As always, I apologize for my absence. One thing keeping my fingers busy is the creation of these grief & gratitude malas. The following is the letter I enclose when I send out the mala that I’ve crafted specially in recognition of the rite-of-passage of miscarriage. I post it in the absence of anything else to post, and in the case it randomly reaches anyone it needs to touch. This mala project (beading, letter, stone research, etc.) is a work-in-progress and posted with a tequila drink in hand. So please excuse the errors.
There are no words that can rightfully honor your loss. I/we know because I/we are among the countless quiet women who have suffered the same silent sobs, rocking themselves over the same empty belly, feeling the same hollow self. She who you used-to-be, as far away as the moon.
Not that you’ve looked up for her. The loss of a child, no matter how small, is the most downward, inward, and lonely, of all journeys. And exclusive to woman- and motherhood. On that matter, let there be no mistake: Your body has conceived and nourished. Your blood is inundated with maternal hormones (and will still be yet for weeks to come). Your brain has softened and neurologically attuned with the sharpened instincts of mother bear. Is there any wonder you feel simultaneously fierce and lost and primal and injured and wild? If it is any consolation, you might never again in your life feel so human. And if there is any opportunity in this one, it is to feel the collective heart of womanhood reaching out to cradle yours.
“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” – Rumi
The only advice that offered me a true hand through my losses were these two reminders: Feel the pain. Cry the tears. In the cavity of loss, your pain is your chisel, and your tears are diamonds. The labor of grief may bury you. Your pain may be the sole remainder of your humanness. So grow it. Shed through it. Surface from it. And cry diamond tears all along the way. Howl if you feel inclined. For there is nothing as satisfying to your woman bones as the vibration of your mourning song.
“Grief is a form of praise of life. You’ve got to love the thing you lost, just like you’ve got to love the thing you’ve got. When you’re grieving the thing you lost, that’s called praise. And when you’re praising the thing you lost, that’s called grief.” – Martín Prechtel
I have come to call the enclosed strand of beads a Grief & Gratitude Mala. Mala (ma-la) in Sanskrit roughly translates to “garland from above,” or “heavenly garland” and in this form it is meant to mark your motherhood and loss rite-of-passage. The strand includes a sacred-number of 108 semi-precious stones, each researched and selected in intimate knowledge of the trauma of miscarriage and the healing journey (of mind, body and spirit) ahead. The mala can function as prayer beads should a particular mantra (a word, sound, hymn, quote, reminder, prayer or poem that conjures up a sense of peace) find its way to your heart. You may also meditate on any particular stone as each has a specific healing resonance (which you can reference in the enclosed storyboard/map of your mala). In one sense, it is sad that I have already made so many of these malas. In another, know that there exists a tribe of women, to which you belong, who have suffered and survived similarly and wear this same mala in recognition of the shared scar. I hope you will feel the hands of your sisters, mothers, and female ancestors when you hold and wear this mala.
“…Carry grief in one hand, gratitude in the other and be stretched large by them…” – Francis Weller
Trust your body. And trust that little elusive spirit with whom you shared your body and life. Both have great common (all-knowing) sense that we merely-human beings tend to under- and over think. There are some mysteries for which there are no keys. I also cannot emphasize enough the importance of being gentle on yourself. (And gentle on your partner, for whom it is physically impossible to empathize.) Women love shame, but it serves no purpose here. Let it go, with your tears. Take space, and more space. When you are ready for the slow climb of recovery, I found that there was great healing in the first morning rays of sun and the detoxing and rejuvenating effects of getting my hands in the earth/dirt. Sister, I am incredibly sad for the immediate shock and pain of what you’re going through right now. As much as the loss crushed me, it’s also part of my story, and so I do not regret or wish to live without it. So my ultimate advice is to let your loss be a part of you.
One of many holding your hand,
*Disclaimer: I am a geologist and beader only by hobby and inspiration.