The ink of my life, my purpose, my very understanding of anything, erased the moment you died. I became a blank page. The inner landscape rendered featureless and barren. All that I thought I knew had crumbled into rubble. The pathways once drawn with the ink of service, duty, relationships and even sense of self, simply vanished. In one shocking moment, the utter temporariness of this world was forcibly thrust upon me. Our lives are sandcastles on the edge of a rising tide, never meant to leave a lasting impression, only to be appreciated and shared for the short time we have to share them. The stories of our lives are written in the sand, too, they are not even ink or pencil, merely soft indentions in the plasma of manifestation. It lasts as long as we hold them in our thoughts.
Twenty-two weeks ago a rogue wave crashed upon the shore of my heart. It flattened everything. Every effort since then is centered around learning to cope and reconciling the experience of losing my beloved son with faith and love. Some moments are easier than others. Enjoyment and comfort seep in to shine a sunny warmth upon me as I heal. Some moments are excruciating in their rawness. I feel separated from you and everyone. The sea of grief rages and tosses me roughly. Nana gave me a magnet the other day. It says "You can't stop the waves from coming, but you can learn to surf!" What I never knew about learning to surf is that one spends a fair amount of time getting tumbled by waves and crashing into the shore. It takes practice. Learning to surf on this sea requires mindfulness and daring.
I am at once on the ocean and the shore. I am consciously rebuilding the landscape of my inner life. To do so with the full understanding that it may fall into nothingness in a nanosecond, takes courage. I am learning to draw new lines with new ink.
The lifelines I called upon in the earliest days of this horror have become new habits. Creative, spiritual and faith-driven exploration and expression are, once again, part of my daily being. I am softened and smoothed on the edges sinking with melty openness into life as it unfolds before me. Thoughts and emotions that inspire anger or frustration find there is less and less inside of me where they can thrive. In this space, I am aware of you, Thor. And I am aware of life. I plant my feet and tip my face toward the sun, and I draw new lines with new ink with each thought, step, smile, hug, touch, and ounce of effort. And you are so close these days.
A few weeks ago, I took the art for the new tattoo to an artist in Scottsville. After we had finalized the design for placement, we set an appointment. It's just as I said it would be; tribal-style totem animals represent our family. Dad is a snow leopard for silent, strong leadership and efficient use of energy. Chaz is a raven for the playful and creative use of language, and joyful, mystical understanding of the balance of light and dark. Xan is an otter for playfulness, loyalty, family, adventure, daring and fun. (Doesn't that sound about right?) And eagle represents me, for high-level vision allowing me to see the connectedness of all beings and the patterns that emerge as we interact. You, darling, are a beautiful buck for the generous kindness of your heart and your ability to love and befriend so many. Also for your sense of adventure and fun. The totems are framed with turquoise, coral, and silver. The coral represents the earth, the womb, birth and this manifest world. The turquoise represents the cosmos, the Creator, and the spirit world. They are held together in silver that represents purity and allows for the highest expression of each. This frame is shaped in an infinity symbol to represent the cyclical nature of birth and death. In the lower loop of the frame is the sun shining rays upon the world and in the upper half is the moon floating in the cosmos. In this way, our Earth is referenced in the scope of all that is. And so our whole family is rendered together, in one spot, right here on my arm.
As we prepared to etch these powerful, meaningful images into my skin, we did one more thing; We added your ashes to the ink. This simple act was intensely profound; it allowed me to reclaim you to myself as your mother. Your body was of my body from the very beginning, and now I carry these final pieces with me, under my skin, for the rest of my days.
Yes, I am drawing new lines with new ink, Thor. What they will ultimately reveal and where they may lead is yet to be seen. I only know that I am drawing them with love from an open heart, with you as my angel guide and with your dad and brothers, and all the family by my side.
I love you,