“..Come away o human child to the waters and the wild with a faery hand in hand for the world is more full of weeping than you can understand…”
From “The Stolen Child” by WB Yeats
I am a stolen child. I don’t think about it much, I assume it’s all been dealt with by now. Then sitting quietly as the sun sneaked in through the window this morning up it popped. It did not merely cross my mind or even hurt but buried me in a lava flow of grief.
Panic overtook me. I was in a public place and needed to get away quickly before I gave in to this overwhelming sensation. I ran until I found a small patch of grass and dirt and collapsed there. Tears already flowing, chest heaving and a bizarre hunger which made me sick.
I thought grief had come already in my life but I was wrong. Some tears, some therapy, some talk and writing in your journal is not expressing grief, that’s just a start. Grief is a whole other thing. It’s like death following life following death and not just your own life and death but everyone you know and everyone you don’t know. It feels for a short while like you will not make it out, like you will fall under it and stay there forever without food or sleep or comfort. But that’s not true.You will make it out, you will hang on and you will get better.
It doesn’t matter what’s happened to you, you are carrying grief and until it’s been set free it will follow you like a hungry dog. It’s not just acknowledging your own suffering but the suffering of everyone you love and don’t love, everyone you’ve ever met or seen. It’s like knowing what Plato said about everyone carrying a great burden but not merely having that in your head but in your soul and feeling it as acutely as the breath you are breathing.
The ravenous hound begs you to feel the pain of every child ever born and ever hurt-which is all of us.
I labored under that grief like childbirth feeling its pain and its pull and its fight. It needed out but it feared it too until finally my heart split all the way open and grief was born to the day and just as quickly flew away with the birds who called it from the trees above me, all looking down and humming; “poor kid. we have seen this before. ahh..poor kid.”
Now I am just tired and cold and hungry. I cannot recall much before grief was born and I am concentrating on every task as if I’ve never washed a cup or changed my shirt before. Now that she has gone I miss her in some odd way. She must have been there hiding in the shadows of my belly for years before finally awakening. But she has flown and the hungry dog has been fed until the next comes along.
So I’ll leave you with a different thought than that of grief or dogs or stolen children but the poem I felt laying under the moon last night perhaps in pre-labor and ecstasy:
I lay under the moon and she is smiling, bathing me before bed.
In the morning I stretch out my arms and the sun holds me all day singing.
The birds know my name and the grass grows if only to tickle my feet.
I see you there going by–coat and shoes walking straight and caring only of war and worry..
I call out to you–“come join my family!”
But you do not hear me.
What a fool I am drunk with love
How will I ever succeed?