It has taken me fourteen years to put this experience down on paper, to tell the world my whole story, to open-up the deepest, most painful wound imaginable. It won’t be easy, but it is a necessary step on my path to heal, and I hope that it somehow helps others to embody a more fully lived life.
This will be a brief account of the events that occurred 14 years ago when I was just a young 29 year old new mother of a beautiful baby boy.
One sunny day in Costa Rica where we lived, my mother, my baby, and I headed out along the dirt roads to see the doctor because my son had a fever. It was a short twenty minute drive through rural towns to the small clinic, which ended up becoming the road to the hardest, most challenging journey of a lifetime.
Suddenly my car began sliding slightly off the side of the gravel road, so I impulsively turned the steering wheel sharply to the left to try and get us back straight on the road. This somehow caused my 4x4 vehicle to violently roll various times till we landed once again right side up. When I realized what had happened I looked over to see my mother completely unconscious and bleeding, but worse, my son was no longer in the car.
What followed is still hard for me to recall, as I was most likely in shock. I believe the horrible nightmare of the memory has faded as a natural self-protection in order for me to be able to move forward. What I know is that my baby never made it to the hospital, he died of “head injuries” in the ambulance on the way there. What I do remember is a feeling of fear and emotional pain so intense that I screamed hysterically for hours before collapsing in silence on the floor.
That day my spiritual journey began…one that I believe I chose before my birth and time on this earth, but one I would never wish on anyone else. The month’s proceeding my son’s death are warped in time and space. I was in a dark, lingering depression, but spontaneously had brief moments of such lucidity, and even rare glimpses of a strange and profound peace. In hindsight, I had discovered that it is a very fine and vague line between ecstasy and intense pain, and if explored correctly can be used as a bridge to great wisdom and beauty.
I had already been studying Yoga daily for 9 years and I know that without my practice and spiritual relationship with the Divine, I would not have made it through this hardship. I contemplated giving up and ending my life to join my son in the sky, but a quiet voice inside me begged that I continue to live and not give in to the suffering. It was a constant battle to just get out of bed; to eat, to talk, to see others smile, was near torture. I had to use all my strength of will each day to find some sense of acceptance, and eventually understanding to keep living. Luckily the Universe sent me a miracle (that is a whole other blog), and I began to slowly rejoin the world.
The physical loss of a loved one necessarily forces upon us a grieving process that we all must eventually go through, each of us in our own personal way. It has the possibility of guiding us into the deepest places within and may awaken a compassion and open heartedness like no other experience can. I know that some of my best qualities blossomed through this process of healing and I now can see the blessing hidden within the pain.
While I miss my son’s physical presence everyday, I now experience him and his soul’s energy in different manners; subtle expressions of his love surface in ways unimaginable to the untrained, unbelieving eye. I have had to reshape my mind to be able to feel the unseen and to live joyfully with the mysterious, incomprehensible questions that I may never find the answers to. I have learned to seek the light and warmth within during the coldest, darkest times when the sun is completely and utterly obscured from my view. I believe we all have this capacity, and deep down, this desire: to connect with our inner Source of light and sunshine and love. This is exactly what the ancient Yoga tradition has always reminded us of, and is at the heart of all the practices that so many of us participate in day after day.
Let me also say LOUDLY, that it cannot be done alone. Without the love and support of my family and friends I would not be the happy, peaceful human that I am today. And while I certainly still have so much to learn, so much more to let go of, and growth yet to occur…I live more freely and more fully in the knowledge that this finite experience on earth, with all its pain and pleasure, is to be completely embraced and shared joyfully. We must return to love…again and again and again.