Day 8

I woke up at first light this morning, excited to reach my resting spot – my parent’s place south of Fort Bragg. Today’s walk is the shortest yet (8 miles), but filled with warm receptivity of the world and beings I’m moving through.

So far, this walk has been powered by monumental love – a love so strong it cannot be expressed. It calls me to smile and wave regardless of any superficial judgements – and then those judgements dissolve. It empowers me to take step after step – far beyond what I think I can do. It allows me to hold all the petty fears and irritations of the mind, as well as the unimaginable grief of a mother who’s son has just suicided.

I speak with Kata almost every day. Life’s love for her shines bright, even though she is in no place yet to see it. So dark the pain – so insidious the shame. I think back on my experience of being a sexually abused teen. The shame of enduring what we know “should” not be endured. It doesn’t matter that our shame makes no sense – that we are not at fault. Shame is shame, and it will have its way until we learn control of the mind.

I have been thinking a lot about shame – that which motivated Cedar to his death, and that which tears through his mother with no regard for mercy. “I could have done this, said that, listened more…” These are the natural process of the grieving mind, and every adult I have spoken to about Cedar shares them to some degree. But this morning I had a different response.

In our culture, for as far back as I know of, most any possible distortion has been made to place blame on the mother. I was once told that I was not being considered as an adoptive placement due to the arrest record of my children’s father for a child safety violation that he had been cleared of. When I pointed out that I had nothing to do with the charge, I was informed that, “We always record these cases under the name of the mother.”

This was in Ukiah, just 12 years ago!!

If a child behaves harmfully in any way, it is frequently assumed that bad parenting – particularly mothering – was at fault. I get it. We mothers do influence our children’s lives. But being the mother of 3 now adolescent boys, who are very clearly asserting their independence from me, I object. I am offended. I refuse to be ashamed for the actions and feelings of others who I do not control. I acknowledge that I, like everyone else, am doing the best I can.

Many years ago I found great solace in the Healing the Loss of an Unborn Child ceremony at the Women’s Herbal Symposium. I want to see a group at Symposium to honor and attend to the needs of mothers who are grieving the loss of a born child, or that the two groups merge into Healing the Loss of a Child, in general.