Friday, June 1, 2012

Lost at Sea (Ian's Post)

As you may recall, I spoke about my husband posting a blog on here about his experience of losing our baby during our first pregnancy in this post.  This blog has been really healing for me through that pregnancy and this one, because I can share my thoughts and feelings and get them out of my head and see them in black and white.  But, since he doesn't blog, his healing has taken longer and, just a couple of months ago, we headed to the desert to put our little blueberry to rest, thinking it would help him to finally let go (read this post).  But, he has also thought about blogging here so many times and now he has finally started to write about his experience (although this post did take him awhile to find the words for).  

Through this blog, as I've said before, I have met so many women, and have hopefully helped them, who are going through or have gone through a similar experience.  It was always my hope, with this blog, and the reason I continued writing after we lost our baby that it would one day help and comfort others; and I think it has, and helped and comforted me along the way.   Now, it is Ian's turn and this is the first of many posts, from a husband's point of view, about his loss.  We sometimes forget about our husbands and how things quietly affect them because they are so good at comforting and holding us, staying strong when we need them most.  But, over this past year, I have come to realize that our loss affected him just as much, or maybe even more, than me because he had no outlet to express his emotions.  So, here is that outlet, and I hope you enjoy his blog posts.  These words have not come easy to him and he is prepared to put it all out there, for the first time, for all of you to read in hopes that it helps him, and others, along the way.  So, here is the first of many to come . . .

Have you ever been in the Ocean, out to where you can’t feel the bottom?  Where you tread water and wait for the waves completely out of your element and in the hands of fate you realize earth is alive and you are the smallest guest?  If the ocean forgets to wave, you are washed into the abyss, lost forever, treading water.  The day we lost our baby was the day I learned that you don’t have to be in the water to be lost at sea.
On a desert cold Saturday I woke up before the sun.  Packed my bags kissed my wife and the little blueberry growing in her tummy.  I was going to guide my friend out to the small trickle that was once the Gila River.  At one time the Gila was mighty, my ancestors lived on the banks of the river thousands of years ago using the water to sustain life.  Sadly, because of irrigation and modern farming the river of “my people” has been reduced to flowing brooks and small springs.  Small springs where ducks roost at night to use the water and gnarled plant life as protection.  If you are quiet enough and out early enough you can hunt the ducks before they wake up, ensuring a clean kill.  Eat what you kill, kill it fast, and respect the life you take.  Hunting is an ancient ritual, but if it is not precise it will take you on a journey into the darkest parts of your heart . . .
With one misplaced step the world filled with feathers, and in an instant a shotgun screamed.  Weighted bits of steel flew into the confusion, one duck fell, a hit but not a kill.  Blood and feather, fight and flight, responsibility weighed heavy on the killer.  This particular ritual had become very visceral and very brutal, very quickly.  I hate it when this happens.  The animal retreats to the underbrush, and uses it’s camouflage to vaporize.  We know it is there but cannot see it.  I stand on the banks to keep watch while my friend moves into the undergrowth to finish what was started.
Time moves very slowly, but it moves . . . no sign of the hurt animal.  15 minutes . . . maybe it died . . . 30 minutes . . . it has to be dead . . . Then 2 scouts from the flock fly overhead looking for their lost member . . . and there, thrashing from the water the duck screams for help, but the scouts know the dangers of helping.   We still cannot see the animal in the overgrowth, but the responsibility and relationship to the kill is paramount.  Time moves with no mercy on the duck or the hunters.
More time passes, the duck should be dead.  I hate it when this happens.  I know that nature will take the animal in and find a use for it.  A coyote may find it or ants will feast on the carcass; but wasted spirits weigh heavy on my heart.  I sit down and give prayer to the earth that the duck’s spirit is safe.  Meanwhile, my friend is determined to find it, and continues the search.  It has been almost an hour and I watch for a sign but eventually give up hope.  I start carving a piece of wood, whittling out a small figure, and my mind wanders.  I traveled 8 months into the future where I held my little blueberry.  I traveled 6 years ahead where I taught our blueberry the beauties of the desert, just like my father did when I was that age.  As I carved that figure I went around the world guiding that little blueberry through all of life’s experiences.  Right around the time blueberry introduced me to my first grandchild the duck made its final attempt at survival thrashing into the water towards another patch of overgrowth.
I knew this was the last chance to end this.  I stuck the figure in the ground, and pushed through the underbrush, this had lasted too long.  With a weight in my heart and a knife in my hand I stood in the water studying the underbrush.  Determined. Then, the ringtone from my phone echoed through the desert.  

It was my wife, she told me something was wrong and like I said . . . you don’t have to be in the water to be lost at sea.

 (my grandma's house)


  1. What a beautifully written post. I hope this process helps you on your path to healing and peace.

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