STORIES OF COURAGEOUS VULNERABILITY?
I can only share it's like Chicken Soup for The Soul with a Twist:
The twist is, each story is written by the person who experiences the story themselves. Written using their own voice, in their own writing style...
The writers, from six different countries (U.S, India, Argentina, South Africa, Romania, Ireland) and 7 different states within the USA (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, New York, Indiana, Florida, Hawaii)
Let me just get to it....
Moments That Took MY Breath Away
By: Christina Marie in Pennsylvania, USA
When I walked through the first set of double-doors to the church I was reflecting on how I grew up in this place. All of my Catholic school experiences, my first Holy Communion, confession, Confirmation. The last time I had stepped foot in this church was the christening of my son who was now a healthy and happy three year old. I had gone from a Catholic school girl attending church every Sunday to barely remembering to go to mass, even on the holidays.
When I walked through the second set of doors, the church was packed! Full of people, many of whom, I have never seen before this moment. I was not expecting this!
It took my breath away...
To take their breath away...
This took my breath away...
Now all eyes were burning through me. I could feel the depth of sorrow, empathy and compassion being sent my way as everyone waited for my reaction since the baby in the casket was the same baby I had given birth to 20 days earlier.
Standing at the front of the church with my incision burning, nursing-ready breast throbbing and my heart bursting into a million pieces, I was not expecting any of this.
It was all taking my breath away...
I was in awe over the level of humanity that showed up in my life from the moment of his birth through the next few years which I jokingly refer to as my, "I-was-a-complete- nightmare" years.
All those years growing up in the Roman Catholic Church did not penetrate me nearly as deeply as those 20 days of being in “IT,” followed by the next few years of trying desperately to heal “IT.” Whatever “IT” was, it was there to be healed.
My second son’s birth and death became a forced entry-point into spirit. I was brought to my knees and that's when everything opened up for me.
A few years later, my father said to me, “Christina, you had a cosmic crack!” I smiled a deep-to-the-core smile of resignation because the words, “You had a cosmic crack” were completely lined up with what I felt I had experienced.
These words took my breath away...
In those first few months and years, I didn't see or care at all about anyone else’s pain or heartache. My love, compassion and empathetic abilities were all severely blocked from everyone except my three year old. But there was even a period of time where I didn't even see him. I was taking care of him on automatic pilot for a solid few weeks after his brother’s death until his day- care teacher confronted me.
When I went to pick him up, she gently grabbed my hand and said, "Come with me. I want to show you something." Guiding me into the play room where all the children were playing together, way over on the other side of the room sat my son, alone. He was sitting in the corner with his arms crossed as if to protect himself and his little head was sunk down low.
This took my breath away...
As I began my journey into healing all of the “IT’S”~ (yes, with a capital I and a capital T) ~ slowly I was able to see and hear the impact “my” baby’s death had on others and I learned an important truth.
We mothers often tend to live with the concept, “no one will or could love our children as deeply as we do.” My pain and self- centered grieving reflected this concept. I'm the mom. It's MY body. It’s MY loss!
It took my breath away...
In September of 2012, my grandmother passed away. I would learn through this, just how deeply her pain and her love was. She demanded to be buried in the same cemetery as her little great- grandson, so she could be resting in peace with him.
This took my breath away...
"In Loving Memory of Donovan Hugh Whinnery".
Again, all eyes on me once more. I was not expecting this!
This took my breath away!
In that theater, I was speechless and taken instantly back to the moment on my sofa with a napping child upstairs and a baby growing in my belly. I had that vision. I saw it, and it did come true. I couldn't speak. It was too amazing, too outstanding, too incredible and way too meaningful to me. I was literally humbled speechless. It was exquisite and it still....
Takes my breath away!
I'm 20 years old and four months along when I started hemorrhaging, the ambulance rushing me to the emergency room. The reproductively-defective woman belief is born. It was a very scary experience for me as a young woman. It was also a very emotional and hormonal experience. My second pregnancy, Joseph was born. Arriving 2 weeks early and just 2 ounces shy of being a 9 pound healthy baby boy. He was more than I could hope for. Third time around, that's where Donovan fly's in and out of my life and after that, I became a divorced reproductively-defective woman.
I was, at this point, willing to try just about anything: Cognitive therapy, soul retrieval work, rapid eye therapy, self-help books. I took every workshop and seminar. I investigated every religion: Buddhism, A Course in Miracles, the Baptist church and more. I turned myself into a modern day “Wonder Woman.”
Domesticated? Forget it. I tried that and it was nothing but pure pain. Now it was time to shake things up! It was time to do more, to be more to grow and heal. And I was. I was truly picking up new concepts very quickly because I was so hungry, so thirsty for knowledge, awareness and self improvement.
What I was also doing, underneath it all was avoiding my grief. I was doing well at work. I became a fitness instructor; got my 1st degree black belt in Martial Arts; took classes, taught classes; became a dance instructor, traveled, entered the US Opens karate competition and placed second in the world...I was doing, doing and doing. In addition to that, I was also alternating being “Mom” for 7 days with Dad being “Dad” for the next 7 days.
What was also going on “under the hood” while all of these amazing things were happening... my pregnancy numbers would continue to change and not add up. By the time I was 34 years old my pregnancy numbers were 6=1. 6 pregnancies =1living child, and the numbers where changing because I was creating a vicious cycle that started after Donovan’s death. I’d get pregnant, be very excited, think about it, get scared, concerned, worried to knowing that I couldn’t go through that again and then I’d completely reject the entire thing. Then move back into my life as if nothing ever happened.
Reclaiming my breath
Donovan’s death was almost 18 years ago. Joseph is going to be 21 years old in a few days.
Through the years, Joseph has shared very openly his thoughts, feelings and opinions regarding the intensity and changes that took place after his little brothers death. Joseph is now a young man with a tattoo on his arm of a Celtic cross with his little brothers name running through it. For him, Donovan represents something meaningful to him that runs deep. He’s still trying to heal around all of this. Not only did he lose his baby brother, he temporarily lost his mother. Joseph’s world changed completely at 3 years old. Actually, it blew up! He would have preferred that I didn’t leave his dad. Yet, as he gets older and matures, he will have his own insights. He’s on his own journey now to work this out now.
So now I get to say at 43 years old that I want my breath back.
I want to cut through the tape of shame around the intensity that abortion carries with it and stop punishing myself for being human.
I want my breath back. Therefore, I’m reclaiming it now.
I’ve been waiting to exhale since Donovan left and now I am breathing: Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
I am taking my breath back. I’m taking my mind back. I’m taking my truth back.
I am taking ME back.
I’m taking the life I stopped living... I’m taking all that back! I am breathing... inhale exhale inhale exhale ...
so I am alive!
And this is just one story.....