Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Magic Love Bus, purple silk robes, and tears in the wind

"Big girl as she was, 
Laura spread her arms wide to the wind and ran against it. 
She flung herself on the flowery grass and rolled like a colt. 
She lay in the soft, sweet grasses and looked at the great blueness above her 
and the high, pearly clouds sailing in it. 
She was so happy that tears came to her eyes." 

-Laura Ingalls Wilder

It started as a simple walk with Auz, my 90 pound Australian Shepherd, and Frances, my 30 pound rescue dog from Grants, New Mexico. 

All week long, I've felt the grief edging upward, through my innards, heavy- like concrete- filling my lungs, tears stuck like gum in my throat and bubbling up, spilling over into the world.  It's been a month of challenges. Her senior prom. Her upcoming 18th birthday. Her graduation. Tonight.

But dead children don't graduate from high school.  

I'll never see her walk that stage. I'll never walk with her to her dorm room.  I'll never walk her down the aisle. I'll never walk into her arms on this Earth, in this place, in that way.

And, I never walked her to kindergarten. 

So, tonight, I walked the dogs. Around the neighborhood. And the neighborhood kicked my ass. 

It started here. There it was, the Magic Love Bus. Lovolution and peace and sunshine and flowers and all things 60s. 

I smiled.  

"She'd be a neo-hippie," I thought.

And that single thought, combined with the nearly-18-year-old "big girls", spreading their  purple regalia arms wide in celebration, donning gowns and caps full of pomp and circumstance was more than I could take this beautiful senior graduation evening.

The wind blew against my cheeks as I closed my eyes and felt the well of tears overflow. I let them come. I spoke to her in my heart, "I'm so sorry my precious girl. You missed so much of life, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. I miss you so much." 

The wind blew harder and I pressed against it, slowly, eyes still closed, my tears flying into the wind. The once-dormant grief awakened and took its form, and took my breath, and I bathed in its presence. She, simply, is worth all of this...

She would have laid in soft grasses in awe of the great blueness and pearly clouds above her. Just like her mom. She'd have been so happy that tears would have come to her eyes. Just like her mom.

And she would have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

Just like her mom.

A simple walk. And so much more.


Those looking for the posts on the DSM-5's proposed changes and my vociferous responses:

Related blogs in order order of occurrence:

First DSM blog that went viral
Open letter to the APA opposing the changes
My personal experience with a psychologist pushing medications in acute grief in 1994
Our second letter to the APA in response to them
My most recent frustrations from the perspective of grieving mothers facing Mother's Day 2012


Anonymous said...

Joanne, so poignant, I have no words of my own just ((tears)). Thank you for sharing.
~Peace and love~

still life angie said...

Oh, honey, this is so beautiful. I teared up reading this, because those walks, when the neighborhood kicks your ass, I know them well. I picture Lucia as a little gypsy girl with long curls and dark eyes wearing jewels and necklaces. I know nothing about her except everything that my children could be. And that is so amazing. Love you. xo

~ M ~ said...

I hope I can still express so openly, so vividly my grief and love for my son 17 years down the road. Your words are perfect. Perfectly fitting, understanding, captivating. Thank you for always sharing your grief....even 18 years later.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your pain with others. You are giving so many the chance to embrace theirs.

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

Thank you for reading... <3

Mary Friedel-Hunt said...

Breathtaking. Thank you for sharing this and for all you do.

anna lisa said...

thank you. thank you.

mel said...

A beautifully written post - that although I sense your sadness and grief has a strangely reassuring affect on me.

My worst fear is that I will forget - and when I read that you still remember what could have been 18 years on it is reassuring.

I wish none of us felt this pain, but in equal measure I wish us all to remember.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing your moments with Cheyenne. I now see how I could have the same with my Scarlett as the years go by.


Fran Dorf (THE BRUISED MUSE) said...

This is a beauty, Joanne.


The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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