Connection

The urge to write is unbearable, yet the words, the arc, the pretty package is escaping me. So today, just the raw words. Credit card points are a beautiful thing. We thought we were clever when we paid for IVF with our hilton honors card, joking that we would use the points one day to sneak away for a night or two in chicago after our second baby was born. It is one of those things we have been fully committed to since Henry was born, we would find time for just us, preserve our marriage, our foundation. We wouldn’t look at the calendar one day and realize it had been 2 years since we got away. And thanks to my amazing mother in law and brother, we do get that time. We were certain we would have another baby and committed to preserving our time as a couple. Weeks later, we got the news we were going to have twins. The hotel would have to wait for a while.

We were thrilled and scared out of our minds, and we laughed, and we cried, tears of joy and absolute terror. Adding one baby at a time is daunting enough, how would we possibly prepare for two. We needed to buy a new car, make some changes to the house, and mentally and emotionally prepare and pave the way for extreme love and chaos.

As the months passed Twin A and Twin B transformed to baby boy a and baby boy b and then to Jackson and Finn. And we met them and held them and loved them so fiercely so immediately that my heart was bursting from my chest, and as they clutched our fingers with their tiny hands we whispered in their tiny ears that they were perfect and we would never forget them. And just like that they breathed their last breaths in our arms and were on to the next life.

A year ago today we did find ourselves in that luxurious hotel in Chicago, paid for with IVF points. We were home to celebrate my sister’s wedding, and to bury our baby boys ashes next to their grandfather and great grandparents, to be looked after, to honor their short lives in the place we both grew up. We sat in the hotel wrapped in each others arms, in a cloak of heartbreak, beauty and simplicity, in pure indulgence, just 54 days after our sweet boys passed away in our arms.

Amanda went for a run, desperately trying to transform her postpartum body back to the way it was. Sitting on the balcony, drinking my coffee and sleepily overlooking the city street below, my phone rang. It was my brother Mat, his voice shaking, “Hey, what’s up, I have Kristin here too. I don’t know how else to say this. They found dad. He’s dead. I love you.” Dead silence….”No. Way. When did he die, where did they find him?” “They found him dead in bed, covered in bottles of booze, in an apartment in Bangkok. Suspected suicide.”

I couldn’t breathe, my mouth agape, i shut down. “Ok. Are you ok? I love you both. I am so sorry.” It was his 63rd birthday, almost 20 years to the day that he disappeared.

We all have those moments in our lives, before and after moments, where things change forever, anchored by an event. While most of my life had been marked by the disappearance of my father, the birth and death of our sons marked an almost unbearable new line.

Most of my childhood and early adulthood years were spent in survival mode, and to accomplish that I shut down emotionally, compartmentalizing my life. To let any of the pain in would have shut me down, so I moved forward, head down, got shit done. My compassion and empathy for others overflowed, crying walking by a homeless person on the street. My empathy and compassion for myself was non existent. Marrying Amanda was the beginning of my exterior cracking, real vulnerability showing its face, slowly breaking down. Then Henry was born and my heart oozed, the foundation crumbling.

After his first 17 days of life, in great health, he almost died. 6lbs 9ozs and he had rsv. They told us to prepare for him not to make it. And I broke open completely, like i had never done before, feeling the full blast of all my emotions. Aching for the life we were going to have with him, that after 2.5 years was finally here and now we were losing him. And we stayed strong and let our friends and family in, to love us and care for us and help us believe he would be ok. And then suddenly he took a turn for the better, and he lived. He is our miracle baby, no doctor could explain his quick recovery, inches from death to a healthy, happy, nursing baby.

Jackson and Finn’s death ripped my heart out, i felt like I was walking around inside out. The depth of our love for them in the short time they lived was astounding. We held each other and were cradled and loved by all of our friends and family. And I was open, and in touch and not putting up the walls and the facade. I didn’t hold it together and I didn’t need to. I was finally the vulnerable person I teach others to be.

Somehow, the death of my father triggered me back to being 13 years old again. Feeling unsafe and compartmentalized. All the opening I had done, all the undoing of those habits, all the work, one instant shut me down again.

So hear I sit in our small town coffee shop, on the heels of my Dad’s 64th birthday and anniversary of his death, watching 9 month old twins scream in their stroller, yearning for that chaos. Tapping into my practice, my heart, my family, my foundation, trying to find my way back to connection, to wholeness.

All we need

I recently had the honor of contributing to the naming ceremony and bris for dear friends of ours. While I found many beautiful buddhist prayers and writings, none resonated like the heart inspiring yet simple words of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Adapted by me and read by my heart centered friends to their newborn son;

“We will love and support you to be aware of your innate goodness.
The seeds of love, compassion, generosity, patience and wisdom already exist in your heart and mind.
We will help you to cultivate this aspect of your true nature.

We will cultivate a self confidence in you that is not based on transient, superficial factors, but on a deep awareness of your own inner goodness.”

If only every child could start out in the world with parents that start from here.

Just this

How often do we do just this, just this very thing we are doing right now, just this moment, for the sake of that thing only. For me, not often enough. I have the habit of doing whatever it is I am doing for the sake of something else, or anticipating the next thing. I ate breakfast this morning barely taking a moment to put my spoon down, eating so fast you might have guessed someone was about to take it away. I ate breakfast purely to get to the next moment, which happened to be leaving for work, as quickly as I could. There was no moment for me, I was already in the next place.

I, maybe like you, love to go on vacation. I especially love the anticipation of it. We spend time planning and crafting the perfect getaway, detailing where the best places to eat and sleep are, finding the quintessential experiences. And then I slug through the next month or two until said vacation arrives, spending much of my time talking about the upcoming vacation, pushing through the moments of life that are getting in the way of me and this vacation. And the day comes, and we wake up and it is vacation! and i am so worried about relaxing quickly enough to really enjoy the vacation, and what if it goes by too fast? I agonize over what to order for breakfast, because if I order the wrong meal I have wasted this special vacation meal that I won’t get again. You get the picture, maybe you are in the picture.

This is the ultimate cause of suffering. Nothing is ever just what it is, we are constantly anticipating what is next. This last vacation was somewhat of a staycation, we didn’t venture far. And for the first time, maybe ever, I was just in each moment, most of the time. I let myself be at the museum with my son staring at dinosaur bones, trying to feel what he was feeling, see what he was seeing, being no where else. I enjoyed our walks and meals just for what they were. And it was a beautiful thing. Time stood still at moments and I was totally relaxed. I realized it is because I wasn’t throwing moments away, I was in each one, a full participant.

If you have read this blog before you know that I am a practicing buddhist, and even being mindful of breathing and being in the moment my habit of anticipation takes over. I am working on being more present, more mindful in what i do. This morning I took a shower and didn’t plan for my day. I just felt the water streaming down my back and enjoyed the sensation of scrubbing shampoo into my head. I just showered. What in your life are you rushing through? When was the last time you ate a meal and only ate? Didn’t read, talk, think about what was next, but just chewed and swallowed and enjoyed? What is your habit that takes you out of the moment?

We practice so that each moment of our life becomes real life. When we eat, we just eat, when we walk, just walk, when we love, really love, breathing into each moment. That is really all there is, a collection of moments, and if we let them pass us by life will end one day and we forgot to live.

with love.

20130829-123754.jpg

Promiscuous Intelligence

Andrew Fitzgerald's blog

Blog - Capes Coaching

Uncovering the idiocyncracies of life and living each moment, one at a time

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

allaboutmanners

Just another WordPress.com site

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

π’₯π’Άπ“‚π‘’π“ˆ π’₯ 𝒩𝑒𝑒𝒹

π’«π“‡π‘œπ’»π‘’π“ˆπ“ˆπ’Ύπ‘œπ“ƒπ’Άπ“ π’’π‘œπ“π’»π‘’π“‡ & 𝑀𝒾𝓃𝒹 π’žπ‘œπ’Άπ’Έπ’½

MindfulVision

My tribute to life with all its curiosities and miracles

Playing Your Hand Right

Showing America how to Live

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

floreakeats

Food Writing. Nonsense. Home of The Food A--hole's Dilemma and other delicacies

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

A Window Of Wisdom

Whispers from spirit heard with your heart

Eleventh Stack

A books, movies, and more blog from the staff at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main.

smilecalm

Life through mindful media