Friday, November 2, 2012

All the Souls Having Lived, Died, or Never Been

I have not just been quiet on this blog. I have been quite quiet.

Last week I drove over twelve hours to consult with the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, partly to find out if my fears of an early Menopause were true and ultimately to find out what was causing the endless grind of fatigue and thyroid malfunction. I could have done it all over the phone and through consultation, but I needed to look the doctor in the eye while he told me what I didn't want to hear. I also wanted to have all the testing done on my metabolism problems with nothing lost in translation because my four year old daughter has now been diagnosed with thyroid malfunction. It is now no longer just about me and my health. I am building a medical history for her. It was worth the trip in many ways.

This journey started two years ago when all signs pointed to an early loss of fertility. I was not resigned to it. I am still not. I have so wanted another child of my body. I so did not want to be so early sterile.

Words do not adequately express my emotions at all this, coupled as this is in miscarriage and being denied the privilege of raising most of the children I have fostered. No words fit here. Moving on through this paragraph, as through each moment, is the only option other than a continued silence. So I am moving on, attempting to reconcile what I learned this past week, that I should never have been able to conceive and carry three so easily. That instead of, in spite of, grieving for the loss of my fertility, the reality of any living children from my own body is evidence of a profound blessing.

Miscarriage and early sterility is, in fact, what my body naturally defaults to. This is what I learned. I also learned that there is a treatment plan for me that will alleviate some of my symptoms even if it does not produce more than that, so things shall get better. I have been standing at the closed door of another pregnancy for several years now. It is time to stop knocking.

My hands are shaking while I write this. I have lost four children to miscarriage, two more to the effects of The Pill. I have handed even more beloved children, foster children I was not privileged to raise, back to the hands of a dubious fate. My silence is wrapped around a wordless, endless keening of the spirit that will not translate to anyone who has not suffered loss. It has faded like a song barely heard, playing out in the open rooms and chambers of my heart, an unsung lullaby for each precious one.

Instead, I shall continue to knock at a neighboring door. It is the door to fostering, to adoption. It, too, has brought me blessings beyond compare, two daughters of my heart, and it, too, has brought loss. I have fostered ten. Eight children, eight blessings, eight precious ones I have put into the arms of another, obediently but unwillingly.

Those of you who have lost know that part of the song of a family is the space between the verses, the silence of those who are not there to sing. You know that it is no wonder we see ghosts when our hearts long to fill the empty spaces that the dead leave behind.

So, on this day, the one where we celebrate all the souls of our loved ones, I am full of long silences. I am waiting for something, hoping for hope, and holding on to all the little hands that are mine to hold. I lit a candle for all the ones who have gone. I went to the cemetery to pray. I went to Mass yesterday. I Confessed to God that I wanted everyone back, every one, and more.

I wish I could end this with a note of triumph or strength, with a powerful revelation from God that in time, yes, we will all be together again with our beloved dead. A testament of Faith like that would be so nice right about now. Sure, all of that is true, it is all very good.

Instead I can only say that this moment is already moving beyond me. Time slips through our fists, even when we cling. I feel the slip of wind and time tuning me to another call, a daughter wandering out of bed, a dog begging at the door. To each call I am obedient.

My heart turns with the hand to the task. This is how I turn to God again. Like this. As I get up and do what I am called to do.

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