Carmel, California, USA.
I sit on my bed. It is the bed in the guest room of my friends Ernst and Gretchen. They live in a cute house in Carmel, California. Carmel is a bit of a snobby town with a lot of wealthy retired people, boutiques, art galleries with unadventurous art, fresh air, fancy pastry shops and beautiful scenery. The neighborhood where this house is built is warm, cozy and welcoming.
One month ago Ernst and Gretchen unexpectedly lost their beautiful baby boy Sam. The cause of death had a name. It is called SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It happens to babies between 0 and 1 year old and the symptoms are that there are no symptoms. An autopsy will not reveal a probable cause of death: a perfect little child just leaves the realm of the living again, just like that.
I arrived on Sunday. Ernst and Gretchen had spent some time together on Maui and had come back that morning. The next day would be Ernst’s first day of going back to work. Everybody knew it would be a raw week. I came with an intention of just being available. I had no idea if I would be able to offer something. I didn’t want to be an intruder. It is kind of a big deal to take a guest in your house during the first days of ‘normal life’ after such a loss. At the same time I think we all had a sense of destiny: our paths crossed at this particular point in time and we are letting it happen. Maybe, just maybe there is something I can contribute around consciously choosing a healing path.
Yesterday I gently lured Gretchen into a healing session with pretty powerful results. It seems astonishing to find out that we can quite easily move from a place of overwhelming sadness to a place of inner peace. But it is not so strange. The sadness is fueled by not wanting to accept what is but also by a deep love for what seems to be lost. But the love is still there. Since the love is an ever-present and vast ocean it facilitates an inner stillness. I taught her how she can use the exercise as a tool to reconnect in desperate moments. Later I wrote a post and took a Skype call
This morning I spoke to a friend of Gretchen who is afraid to fall apart when she faces her girlfriend. She struggles with how she feels she should be around her mourning friend and fears she cannot live up to her self imposed expectations of being composed and uplifting. I offered to help her meeting her friend. She gratefully accepted. I went back to Gretchen and told her the outcome and she looked relieved too. I would meet with Gretchen later in the afternoon and went back to town to do some work.
So I felt quite a little healer. I could see myself biking around on Ernst’s mountain bike, facilitating relief and expansion everywhere I sat down. When I came back to the house I did my meditation and chanted my prayers in Sam’s room. It felt powerful, it felt good and it felt vulnerable.
As I sat outside in the sun waiting for Gretchen to come home I felt pretty serene and ready for the next session. But when she comes in she excuses herself and I can see she has had a very difficult afternoon. She retreats to her room. And for the first time that I am here I feel completely and utterly powerless. I realize that not a million well-meant meditation sessions can bring their little boy back.
And now I sit on my bed. I feel ashamed, defeated, humbled, insecure and terribly sad. Tears are rolling over my cheeks and deep down I want to sob uncontrollably but it feels inappropriate with Sam’s mom in the next room. I feel that it is good to at least get a taste of what they must be going through.
Just as I look at what I wrote and feel all stuck about where to go I realize that Sam is the little healer, taking all of us on this roller coaster through the rawest places in our hearts. And all of a sudden I know what the title of this post has to be.
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