MIDNIGHT LETTER ............. October 31-November 1, 1996

Gosh, just woke up! Dozed off with Brandi while we watched
the Carol Burnett Show (at 6!). Awoke and tucked her into bed at
7 p.m., which was an hour early, but she needed the extra rest tonight
too! (she didn't get to bed last night until after 11 - but still
got up and went to school this morning). When I got them (Brandi and
Pinky) tucked in, I went back to my room to just rest a few minutes
more and ~ZAP~ ... slept once again until 10! I awoke just in time to
see E.R. coming on (I love this show). It seemed a bit tame after
being in last nights' drama which included an actual surgery (my first!)...
but I was too lazy to get up and do anything else anyway.
So here it is nearly Midnight!
I've just gotten Peachs' dinner into the nuke-box and am
stopping by here to write.

Was (still am) so exhausted. Didn't get to bed until 3:30 in the
morning, back up at 6:30. Off to the hospital again at 9. Spent
hours with Jeanne... She kept grinning at me as I would sort of `slip
& drift' a bit... She kept insisting that I come home and get some
rest. Mr. Bee looked great this morning. The birthing-swellings
went right down. I did find that his hand was terribly bruised
though. I had missed that last night. The whole shoulder quadrant
and most of the palm of his hand were the worst bruises. The one
under his eye is faint now. I forgot to give his length (brought to my
attention by some of my e-mail responses! 20.5 inches. Got some
great pictures of him with the digital camera.

While I was sitting there on the couch holding the baby, I was feeling
such a mixture of emotions. Erics' birth had been about the most difficult
I've ever heard of - and as Jeanne kept saying last night, how she was
going through "hell" in those 5 hours... My mind kept going back (unbidden)
to the 43 hours in the hospital with Erics' birth. I had already been in
painless labor for 2 days before that. Contractions get to be tiring even if
they are not perceived as acutely painful, so by the time I went to the
hospital to have him - I was near exhaustion anyway.
No one EVER really remembers the experience very clearly -
even though you think, while it is going on...
~"I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS!!!"
But the part that remained with me, was the last stage of Erics' birth
when I felt as near death (so near in fact, that I was certain it was imminent) -
and I wept because I feared I would never get to just SEE him!
Or that the enormous love in my heart for him would never be given to him
by me..... That I would not hold him or ever get to speak to him...
43 hours is a VERY long time... The memories of the physical part of that
past experience is not very clear - but
acute memories of those ~thoughts~
to this very day, remain always with me. Somehow - I felt an amazed,........
nearly ~awed~ .......sense of gratitude that I lived to mother him. There was
a unique sense of `preciousness' that stayed with me always... from that
day unto this (and I guess will always be with me) - that I was, and lived to
BE, ...... Erics' mother. I always felt there was something very different
(most special) about it. That feeling remained all throughout his lifetime....
There were so many mountains we had to scale! In his one lifetime, I felt the
dark presence of death more than once. Looking back now.... It's almost as
though death came for us way back there - but was reluctant to take us and
tarried as long as it could, near us, until it could wait no more and had to
carry one of us away. I wonder though.... shouldn't it have been both of us
that were appointed/taken? I tell you - I have felt DEATH envelope me like
an embrace from which I (unwillingly) drifted. It was a feeling of becoming
almost ethereal.... (changing form from solid to vaporous). I can still remember
occasions of that embrace... not truly unpleasant or objectionable either.
Actually.... Almost a lovely feeling. Memory of it reminds me of the way
clouds look everywhere around me here in the mountains...
You can see the clouds against the distant outlines of majestic mountains
and they seem `almost' to have a ~soul~ about them..... as they drift past ...
ever-so-briefly, gently, surrounding with whispery touch, the earthly things in
their heavenly path.... A feathery light, sometimes swift, sometimes lingering,
brushing of themselves across those substances they encounter....
I have experienced deaths' embrace
enough to know that it was as lovely as clouds look! Just as light and
mystical.... unknowable and F-R-E-E !.... is the only way I can think of to
adequately describe it (though no words
can actually meet the task)
And as I experienced Jeannes' 5/6 hours - it kept coming back to me -
"How... HOW did I ever survive that long ago ordeal?" It lasted SO LONG!
(I did go into a most violent shock the moment I had accomplished that
last successful push!)
BUT last night, the aching that came with the memory - was from the.....
"WHY?"
in my soul! There where exists that ever hungry, gnawing at our souls...
Our need to know the why of mysteries!
I can usually put that aside and remember that here, we see through a glass
darkly, and one day -
~There~ - we shall see all and know all things....
But last night.... Last night I felt it again....
felt the terrible, wrenching agony of Erics' absence. Of losing him after so
great a price was exacted of me to have him.... It just didn't seem possible!
And as I held the brand new warmth and sweet vulnerability
of my last grandchild, fast against my body.... and laid my cheek next to his
and whispered that I loved him as I welcomed him to this world....
There in the midst of that almost Holy, tender moment,
came a wave of agony...... remembering doing that with Eric too -
but not ~saying good-bye to him~ when he left!
Even holding the baby - I felt a vast, cosmic ~emptiness of my arms~
for that farewell embrace.
An emptiness that will never be filled until I embrace him again ...
(if we do such things in our next state).
But as long as I live and am mortal - I will ache with that!

Even writing it here has begun the heaviness and pain anew ...
and I weep inconsolably............
I want to rise from this chair - run outside with this terrible pain
and stretch my hands and my spirit up to the sky
where the stars seem so near that I might touch them,
and I want those ageless brilliant orbs to tell me what they see...
what they know - from their perspective of the universe and eternity....
So that I might comfort myself with whatever that knowledge might be.....
Yet, I know that I cannot, and they (the stars) cannot -
communicate about this mystery to mere mortals as myself.

It occurs to me - I have never known a farewell embrace...
(with a loved one slipping away through the threshold of death).
I have had empathy with such scenes wherein I felt I was a part
of the experience being depicted before me - but have never been
in
that experience for myself. In thinking about it - I suppose that there are
as many ways to feel about it as there are ways to die!
For some, that parting is a relief and an answer to prayer by, for, and on
the behalf of, those loved ones who suffer and long to be departing.
I do not believe that death is always an enemy.
In fact.... the deepest and purest truth would be - that for the one who
is leaving this life (I think of it more as a transcendence than an ending)
death is merely an escort service, a beginning, not just an ending.
The wrenching pain comes most to those of us who are losing touch with the
departing loved one. It is only for the living that they come to an end....
and only for the dying that it is a beginning.....

O-my-gosh...... I've slipped into one of those ~writers' time-outs~
I think of them as `Creativity-seizures~ ....
for they come over me just like brain-seizures come over
those who experience them...
I am too tired to be sitting here writing!!!!
So I'm closing right now while I've managed to `escape'
(when Peach arrived home from work and `disturbed' the flow....) - the spell.
I NEED to get more rest! Will write a more `usual' letter tomorrow.

Back-2-bed-4-me! Nite, nite~~~~~

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