Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Death Dream 2011

I just woke up in the middle of the night. Woke gently, but slightly bewildered.

Then, I was immediately overcome with the awareness that I was in a hospital and it was a nurse who had come to softly shake me from sleep. I could feel that institutional stifling warmth and could hear the beeping and whirring of machines and monitors, could smell the clean linens on the bed.

She told me that it was over now, that he was gone.
I had dared to fall asleep on my child's death vigil.

I looked up and could scarcely believe that the beautiful soul called Simon, my baby boy, was gone while I slept with my head resting against his side, my hand on his.

I had expected some feeling of relief when "it" finally came, but all I felt was utter grief. Disbelief, that I was left to walk my time on this Earth without his presence. Did time really exist before he was born?
The weight of the unfairness of it all was crushing my chest. Why him instead of me?

I lay beside my husband who was faintly snoring in the darkness, unaware of the sad puddle of a woman to his right.
I still had tears streaming down my face as I snuck into the boy's rooms to check on them like when they were babies. Simon was softly snoring, just like his father, and had a little grin on his face. Will was muttering in his dreams of adventure.

I have not been able to sleep soundly since this "awake dream". I look and feel like hell. At least the sun is shining bright today. I will put on sunglasses, walk the dog and try to experience my sadness, so that I may let it go, instead of burying it. Wish me luck.
Peace to all.


  1. Dear Wanda,

    I just saw this and feel your pain around doing time on Earth after the loss of a child; and how time only comes into existence only when our children are born.

    Just today I told my teacher that I thought practice would take away that oppressive feeling around time passing, but instead have discovered it takes away everything else.

    And all we are left with is constant passing away.

    Diotima, June 2, 2011

  2. Dear Wanda,
    Comparisons are usually dangerous, and most of the topics and concerns raised on this site are important, but I must confess to feeling some awkward inadequacy in comparing some of my own to the situation that you are apparently (?) describing.
    Buddhist teachings repeat over and over the story of how Shakyamuni sent a grieving mother to search for a mustard seed from a household that had never known death. She couldn't find one and got the message. I can't argue with the message or the Buddha's wisdom here. Death and suffering are everywhere, and it seems perhaps the Buddha's challenge did help her find some peace. But it also seems worth reflecting on the fact that he himself never outlived a child, much less one born from his own body. It's a lot easier to tell the story than it is to be you.
    Ken points out that "fairness" is essentially a child's notion. Fair enough. I can't argue with his wisdom there either. The notion won't heal pain or bring anyone back from death. But what monster wouldn't feel some child-like grief faced with such a situation? If the situation is not just a dream, I pray to understand your grief, knowing full well that's a prayer that can never really be granted to one who has not been you. I pray never to meditate myself into some state from which I could not share, however partially and inadequately, in your grief and the strength living with it has given you.
    Your sons are very fortunate, and we are fortunate to have you writing here. Please share anything you feel called to share about your sons. All of you have accumulated much wisdom. Please share it with us if you can.
    Your humble student,
    - John O., June 5, 2011