13 April 2011

The Poles of Life and Death

It is probably my favorite jacket, dark blue cotton with a leather collar.  I've had it for ten (?) years at least, I think.  It is a little threadbare on the cuffs, but has the look of something well-made and wearing well.  I had this jacket when my twins were born so long ago; it carries memories just as I do.

On the left lapel of the jacket there are two ribbons.  It is a duo of small satin curios, each one made of pink and blue fabric intertwined.  A small safety pin in each assumes the fastening duties.  Each ribbon is also getting frayed, the result of years of me wearing them.  I picked them up at an annual memorial walk, given each year in honor of children who have died.  It is a way for the parents and families to remember the little ones.  Each year they have ribbons available, and I have yet to take mine off.

A co-worker of mine asked me about them today.  This is the first time anyone has asked in months, if not a couple of years.  My co-worker didn't know my story yet, and I think it was deeper than he was expecting.  It is a testament to how far I have come that I can now answer that question evenly and with peace instead of grief.  I find it less draining to tell the story, and I am grateful for the chance to share.  It was also a perfect segue into talking about my lovely daughter, too, and she is a welcome topic of conversation.

On the drive home, I was musing on all that had transpired.  It occurred to me that I don't need a ribbon for my daughter, because obviously I have her, in the world here and now.  For the twins, the ribbons are what I have, at least in a form I can easily carry around with me.  I have a person and I have symbols: all to be treasured for all the hours of my days.

Rolling down the highway, under a hammered-pewter sky,  I felt myself in a delicate state of tension.  It wasn't a stressful feeling wrought with anxiety.  I fancied it to be that which a finely-tuned piano wire feels as it is stretched out in the instrument.  Taut, sleek and brimming with potential.  I found myself in a new, bright country of the soul.

I was caught between the poles of Life and Death, balancing ever so carefully in anticipation of that decisive moment when I am struck just so, to vibrate with Beauty.


  1. "I found myself in a new, bright country of the soul." Simply gorgeous and profound experience.

    I love that you can carry the memory of your babies on your jacket. You keep them close, you love and honor them. They shall always been remembered, of course.

    This post vibrates with beauty, to use your words. You describe the tension, the balance, the breakthrough exquisitely.

  2. So cool that you have the jacket and the ribbons. And that telling the stories felt good. Seems like this was a breakthrough for you. Yay.

  3. Hey I wrote back to you today; did you get it? Cos suddenly I can't find your email address on my address book.....for some reason it's disappeared. Write me :)

  4. I think that your memories of the twins keep them alive in so many ways.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...