i am grateful. i am in awe. i am in love.

Artwork by Shekinah Eliassen

Lars came into this world for three short weeks and taught me to feel and breathe and listen to my heart. Throughout those three weeks, and now, I’ve wanted to put words to my reflections, but sometimes feelings are formless and language isn’t good enough. Here, I try.

I am grateful. I am in awe. I am in love.

I am grateful.

Even when my baby Max has been screaming without end or waking up every hour during the night to drain me of myself. Even when I wonder if I have anything left to give. Even when there are tears and fights and even when I know I have nothing left, I am grateful.

My baby boy’s lungs are in the here and now and he is using them. My baby boy’s hands are grabbing, his lips are sucking, and his feet are kicking. His eyes show his adoring affection and dependent love.

No matter the projects, the dishes, this silly ol’ blog to make myself feel productive. I have been damn productive, producing a human being. Lars, in his quick life, has taught me to slow down. He asked me to bask in Max’s love and laughter and enjoy every minute of it. Because parenthood is crazy. You are literally jumping off a cliff of responsibility; they might throw shit in your face and you have to take it.

I am grateful for today. I am grateful for this moment. I am grateful for Max’s peaceful napping noises.

I am in awe.

Let me tell you about Lars’ mom, Shekinah. She has been my friend for 13 years and I can say that she has always been strong and wise and curious. But these three weeks have deepened her soul, revealing new layers of rock hidden deep in her earthly core. Imagine. Birthing a being and then having the strength to let it go. Imagine. Carrying the courage of a thousand lions to comfort those around you. Imagine. Choosing to see the joy wrapped up in all the hurt. Shekinah is full of light, full of love. I am in awe of this glorious mama.

I am in love.

With the water, the sky, the blank page, the red curtains. It is all so beautiful, all so real. But since my feelings are formless I search to make sense. I search for connection. I search to know that my baby M and baby L are connected. Since words are not my craft I lean on others. At our wedding Ian and I walked into Roaring Brook and we read from Siddhartha:

“Siddhartha listened…He had often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different. He could no longer distinguish the different voices—the merry voice from the weeping voice, the childish voice from the manly voice. They all belonged to each other…they were all interwoven and interlocked, entwined in a thousand ways. And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life…Siddhartha listened attentively to this song of a thousand voices…” ~ Herman Hesse, pp. 110-11

Baby Max’s middle name is River. It connects him to Lars. And when I went to visit Lars in hospice at the George Mark House, I sang him “Listen to the Water,” my new favorite lullaby.

Listen to the water
Listen to the water
Rolling down the river
Rolling down the river

Shekinah couldn’t remember the words after I’d gone, but she adapted it to:

Listen to the water
Listen to the water
It’s calling you back home.

To further deepen the river metaphor, at the top is a piece of artwork made by Shekinah at my baby shower, when she was around 6 months pregnant. I am in love with this river.

Below are images from my sketchbook, as I searched to make sense of Lars’ life.

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