"A little statue of Buddha."

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In the time of the Buddha, a woman named Kisagotami suffered the death of her only child.  Unable to accept it, she ran from person to person, seeking a medicine to restore her child to life.  The Buddha was said to have such a medicine.

Kisagotami went to the Buddha, paid homage, and asked, “Can you make a medicine that will restore my child?”

“I know of such a medicine,” the Buddha replied.  “But in order to make it, I must have certain ingredients.”

Relieved, the woman asked, “What ingredients do you require?”

“Bring me a handful of mustard seed,” said the Buddha.

The woman promised to procure it for him, but as she was leaving, he added, “I require the mustard seed be taken from a household where no child, spouse, parent, or servant has died.”

The woman agreed and began going from house to house in search of the mustard seed.  At each house the people agreed to give her the seed, but when she asked them if anyone had died in that household, she could find no home where death had not visited-in one house a daughter, in another a servant, in others a husband or parent had died.  Kisagotami was not able to find a home free from the suffering of death.  Seeing she was not alone in her grief, the mother let go of her child’s lifeless body and returned to the Buddha, who said with great compassion, “You thought that you alone had lost a son, the law of death is that among all living creatures there is no permanence.”

(Excerpt from The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler)

Our 9-day-0ld son passed away just less than 2 months ago.  Hoping to understanding how my Rh Disease would affect a possible future pregnancy, I convinced my husband to meet with the high risk doctors whom I saw during this most recent pregnancy.  So today we spent a couple hours at the hospital and for the first time a Doctor took time to ask us, in depth, how we were doing emotionally.

“I never expected a Doctor would care about that, but obviously that was a misconception, so thank you,”  I said to him, feeling like I insulted and complimented him at the same time.

Later, a social worker who helps grieving parents came to the room and spoke to us about the different support systems we might think about.  What bothered me most wasn’t thinking about our loss, it was her description of others who have also lost a child and some of the physical reminders that they construct of their loss.  For example,  tattooing the infant’s footprint to the parents’ lower legs so as to always be able to say “My child walks with me.”  I teared up at the thought, because it gave me a feeling of being stuck, of not understanding that pain and death is part of life.  I imagined it would feel like wearing a tether.

I still cry but I make more effort in managing my tears.  For weeks now, I have not looked at any of his pictures other than the one next to our wedding picture.  Am I hiding pain?  Am I trying to forget?  I don’t think so.   

I am learning from my son about the awesomeness of life and the impermanence of nature.