Yesterday, many of you said your tents were various shades. It is what I meant when I told you it was possible to be in more than one camp and not be branded a traitor. I also told you for this one, I was definitely my namesake. You gathered around my campfire, and now, it is time for the story.
The plane on which we meet is most definitely one of confusion and loss, but also of hope. There is a solution. The guideposts in this one were the animals and our very Blue metaphors for them.
Anaconda: Snakes get a bad wrap. While she took me down the rabbit hole, she really was taking me along for the ride away from where I was. The climb may have just saved me from being trampled in the first place.
Wildebeests: While not the brightest herd on the savannah, one thing they do well is be a cohesive unit. They are an exercise in survival. Their actions are not aggressive, merely defensive and familial.
Buffalo, horseflies and hound dogs: These are the rural cast of home on my mountain top. The mountain I live on is named Buffalo. Even without knowing that or having me post a picture of one of my hounds, you got the home reference.
Fire ants: Really? If you are not acquainted with these marvels of
evil the insect kingdom, know they are the inverse of the wildebeests. They work cohesively and can strip the carcass of a bull in a little more than 12 hours. All of it… until the bones are gleaming white in the sun. Do not let their size fool you.
Gills: Another mermaid reference.
Man o’ war: The Portuguese man o’ war is an amazing animal. Despite having no organs, bones or a brain, it has survived millions of years. When the neurotoxin wears off, you realize the stinging around wherever it touched burns like fire… even under saltwater. They will group together and attack whales, so the gutless reference was poignant.
Crows: The only traditional death metaphor in the entire poem. No, I am never that shallow. Crows are very doting parents. When their fledglings are threatened, they will defend them ferociously.
Snoring: Another dog reference. All of my dogs snore… even Bacchus.
While not much of this garlic pod was delicacy material, the inside is very tender and bittersweet. Shall we make a roux?
Snake: Occasionally, the thing we do not think we can survive is a tour to take us to a place where we will prepare for the real test. (Broken nails, muddy shoes)
Wildebeests: Some of those who hold us tight to protect us actually have the ability to trample over our emotions in the interest of protecting the herd. Often their dimness is not ignorance, but stupidity. They choose to not acknowledge the depth of our feelings in a survival instinct which spares them from expanding their hearts to absorb the enormity of our hurt.
Home animals: When we are low or in the throes of adversity, the comforts of home are something we seek. In this case, they are all missing, even though we are standing right where they should be.
Fire ants: In a charged emotional state, all thing great and especially small will eat away at whatever (exposed, abraded, bloody) flesh may still be left.
Sea creatures: Even the places where we should find respite are diffused with irritants.
Dinner is served.
This poem was posted on the seventh anniversary of my daughter’s death. While there is nothing whatsoever which could minimize the loss of a child, I recognize I needed it to survive some of the other events which would closely follow her death.
I had already survived of my own accord, as for a few days after her birth doctors were not so sure I would live. Within weeks of her death, her brother regressed massively and was diagnosed autistic. Shortly following, her next sister would also regress and be diagnosed autistic.
An epic battle between her parents and the
state of South Carolina third circle of hell would commence. A stroke complicated matters. Cancer showed up, and my husband lost his fight with it. My stepmother did as well, six weeks later. The following year, my only older sister lost her fight with liver disease.
Had it not been for how far I have come, the choice to lay down my arms and stop fighting at any one of these junctures would have been a viable one.
Virginia has always been Tiny V. She was for many reasons. She was our tenth child. She weighed one pound, eleven ounces and was only a foot tall. She was the tiniest human I have ever seen. She was a feisty little one, even though she never made a sound beyond a sigh. She never cried.
In sixteen days, she changed the way I view the world. I still have to wonder, as all mothers do, how different would things be today if she were under foot?
No matter how bad or insignificant or monumental an event in your life may be, it prepares you for what is to come. The bitter helps us appreciate the sweet. The sad helps us recognize happiness. The heartbreaking helps us remember to love while we still are able.
Be prepared. Open your heart. The good is looking for a home.
Can you see how you survived something to be prepared for something else (not necessarily bad experiences)? Do you recognize the good in your life? Name one thing which makes you smile.
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