Home now, I felt like a little girl who’d been sent into the woods to live in the forest. I didn’t know what to do with myself. All my drive, sparkle, my Joie de Vivre - it was all gone. Everything around me, as familiar as it was, was truly different. Nothing held the same value. Where I could normally look to ignite inspiration I found emptiness. My projects, my offerings to the world, suddenly felt irrelevant. To me, I had been let down, and let my lover and child down in a most important area of life, were my gifts actually useful after that?? Where I would look to connect and offer inspiration, I found it was me that had nothing to give. Where I’d enjoy comfort and indulgences I found more emptiness - lifeless energy. Even though I was in a proverbial forest with life all around me - I felt nothing. Maybe you’ve been there before?
Where Mr. B & I lived we didn’t know too many people that well yet. So it really was a little girl in the forest - lost. I remembered I needed to eat, to sleep, to shower - but all the bubbles and joy I’d been so used to having access to were gone. As luck would have it, I was used to living life in color. I was grateful for that too. I knew others who were not so lucky. Now everything was grey. Where’d the color go? Did it disappear? Was it taken away I asked in a little girl voice no one else heard but me? My whole inner world was unfamiliar. My identity had been swiped. Looking back now four years later, I’m kinda glad. Would I choose to do it again? Hell NO. But, this is my life, my story to embrace. Having my identity swiped from my spirit, so to speak, offered me a kind of freedom I needed to get past my personal limits.
Mr. Brady was up in Northern Canada for about a month and a half yet. Those days just drifted by. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was okay to just let myself float. I cocooned in my foreign new land because I didn’t know what else to do. In a land where nothing was familiar, not even my self, in a world where I was on my own, floating seemed like the kindest option. I smile sweetly at the thought of everyone being given the gift of time when transitions and upheavals reach the shores of our lives. I was grateful I could take that time for myself. I was grateful for our savings, our lifestyle. Plus, Mr.B teaches survival and bushcraft and he’s always simple in his approach to life - if you don’t know where you are - STOP and take the time to gather yourself. Screw life pressures when the light of your spirit is on the brink of burning out.
Reminder to me and to you - if you suspect someone you care about is cocooning and suffering - break into their cocoon. Go and hold them, or bring them tea, or watch movies with them. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Simple is love. Simple.
Every now and again I would make a decision. Decisions were very helpful actually - any decision. They geared up my brain and offered me a shot of clarity and purpose - small moves were my ally. Remember that love. Decisions, even small ones, are your friend when emptiness hits.
Let’s address the elephant. Something I’m sure many people have thought is “why doesn’t she just do IVF (in vitro fertilization..or test tube babies)?” I have strong values around trusting nature. Of course, never did I think I would be in a position to have to consider IVF. First off, I had and still have a hard time swallowing making babies with such measures when there are so many kiddos who have no parents - no family. Secondly, success in I.V.F is under %50. There’s a lot of needles, much meddling with the body, big expenses, and big chances to be taken. Thirdly and most shitty of all, choosing to do I.V.F meant I would have to have yet another surgery to remove my remaining fallopian tube in order to remove the risk of another ectopic pregnancy. Feels like life is just not on my side. Sure I could be positive about this, but I'm not, so get over yourself. My pull in life has always been to be a mother and make a difference. I could not think to spend so much of my heart and mind in working to conceive after three and a half years already because, that would mean the difference I wanted to make in the world - what Mr. Brady and I had been working so fruitfully on prior to this trauma - would have to take a back seat. Plus to be honest, I can’t imagine having to go through that kind of loss again. My dear heart broke in so many ways. That means I’m wavering on three of my strongest values: Not meddling with nature, ignoring the lives of all those parentless kiddos, and putting my life’s mission on hold. Ouch. That was something I just couldn’t swallow, and trust me, I tried - I tried in all kinds of ways. I’d made an appointment with the top specialist on I.V.F and one of my besties came over to Vancouver, the one who’s “good with the dark,” to go with me. That was special. To her maybe a given, but to me - deeply appreciated. I prepped. I painted my nails bright pink, I got dressed up, I breathed deep and let myself envision different choices and different possibilities. My girl, also an unwavering in her values kinda gal, was as supportive as ever. Also I recognize, values gotta evolve! Four years later though and my heart still speaks the same message. No I.V.F. My ovaries are stellar, my uterus A plus …but no to IVF.
Not doing I.V.F has been one of the hardest choices I’ve had to make. Especially since I know my lover would have considered it. Don’t get me wrong, this journey of losing my fertility and our only babe never has been, and I suspect never will be easy. Not even neutral. I’m aware of not having a family of our own every. single. day. Even though this man of mine, crisp and clear on what he wants and what he’s willing to do for it, was honest about how he felt (that he would do whatever he had to for our own family) - he was first and foremost supportive of my choice. He’s got some sexy ass qualities this guy I married (lots of annoying ones too to balance it all out). Listen, I’m fully aware that I could easily put my values aside and do whatever it took to get pregnant with I.V.F and - I’d seen the consequences of people ignoring their values for 6 years as a professional, and I know the consequences are not worth it. Ignore your values and that shit will haunt you. Even today this topic pulls at my heart strings like a tiny violin (just a small one though). Being parents and having our own kids was just about everything to B and I. Because of my choice we’ve had to reinvent our purpose together, and our missions and plans. We’ve had to face hurts and fears as a couple and as individuals, that would have remained dormant had we just gone ahead and done I.V.F. I was a bunch younger then too and the chances of success were higher. But thus far, this is us. Still a team. Not always as strong as we once were, yet in many many ways, we’re impenetrable now.
Let’s move on shall we. Time, as it does, started nudging me with its toes - Brady was coming home soon. With that idea, some semblance of structure began growing in my mind. I was inspired to make his coming home as full of love as possible. I certainly had no idea what could come after that. But love I could do. He chose to come home on the train. On the train, Mr. Brady could watch the prairies roll by. He could just sit back after a long hard winter and rest in wonder at the rocky mountains. He could sleep in quiet and rest in contemplation - for his life too was very different now. The sweetness of our hearts is, Dad had a stuffy with him. The stuffy that held our babe's ashes accompanied Brady on his train ride home. One of the things we discovered in this was the huggable urn. He shared the ride with his babe in spirit. It warmed him. The day arrived when I was to drive into the farmland of the valley to fetch my guy. I still remember the warm sunny day, the acres of farmland, and his smile. There was my husband, holding Teddy, smiling his usual broad smile, arms open waiting for me to jump into them. We shared tears. Tears of relief, sadness, shock, and joy too. Here we were, still there for each other. Honestly, we both didn’t know what it would be like to see each other again. We were different. Our love was different. Life can change you. It’s OK. The rocks don’t complain about being molded by the running water - and, we would do our best to remain timeless as the rocks yet, patient and consistent like the water. We sure have had our go at making an epic story Mr. Brady and I. Ups, downs, zigzags, chases, climbs, celebrations and wins. What mattered now, was we were all together, and it was time to let the sun come up and guide us into a new day.
I didn’t choose IVF, but I sure as shit was going to do everything I could for even the mere hint of a miracle. We had a car fund. A load of cash in the bank set aside to buy our next vehicle. We used it for my body. The ectopic and the surgery left me with a bunch of scar tissue and mobility issues. My hormones were off, my iron low from the internal bleeding and the stress. My heart was still a mess of shattered pieces and our relationship was a scary blank slate. I said Mr. Brady was beautiful right? I chose a Naturopath for fertility, hired an awesome sauce pilates instructor, did acupuncture, checked in with my old mentor, deleted all grains, sugar and legumes from my diet, had my amazing aunt who’s a holistic nutritionist (Tanya Sullivan) write me up a food as medicine plan, did rectal ozone (yeah I said it), had a boatload of supplements and did a ton of emotional work for my heart, my sanity and my relationship.
This guy of mine is a clever man. EVERY specialist I went to Brady had already researched and calculated a plan for me first. The specialists always ended up simply validating what lover boy had discovered. So, needless to say, B & I gathered a plan. Floating in Lala land for a while after major life changes are to be expected. It’s a time for healing and reorganizing the head and heart. And, all things must come to an end. Every ending deserves a new beginning. Besides, shits always gonna change anyway - so B and I did what B and I do best, we dreamed up a year of healing. LOL, no dreamy traveling or 5-year plan - healing. We needed it. What do you need in this current season of your life?
Let me tell you about who Brady Patterson is. Now I trust you’ve heard that these dear men in our lives really just want to help us and solve all of our problems. Sometimes it’s really annoying right (especially since most of us are a bit f’ed up and our methods of loving are often ass-backward)!? But sometimes, the magic of men is exactly what we need as women. Brady joined Pilates with me so we could go together and learn, strengthen and play. He too removed all sugar, dairy, grains, and legumes from his diet. He researched any hack he could find to help my body, encouraged me to take time for me, & served me like a respected queen. He held me when I couldn’t bear the guilt of losing our babe and not bearing him kiddos and walked me through plenty a process to help me literally change my mind and enter my next life game. If you’re feeling me, listen a moment more while I share with you one particular TRANSFORMATIONAL moment from this chapter of our story. “Rise Up”. It’s a bit about why tough love is a crucial component of thriving.
It was early spring and because of all the new scar tissue (and let’s face it, fear and grief I just couldn’t digest), my back was constantly seizing on me. It. Was. Excruciating. Never had I felt that disempowered in my body, that weak. I was immobilized by the fear of losing even more of my sense of freedom. When my back went out, I couldn’t move without brutal unapologetic pain. Every time it happened Brady would have to do a count to three and pull me out of the freeze as I screamed. This one day, there I was again, on the floor, trying to withhold crying from the fear of losing more of myself. I hated crying from feeling weak. I hated feeling weak. I was always fit and independent. Mr. Brady came running in - looked at me with love in his eyes and stood up straight. I. Was. Desperate. By this time my silly sense of pride had shattered and I was a blubbering expression of true vulnerability. I said to him in a voice controlling panic “why aren’t you moving. Please help me!!!” This is what I heard.
First I heard Brady breath deep and steady himself; then I heard this - "Jamie, you have to get through this at some point. It’s going to be now. I believe in you”. I freaked. I didn’t believe in me anymore! “No no no no no I can’t. I can’t I’m telling you. Seriously. I actually can’t Brady please.” I truly madly deeply believed with all my convictions I couldn’t get up. I’d never felt that way before that moment. Not consciously anyways. Have you ever “fallen” in life and felt that you truly could not get up? Did you get up? You could still now you know. Brady stood before me, breathing, steadfast. “Jamie. You have to. At some point you have to face this. You have to and you CAN move through the pain (I knew he was talking about my emotional pain more than anything). It’s going to be now.” I cried. I know Brady. I know when he makes his mind up, nothing is stopping him. I knew he wouldn’t help. Not the way I wanted anyway. The pain was so great I couldn’t stay stuck to the floor and wait - it was get up or be left there in holy terror and excruciating pain. I GOT UP. I rose on my own, through the pain and the fear. I used my own strength that I didn’t know I had and I rose up. Brady was right. He believed in me when I didn’t. If I could only get across to you how incredibly impactful that one moment has been in my life since then, you’d need a drink just to process it. Now, we’re here to believe in you. That’s what you do when you love someone. You believe in each other in those times you forget what you are - a capable sacred child of the universe.
That moment, till this day has empowered me in a way I never knew existed. You see, humans have limits. Of course most of them we only think are limits. We’re really quite good, as you may know…wink wink, at bullshitting each other - and ourselves. Once in a while a special human will come along and believe in you even when you refuse to believe in yourself. How do you recognize them when they come along? You’ll fight them. You’ll notice you’re fighting their optimism, their unwavering judgment, and their apparent lack of empathy. These special people are the ones that will love you even if loving you makes you reject them. At the risk of rejection, these special humans will fight for you. That’s how much they care. Mr. Brady is one of those people. Lucky for me I recognized his love instead of pitying myself. Luckily for me, I saw him leaving me to get up on my own as a belief in magic, his unwavering judgment that I could as his unending commitment to believe in me, and I saw his apparent lack of empathy as a doorway to freedom from my limiting beliefs. Because Mr. Brady chose courage - to stand before me unwavering in his instinct and fully open in his heart, I met a new level of freedom. I was in the darkness, there was no doubting that, but love, was far far more powerful than I realized. So were my flesh and bones.
I got to know many new faces of freedom that first 8 months after I sent our babe to God. Just like I had always been fit and independent, I was also always a kinda lighthouse so to speak. I was the kinda girl to throw out magical confetti wherever I went. I was firm and fiery but wanted to leave the feeling of hope and rainbows in my wake. Ha, I probably imagined being Snow White in a forest of singing birds as an ideal profession growing up. Well, Snow White was darkened. My inner Disney character had turned grey with sorrow and heavy with broken dreams. I isolated. That stupid saying echoed in the back of my mind “if you have nothing good to say don’t say anything at all”, so I shut up. I shut down. I was lost and didn’t know that my hurt, my pain, my grey had it’s place in the world just as much as my magic inner Disney girl did too. Perhaps, for some reason, we think grey is a disease that needs to be quarantined. Maybe, and I’ve said this before, we think we’re only good enough for company if we’re shiny and bubbly. Read this next bit as though I’m talking to you next time you’re in the grey heavy clouds of life;
I was walking with a friend one day. She’s stellar. She’s got an attitude and kick-ass skill as a healer. She’s tough, playful, real and leaders go to her because she offers a no BS approach. One misty summer evening I was walking with her through pathways of green amidst the sound of cars from the highway just over our shoulders. We were talking about what it means to bounce back, to rise up, to come back from a tragedy. I pointed out how I isolate because I have nothing joyful to bring to the table. Without even knowing what the heck I was saying I said “one day when I get me back”…one day when I get me back??? What the fuck does that mean??? So, of course, she asks me. “What does that even mean? How will you know you have you back? So you’re gonna cocoon until …?” I explained how grey I am. I don’t have my sparkle to share. My light is out. She stopped dead in her tracks, all relaxed like and says “you know even now you’re a pleasure to be around right? What people like about you is that you’re you, no matter what. You’re real. YOU are your light. Not the other way around.” Oh. I thought. Well, holy “give a dog a bone can I actually still be loved even in shades of grey” I hadn’t thought about it that way. I, YOU, can still be loved, adored, appreciated AND valuable to your loved ones, community, and the world, even when you’re hurting. So bring you. Bring ALL of you. You’ll discover who is worth keeping around in your world pretty quick when you do. Consider that a gift. A big big gift. Another face of freedom so to speak.
So what does this really mean then? How can you and I practically apply this lesson? It means that we can give up our addiction to light. It means we can offer up our compulsion to be good, to be bright, to be joyful - to God. It means we can trust that however we find ourselves in this continuously transforming life, we’re in the perfect position to meet, understand and cherish more of our wholly divine selves.
I discovered how lucky I am even when I’m not a light sparkly bubbly bottle of rainbows. Even still I discovered, the universe had my back. I was gonna show my gratitude for that. I was determined to RISE. Now I knew I could. Now I knew there was no going back, or becoming who I once was, or waiting until who knows what to unleash my imagination again. I had some precious friends offer to grow a baby for me, I had a dear friend with loving seriousness tell me her baby was my baby, I had loving mirrors for my worth, a brave hearted man as a guide, and money and time for support. I was 8 months past that holy goodbye and I was feeling strong, limber, fit, clean in my body and full in my heart. My husband and I had agreed on one full year off and I was using that time as wisely as I knew too. If you don’t have that kind of support right now starlight, I believe you can one day. You do have to find a way to believe though. You have to find a way to remember that it can be good in life. You have to be willing to go inside to the dark dusty rooms of the castle in your heart. And no, it likely won’t be easy. I love you.
I had a newfound pride. Not that false pride bullshit I used to use to keep my sense of worth intact, but a loving deserving I fought for it kinda pride. I was as proud of myself for choosing hope as I was of my unborn one for existing in the first place. I got burned, it hurt - badly and, I didn’t let that stop me from getting close to the fire again. I got stronger, braver, wiser and more resilient. I stepped with purpose back into the fire. I accepted that I was a mother still. I released my child from my expectations, hopes, and illusions. And as my ashes flew into the air and fell to the ground - I Rose. I rose with a scarred up belly. I rose with tears streaming down my face. I rose proud. I rose scared. I rose open. I rose. And that was just the beginning of my more intimate relationship with freedom.
When Heaven & Earth Collide