Wednesday, March 27, 2013


"Ritual makes our reality safe."

That is the best tidbit I took away from my session today with a grief and loss counsellor.

No wonder I love rituals.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

In Full Colour

"I gave up my breast for a grandchild."

Yep. That's one of the first things I said to Oldest Son and his wife when I woke from anaesthetic. Dearest One told me days later that I might want to clarify what I meant because I had been pretty loopy at that point. Narcotics or not, I knew exactly what I meant and why.

Funny how one can know exactly what they mean and think it's clear to others, no? So I explained to my daughter-in-law that being without my breast meant being without cancer and living long enough to be a grandma. Gracious woman that she is, she was cool with my explanation.

During the week before I had my mastectomy I listened to a guided meditation for those facing surgery and part of it talked about being surrounded by a magical band of allies in the operating room. In my mind that meant not only those who love me in the here and now but those who have gone on before me - the communion of saints - if you will. It was a comforting thought.

When I was wheeled into the operating room I looked around at the space and realized my magical band of allies would need to squish in tight if they wanted to fit. And so they did. When I was under anaesthetic I saw a beautiful, magical band of allies - all glowing an intense white - outlined in different heights like someone had taken a grey pencil crayon and traced their various heights in one long stroke. I couldn't quite reach out and touch them but they were close. In amongst the beings, who had no distinct features, was this little girl - in full colour - with very distinct features. She had run over to my operating table and was nestling back in between those glowing white beings when I saw her. Her face radiated such indescribable joy that I smile every time I remember her. While she wasn't a mini version of myself  I felt she was definitely related to me.  I wondered who she was. I thought of the (three) babies I have miscarried.

And it was this in-full-colour-little-girl I was thinking of when I told my son and his wife that I gave up a breast for a grandchild.

In September I will welcome my first grandchild. Boy or girl, my joy is indescribable.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Figuring It Out

"Your vulnerability in being present to what is could be triggering people's pain - pain they might not want to face. So their response to where you are at on the journey is a projection of where they are at not a reflection of where you are at. Perhaps the surgeon, too was uncomfortable with the places your truth was touching in his own life."

Such healing, hopeful words yesterday spoken to me by a therapist who I haven't seen for several years. Good to hear from her that where I am at is where I am at and nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed by. Being affirmed in where I am is doing more for me in this transition from health crisis back to 'regular life'(whatever the hell that is) than every suggestion that it is time for me to move on, get with the program, and put this experience behind me.

Last week's conversation with my long time friend was a turning point for me. I  breathed a huge sigh of relief and relaxed into acceptance of where I am at. And then my mood lifted significantly. That friend would tell me that it isn't something we need to go pay professionals for but something we used to do for others in friendship and community. I've found myself  feeling happy and then confused that I am feeling that way. I had to tell myself that feeling happy doesn't negate what I've been through and now I am on a journey of figuring out how to integrate it without feeling like I'm somehow betraying myself. My therapist told me yesterday this was totally normal and that I would figure it out.

Figuring it out is so different than having it figured out. I hope the first phrase is a life long one and the second one disappears from my vocabulary.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


I spent several hours on the phone yesterday with a woman who's been pivotal in my conversion journey, someone who has travelled alongside me for over 25 years.

The night before I remembered this friend and how last summer she'd explained a long absence from my life during a most difficult time of her own. She told me that everything she'd believed had been turned upside down and she'd had no words. Ah, I thought, someone who knows what it's like to be rendered mute.

I could barely get the words out through my tears yesterday as I told her I needed her to tell me if the upside downness ends.

I'm pretty sure that that conversation did more for me than any professional help ever will. What a relief to hear someone say that the place I find myself in is not something to fix, but a place to rest in, in order that the work being done in the depths of me can be done.