel bad, to cry, to let down her walls. At the end of the timer, she has to stop crying and carry on.

That interview has stuck with me. That young woman was honest, vulnerable and so sad. Her strength and carry-on-ness has stuck with me.

Allowing myself a few moments to feel sad, it was soon time to stop crying and carry on.

When I looked up after drying my tears, this is what I saw.

heart in the sky

When was the last time you let down your walls? When was the last time you really felt, and then truly let go of, those bottled up emotions?

*I tried to find the story of the particular woman mentioned above, but could not find it. If I do, I’ll add it in the comments.

Grief: the silent RAWR

Grief. Loss. I am not a fan of those words for so many reasons, but they hold weight over us in a way that few other words are capable of.

Grief we feel, loss is what we almost had or had once upon a time. Beyond the letters themselves, there are few other words that can adequately describe to another human being what grief feels like. Wanting someone to understand grief without experiencing a loss is, in my humble opinion, darn near impossible. What is also striking is that the loss or reasons for grief can vary dramatically from person to person but the depth of pain, hurt and fear knows no bounds.

Whether you’ve lost a friend, a grandparent, a parent, a spouse, a child, a fur-baby or any other being or maybe even a job or the dream of a future, it hurts. It hurts a lot. It feels like your heart has literally been shattered into pieces, left in broken tatters. You wonder how you haven’t died from a broken heart…yet. You wish you could go with them just so the pain will stop. You wish you could turn back time to when that future was possible. Each breath hurts. Each smile takes pain to crack. Some days you wonder how you will ever carry on.

I say carry on because moving on is not possible. You will never forget, not for a day, rarely for a moment. Moving on, getting over it, letting it go, growing up, all of those mean words imply forgetting. You can’t forget. Forgetting is not an option. Carrying on is. When you carry on, you carefully and compassionately pick up the pieces of your broken heart (oftentimes with help) and with a brave face, move into the next present moment. You carry your loss with you, in your heart. The scars on your heart make you stronger. If you allow it, the cracks in your heart let love sweep in and out like the ocean waves.

Frozen tear on leaf

Grief hits your insides like waves, sometimes a large wave tumbles over you when you least expect it. Sometimes you brace for impact only to find the wave barely crossing your toes. To lessen the waves of grief, there are things you can do. There are tools to help you find and pick up those broken heart pieces.

When faced with a wall of grief and a shattered heart, it is time to mourn. Mourning is the work you do to process the grief. Mourning takes many outward forms: crying, writing, crafting, talking, sharing and so many more. Mourning is what saves us.

You will mourn not only the past and the present but also the future. Honoring the future you thought you had by acknowledging the present you’ve been given requires a strength that feels impossible to summon at times, but is absolutely possible.

If any of the above strikes a chord with your heart, I encourage you with all of mine and all of my RAWR to find a HEALTHY outlet for your grief. Many people turn to destructive behaviors which will only cause more pain and suffering. It takes strength to talk to a friend, go for a walk, cry, smile, write, sing, play, work, create, and mourn.

Just when you think you can’t go on, you can’t possibly be strong enough to [insert mourning activity here], that is the moment to think of your loss. Feel the love you had for that person or dream. It is in that love that you will find the strength to carry on.

Marie and Rauls lucky 5 leaf clover

searching for clovers of hope

I carry on. I am a survivor of grief. I mourn. I mourn on a daily basis. This post is my mourning. This post, and so many other moments of mourning are what saved me. What moments of mourning have or will save you?

*this post was originally published on A Day at A Time

**this post is dedicated to Indy and George. ❤

Puzzle Pieces

A year ago today a Friend of mine took his own Life.  I wrote this a few days after he died & just wanted to share it with you.  ❤

“I’ve been thinking about Friends & Family a lot the last couple days after learning about the death of a good Friend of mine from my Childhood.

The people in our lives are like Puzzle Pieces.  Most of the people we encounter are like the Middle Pieces & help connect our Lives together.  May it be a Friend or just an Acquaintance or a Family Member you speak to occasionally.   There are some people though that are more like the Edge Pieces.  They are more important in the shaping of our lives.  People who we have confided in & shared our Lives with.  People who we love.  Even fewer still are the People I think of as Corner Pieces.  People who truly shaped us & really did help us become who we ARE.  Most of these people are our Parents & Siblings.  Some of these few Corner Pieces are Friends.  The People that were a major influence in what we became & who we turned into.  People that if it weren’t for them & something they did, we would not be able to say “I am Me.”

I can honestly say that Dustan Wilson was one of my Corner Pieces.  There is so much of who I am today that stems from the Friendship I had with him in Middle & High School.  I’m lucky to have had him as a Corner Piece as he helped me grasp the idea of being ME & not conforming to what “They” think I should be.  He helped me become an Individual.  Thank you Dustan.  You were an amazing Friend.  ♥

Most of you are my Middle Pieces, several are my Edge Pieces & a handful of you are my Corner Pieces.  Regardless of what Piece of my Puzzle of Life you are, without You, I am not Me.

*KODI*”

rowing meditation

photography Aaron Ostrowsky (c)

You see your breath puff in clouds out in front of you with each surge in and out of your lungs as you feel the heavy weight of the boat resting on your right shoulder, your oars dangling from your left hand. Walking down to the dock in step with your boat-mate, all four footsteps echoing off the trees lining the path. Reaching the dock, it’s time to set the oars down with a short squat to reach the ground. In synchronicity you lift the boat off all shoulders and roll it over, upright and ready for the water. Stepping lightly to the edge of the dock, with a light plunk, the boat is in the water, ready to move. Gingerly climbing into the boat is done once, then twice. The oar locks click and wobble as oars are locked into them, the locks twisted and tightened down. Feet in place, oars in place, it’s time to shove off. A few half strokes to pull away from the dock and then it’s just the rower, the boat and the water.

    …

It is so early, the birds are just waking up. Just the early birds are chattering and tweeting their good mornings. Listening to the oars move through the water provides a symphony of synchronized sounds. First the oar raises from the water leaving behind a wet towel of dripping water to be wrung out as the oar moves forward. Simultaneously the seat glides and  creaks its way back, providing the pathway that moves the boat forward. With legs crouched, ready to pounce, the oar suddenly drops. Hold still for a moment and you can see the micro-ripples run from the oar like an atomic cloud overtaking area 51. Within an instant your legs rip into action, pushing your body back up the slide until there’s no more slide to go. Your arms lock into place on the oar, pulling it with you as your upper body leans back, eking out every last inch of length. Leaning back as far as you can, it’s time to end the stroke. Your arms go down, the oar goes up and as you drift forward, the ripples become wings to your ride. To keep moving forward, the rhythm must be repeated. Repeated into monotony. Repeated into meditation. Splash. Click. Slide. Splash. Pull!. Lift. Slide. Repeat. and repeat. Until you find serenity.

There is something magical about sitting just inches above the water, gliding across a glassy lake when most of the world is quiet. That anxious, rat race energy which invades your body and mind by the end of the day is still hovering over another economy. There is only your energy, and that of your boat-mates to contend with- still a fight on its own. It’s after the warm-up that you find the peace. Just like music, you need a good rhythm. A steady rhythm to keep the forward momentum without conscious effort. In those moments where your brain is off, your body is on and the water is glassy, that is where I find my serenity.

photography Aaron Ostrowsky (c)

In my serenity, I take comfort in the ripples. Those small waves that result from even just a drop of water hitting the early morning surface. The ripples resonate across the lake. They move farther than you thought they would or could, for being caused by such a small drop. Yet there is power in the subtlety. There is rawr in that potential. So much change effected in that little ripple from that little drop falling on the glassy water.

-Marie

May the Fourth be with you!

What RAWR means to me, Aurora

If I had to put a label on it right now, RAWR would be a toothy, spitty roar of frustration. For a variety of reasons that seem the pinnacle of importance right this minute, but probably aren’t, when it comes to the grand scheme of life. But that isn’t always the case. Every once in a while it’s pure joy. Sometimes it’s pain that fills you up to the point that your head jerks involuntarily backward as your esophagus straightens to release the pressure building in your head and heart. Sometimes it’s a noise you let out when the elements descend upon your town and the electrical current from the sky catches your fingertips and begins coursing like adrenalin through your bloodstream, when you momentarily revert from human, back to creature and take off on a mad dash through the rain.

Mostly, I associate it with times like that. When I shrug off the restrictions placed upon me by the culture we live in, and let loose whatever is in my heart. I used to be embarrassed when that happened. It is, after all, frowned upon, almost always. We’re supposed to be composed. Quiet. Respectful of other people’s space, feelings, beliefs, etc. We’re supposed to be cheerful, and look on the bright side. Responsible. Sensible. Mature. Politically correct. Culturally sensitive. The adjectives alone make me want to unleash the raptor claws. The labels that come with really letting go, in almost any fashion, are not ones that you want associated with your name in this day and age. Emotional. Unstable. Weird. When I was young, I really didn’t want anymore of those connotations floating around me, as I walked through senior hall in high school.

But then, when I was 19 years old, my Grandfather died. The man who, besides my mom and dad, had been more to me than anyone else on the planet. Not just a pillar, but a compass, a shelter, an anchor, and a guide. A good strong back that helped to build the neighbors houses. A shrewdness and intelligence that saw through false fronts and all attempts to mislead. A smile that drew everyone. A presence that demanded respect. A powerful, voice that carried each and every impossible note of his beloved operas through the house and out the windows. An artistic precision as a draftsman that earned him a career that far outweighed what his education should have allowed. A temper that frightened away men twice his size, and laughter that brought them all back. He’d quit school at 16 to help feed his family in the Depression, seen the ugliest part of World War II, raised 3 strong-willed daughters, loved my grandmother with unabashed adoration for almost 60 years, and loved me damn near as much. I was the only one of his empire of grandchildren that he called for when he was dying.

The funeral took place in the big church near my grandparent’s house outside of Fort Worth, Texas. They had dressed my grandfather up in a suit and arranged his face in an expression of peace that somehow made me feel revolted. He hadn’t gone quietly. He’d never done much of anything quietly. There were photos of him from his time in the service, as a young man that I didn’t recognize, there were near a hundred people walking through and expressing their sorrow for my loss, some of them I vaguely remembered, but most I didn’t. Everyone was calm, everyone was talking about how… much happier we should be for him now that he was with God. I kept looking around and wondering why no one looked like I felt, which was on the edge of screaming. My mother, who was more of her father’s spirit than either of her sisters, but who was trapped here in the binds of tradition and trying not to embarrass my grandmother, was thanking people for their prayers, when she has never believed in God. I had to read some Bible verse at the podium that I neither understood nor accepted. I was so angry at all of these people for their sterile, composed and precisely planned execution of this ritual. Obviously none of them had known him like I had. Obviously I was alone. Obviously I was wired wrong, that I couldn’t find any comfort in what was going on around me.

I was watching my aunt escort my grandmother slowly away from the coffin at the front of the church, this vicious torrent of anger and dismay chasing around in my head, when Grammy suddenly jerked her arm free of my aunt’s, spun 180 degrees, collapsed into a pew, dropped her face into her frail old hands and essentially burst wide open. She sobbed into her dress and slapped away the hands of anyone who approached to try and soothe away her grief. She threw off the responsibilities of a respectable widow hosting a gathering for the benefit of everyone who needed comfort less than she did, and reverted back into a creature who’d lost her mate, her partner, her protector, her lover, the father of her babies, and the other half to her wizened old heart. Everyone around her looked flustered and worried, not knowing what they should do, and I was secretly glad. There it was. That was what I felt, and I was so grateful to her for feeling it, and showing it, onlookers be damned. It did scare me, because I was of course, still just a kid, to see one of the ‘grown ups’ in my life fall apart like that, but that didn’t last very long, because it didn’t take much to see that it was primal and beautiful and the most real tribute to the loss of such a great man’s love as she could ever express. That short moment, when I watched her curl into a ball and roar ferociously against the pain she felt… I will never forget that. I knew then that our spirits were the same, and my pride could not have been contained in all the oceans.

When I am too full of something to keep it inside me, I let it come pouring out, just like she did, and I know that it’s ok, because that kind of passion runs in my family. We aren’t quiet. We aren’t composed. We’re a throwback to a lost tribe of true humans, who felt what they were supposed to feel, and had no concept that there should be shame attached to it. I take it to mean I am linked through my bloodline to the people I am most proud to call my family.

When the hairs on my neck stand up under a thick cover of lightning storm clouds, I let my eyes grow wide, throw the door open and charge like a savage out into the downpour.

When I am in the middle of a crowd of thousands, and music courses into all of us like a higher plane of collective consciousness, I let the tears bounce off my face to the rhythm of whatever hedonistic beat I feel.

When someone around me expresses an “opinion” that feels to me like an affront to our entire species, and the will I possess to hold us together where we belong, I admonish him or her with sharp whips of the truth, because the “right to your opinion” can kiss my skinny white ass, if you’re using it to spread hate or fear or ignorance.

When someone means or causes harm to a person that I love, my rage defies my slight stature, and my little fists ball up ready to fight back.

When a demon (for lack of a better word) posing as a person commits atrocities that wound us as a community, I am not embarrassed to join my grief with that of my people, in hopes that it crushes the perpetrators of evil back down into whatever cracks of hell they emerged from, and simultaneously spreads the roots of healing into those most robbed of happiness by the crime.

When my sweetheart is gone and I feel like one more appearance alone in public, one more polite refusal of the passes of a man who doesn’t know my heart belongs elsewhere, one more morning waking up in an empty bed, will drive me into loneliness that I will never return from, I scream into my mattress with a rush of adrenalin alike to that of one I’d feel running for my life from hungry wolves, and I hope that somewhere in the universe, he picks up this channel of raw emotion that means I love him so desperately that his absence drives me mad.

And when I lose someone, regardless of the fact that I believe our energies will in time be combined again in the cosmos, from whence we came, I will howl like a rabid animal and scare the living shit out of every single person in a ten mile radius, rather than stuff all that pain down inside, for it to poison my blood, until a more appropriate time arrives for me to deal with it.

I inherited my RAWR from a long line of men and women who refused to accept the rules they found to be unworthy of following. It is a part of me, even when that is inconvenient. Those around me who might momentarily be pushed backward by the force of it erupting from my lungs/mind/heart/soul, are quickly drawn back toward me, in curiosity at what force this little body could contain to create such power.

Be proud of what comes from within you. Share it with the world. Lord knows, our people are asleep at the wheel and in desperate need of some LOUD noise to wake them. Maybe if we could synchronize it, the force of it could change our course. Maybe it is healthier for us not to sanitize the less than perfect aspects of what being a human means. Maybe, in the pursuit of being my truest self, and encouraging others to do the same, I will earn the pride of my ancestors and I will deserve the love I was raised with. Maybe if I RAWR loud enough, my grandparents will hear me and know that they left something powerful in me, back here on Earth. I remain ever wide-eyed and hopeful. And loud.

*Aurora

What RAWR means to me, Marie

What RAWR means to me…https://allthingsrawr.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=40&action=edit&message=10

I started “RAWR”ing in the summer of 2011, while pregnant.

I watched my waistline expand, felt my hormones surging and encountered an appetite that would shame a truck driver. As my growing bean began suctioning off my brain cells, I found my vocabulary shrinking. My word choice began to revert to cave-man sounds. When I was hungry, I found myself unable to form complete sentences. Unable to utter words with any coherence. My hunger whittled my brain down to a simple “rawr” to communicate my immediate need for food. But it didn’t end there.

RAWR!

The rawr turned from a nice request for good food, soon -into a RAWR- the demand for good food, now! Not long after that, my brave partner, Raul, coined the name, “Preggosaurus Rex” to describe my dinosaur-like behavior and demand for a snack. So began my rawr, it almost ended there.

I was only pregnant for the summer. My son, George Alfred, did not survive the fall. He passed in mid-September and was born still on the last day of summer, half way to his due date. Overcome with grief, sadness and heartbreak, my rawrs retreated into little lamb bleats, barely vocalized. I slipped into the darkness of a gray, rainy, Seattle fall and winter, expecting the rawr to be washed away with the rain.

Through the darkest of days, I had a light that kept shining on me. I couldn’t escape it, as hard as I tried. The light of love from my friends, family, and fur-babies could not be escaped. They loved me no matter what. And their love kept my rawr alive. It was dormant, buried under tears and behind the walls of my heart, but it was alive. Love was like the little nightlight, burning dimly but just bright enough that you can find your way through the darkness.

I remember it clearly. The first real Brunch since our world came crashing down. The first mimosa and croque madame. The first time I could actually forget. The moment when the clouds parted and the sun shone on my heart, for just a second, came out of nowhere. The RAWR that escaped surprised me and my grief with it’s power. I still had it! I started to find joy in life again. Pushing myself to be better, feel better, live better. In one of these joyful moments, it occurred to me that when I feel the most RAWR is when my heart is the most full of love. (Even if my moment of rawr seems out of frustration or anger, there is an underlying current of love and joy required.) RAWR is love. Love for life. One has to be excited to “RAWR”!

releasing my inner rawr
hammer style

To support my journey of healing, and at the previous urging of friends, I decided to start All Things RAWR because I need a place to collect those moments, things and flashes of RAWR around me. I’ve asked some of my dear friends, those willing to walk beside me until my clouds lifted, to join me in documenting the RAWR around us.

May the RAWR be with you.

All Things Rawr!

Rawr. According to THE Urban Dictionary Rawr has several meanings:

1. A word that means “I love you” in dinosaur.

2. A primitive sound used to represent a personal feeling. Due to the generic and modular nature of the word, the actual implied meaning varies from person to person.

3. A more sexually oriented and cooler version of the word “roar”.

4. In dinosaur, the way of saying, “Hey. You there. Yes, you good sir. I wanted to afford you the courtesy of letting you know that I’m about to eat you. Quite right, eh?”

5. More importantly, we consider the word, “RAWR” to be all of the above and then some. Rawr is a mother’s love, a child’s hunger, a pregnant woman’s anger, an alternate to honking at bad drivers, and a socially acceptable replacement for any other four letter word. It can mean good and bad, hungry and full, light and dark.

This blog is an attempt to gather All Things Rawr into one space that enriches and enlightens our daily rawrs.

all things rawr

all things rawr

 

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