….. but through the body

Absolutely there is body memory.

My body conducts my tears, screens vivid visual memories in the theater of my brain, builds rituals on the anniversaries of the boys’ deaths, births, due dates, memorial dates (endless dates).

I am reminded of the pain leading up to Tiger’s death around my period. When the same adhesion pain is pronounced, I am thrown back emotionally to all the feelings around his death. It begins in the body.

I believe in the power of motion, the wisdom of gravity, the emptiness of true love, (and) the fact that there is no way out but through the body.”                             -Gabrielle Roth
Occasionally I’ll be dancing and my body will move a certain way- that connects somehow with my uterus and heart maybe- and suddenly tears are streaming down my face. My body was theirs, theirs were mine in this intensely synchronized way…. our bodies remember in a deeper way than our brains can.

“Your mind can deceive you and put all kinds of barriers between you and your nature; but your body does not lie. Your body tells you, if you attend to it, how your life is and whether you are living from your soul or from the labyrinths of your negativity. The body has a wonderful intelligence. – John O’Donahue

Because it isn’t from our consciousness, it is especially jarring and dense. It seems to produce longing and grief from- not just a visual memory or verbal memory- but from all memories, from all worlds at once that have been effected by the loss of my sons. It’s beyond the Grand Canyon- the depth and intensity…. it can’t be taken in all at once and yet somehow we do, we mothers. We have no choice really… it is all in there, of, connected.

It is my body that takes me back to moments, before Tiger was born, when I just sat with him. It is my body that dances with Will as a young man, strong and calm and steady. It is my body that didn’t hold out, hold on, contain, protect. It is my body that ages and misses and wishes it could safely carry a child again.

It is all written in the body.

Bitter sweet home.


The memories would slam against me like the waves of an incoming tide, sweeping my body along to some strange new place – a place where I lived with the dead. There Naoko lived, and I could speak with her and hold her in my arms. Death in that place was not a decisive element that brought life to an end. There, death was but one of many elements comprising life. There Naoko lived with death inside her. And to me she said, “Don’t worry, it’s only death. Don’t let it bother you.”

I felt no sadness in that strange place. Death was death, and Naoko was Naoko. “What’s the problem?” she asked me with a bashful smile, “I’m here, aren’t I?”…”If this is death,” I thought to myself, “then death is not so bad.” “It’s true, “ said Naoko, “death is nothing much. It’s just death…”

Eventually, though, the tide would pull back, and I would be left on the beach alone….sadness itself would envelop me in deep darkness until the tears came. I felt less that I was crying than that the tears were simply oozing out of me like perspiration.

I had learned one thing from Kizuki’s death, and I believed that I had made it a part of myself in the form of a philosophy: “Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life.”

By living our lives, we nurture death. True as this might be, it was only one of the truths we had to learn. What I learned from Naoko’s death was this: no truth can cure the sadness we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness, can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see that sadness through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be (little) help in facing the next sadness that comes to us without warning.

Haruki Murakami Norwegian Wood