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  • Writer's pictureeschaden


If you are present for your life, if you are here doing the deal, engaging with others, you will have many occasions to see them, to witness their lives unfold.  If you are really lucky, you will get selected, called up into action to assist in the recovery, another person’s journey towards healing and peace.  I have been that lucky, several times.  Divinely invited into the interior of another woman’s inner life.  Her pain, her dis-ease, her trauma, her grief, her wounds.  And I am invited in soley because she sees something in me that she believes might help her heal.  A very high honor indeed.

I have been called up in this fashion many times.  Sometimes the road she and I travel is long, sometimes it is shorter.  Sometimes we both heal and move forward, sometimes, only I do.  Or at least that is the conclusion drawn at the time.  Our lives intersect for the briefest of moments...and then they diverge once more.

On Monday, a woman whose life and mine have been connected for a number of years to engage once more.  She continuing to work on her healing journey, and me on mine.  She is a changed woman from the desperately addicted and emaciated girl/woman who appeared before me.  I have no idea what I said the day she asked me to become a part of her journey, I just know that she came to me and invited me into her life.  And it was a very messy life.  And it didn’t clean up all that well for some time.  In fact, it got messier.  And she relapsed a great number of times bringing with it further trauma and angst and pain into her life.  It was not easy to watch.  It was not easy to witness, to stand helplessly by watching this wonderful person destroy herself.  Some days all I had to offer was the love I felt for her, that on any given day, she often could not feel because the level of hate she had for who she was surpassed all the love I could ever muster.  That is how it is with addicts, our hate and loathing for ourselves often out shines any and all loving light shone our way.  And it is there we perish in a darkness of our own making.

But this woman she found her own light.  And somehow, someway, with absolute Divine intervention began to recover.  And while at first, her health looked as though it would fail her permanently, lived to see the other side of a brain tumor and disease.  She emerged stronger, more resolute and she thrived.

This woman’s one desire, her mission in this life was not for a partner or a big career or worldly possessions, she had two things in this life she wanted (other than a sober life)...a dog and a child.  The dog came relatively easy...of course she adopted one who was ill and had an illness that would require maintenance.  That is the only choice someone like her would pick.  The sick, the injured, the wounded...

The child did not come easy.  Years of a very awful eating disorder and rampant drug use and abuse left her body in shambles.  Finally getting and maintaining sobriety, her health deteriorated with a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease which felt like it was a final blow.  But she rallied.  She hung in there and waded through the myriad of doctor’s appointments, tests, surgeries and the like.  And she was richly rewarded for her efforts...she persevered and she recovered.

In the aftermath of the many and varied health hurdles, she arrived to the other side, healthy, well and her addictions under some sort of control.  She was eating.  She was not abusing drugs or alcohol or food.  She became a healthy version of herself for the first time in her life really.

And so with dog in tow, she began the journey towards motherhood.  And it was not an easy road.  She was filled with such hope which was dashed to smithereens often.  But in struggling to survive herself and her addictions, she learned that the good things in life are often buried underneath heaps of sadness and heartbreak and she learned that the effort expended needs to often be immense.  And she brought all the things she learned to her latest endeavor: motherhood.

And motherhood starts before you ever become pregnant in my opinion.  It is an altering of perspective.  You go from a person who thinks of herself and takes care of herself to altering herself so that this most wonderful miracle of bringing new life in the world can happen.  And so she began.

And it was perhaps the hardest path she could take. Her body wrecked from years of disordered and addictive eating, druging and drinking.  And she was told, several times, by many different people, that this was probably not going to happen.  She was told that she was not strong enough to do this alone.  There were many barriers: financial, mental, physical and emotional.  Most people would have given up. Not her.  She wanted to be a mom more than anything else in this world, save being sober.  And she put that whole sobriety thing first, and so motherhood became possible.

She did all the things: eating, working out, allowing herself to gain weight, therapy, EMDR, wrote a book, showed up for her family, friends, worked.  She did all the things.

And then one day, about 12 weeks ago, she got the call.  She was pregnant!  And there was much rejoicing...even with a few naysayers.  We celebrated, we cried and we thanked God for this most amazing miracle.  And then we prayed some more for a positive outcome.

On Monday, I was invited to FaceTime into her gender reveal.  Her whole family there, and me.  I was honored to be there.  I was so happy to be there for this landmark occasion in this woman’s life.  She pregnant and beaming.  Having overcome so fucking much in this life.  The hardest of which was her own self and her solutions for dealing with pain in this life.  And I watched her.  The way her face shown with a glow that only the happily pregnant can.  I watched the excitement of her sister and family.  I watched her niece, the one who gave her a reason to live, the one who helped her out of the blackness with her arrival here on earth, I watched that little girl participate in the excitement over the anticipated arrival of a cousin.

And then with amazement and a joy I haven’t felt in some time, I watched the pink spray color the air.  It was windy in Connecticut so it was there with a flash and then gone.  But it was there...the pink announcement of a new girl that will roam this earth with us.  We all started crying.  Maya being OVERJOYED she will have a girl cousin, because she wanted a sister but received a brother instead...

It was hard to walk because I was crying so hard.  Tears of absolute joy:  for this woman and her family, for all the healing that had to happen to get to that moment, for all the recovery for all involved, for the life I get to lead, for the life she gets to lead, for the motherhood journey being in process for her, for the long talks, and walks and hours we have spent becoming intertwined in each other’s lives.  For the absolute joy this occasion brought to all concerned...

I have watched this woman walk through every single horrible, awful thing that can happen to a woman in this life.  I have watched her waste away in front of my eyes.  I have watched while she desperately sought help and refuge, and I have watched her walk away from all sources of help and die another day.  I have seen her living in her car, and I have seen her living the dream.  But the other day, I, perhaps for the very first time, saw her living.  Really fucking living.  Chasing her dreams and being unabashedly unafraid to take on the most monumental task after getting sober and clean: motherhood.

She is going to be the best mom.  And she knows all the things NOT to do.  She will be an excellent mother to a daughter.  She will because she knows, painfully and excruciatingly what it is like to be female in this world...and all its perils and traps and pitfalls and unfair demands that fall only on the head of us so engendered.

After I hung up, I stopped for a moment and I looked around.  I was in this beautiful park, surrounded by trees and birds and deer, and rabbits.  The park was teeming with life.  My life.  And I felt the presence of God, gently, lovingly, showing me one more time, miracles are all around us and every single person that walks this earth, every being has its own unique experience with pain and joy.  And we all must survive not only each other but ourselves and it is an arduous task this whole living business.

But sometimes, if you are really here, present for all the life you get to live, you get to have a moment like I did that day where someone you love with your whole heart, who loves you back with the same kind of heart, something absolutely miraculous and wonderful happens to them and you get to be there.  You get to be present for it.  You get to experience that sympathetic joy that very quietly affirms that life is indeed worth living, and that every ounce of pain is measured and balanced with copious amounts of joy.  


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