Over the last few months I have spent some of my quiet moments in guided meditation to let openness in. Openness in rekindling friendships that I have let lapse, openness in the possibility that my body is able to carry a baby to full term, openness to spending time with women who are ripe with belly, openness that I can and will be a good mother, someday, somehow and that no matter what happens in my life, I will be okay.
I have been amazed at how this meditation, support networks, sunshine, along with time and energy spent grieving and creating in the face of loss and has led me to this point. Right now, I feel pretty good.
I am proud that I have helped create an art show where women, men and families have come to share their stories of loss with mine. Throughout this whole experience I asked myself what I was looking for during this time of loss, reflection and creation. I was looking for many things, but one aspect of my journey has always been that I wanted the opportunity to tell my story and for others to tell theirs. I wanted people to listen to and look at the stories. Not analyze, give advice, provide a sense of false hope, or minimize the pain that is and was- just listen, look and empathize.To some, our stories of loss, death, blood and tears are awful to consider, fathom or think about, especially for those who have never experienced the magnitude of the death of a child, a fetus or the inability for one’s body to support or conceive a life. We know these stories are awful and heart wrenching, we lived them.
Several years ago I talked to a woman with dementia and asked her to tell me about herself. She couldn’t remember where she lived. She couldn’t remember what she had done for a living. She remembered to tell me that she had six miscarriages.
I will never forget that moment. This woman may never have told her story to anyone else. What if she had always wanted to talk about her losses, but never had the opportunity to do so?For myself and others in this art show, we know that letting people in and expressing emotion about our losses can help us. It might not help everyone to talk about and expose their pain to their communities, but for some of us, this is the path towards healing, acceptance and even happy endings.
Of course happy endings are just one part of someone’s life story. To be open to knowing the whole story and the suffering that some must endure is a powerful way to understand your fellow human beings.
The final exhibit for the Bearing Witness Art Show will be up for the month of July at Marylhurst University in the Streff Gallery located in the library. 32 artists from all over the country (and one from abroad) have joined together to show their work and share their stories. It is truly a powerful and beautiful exhibit. If you have not seen it yet, please consider making the trip.
You are also invited to join us for the closing reception on Sunday, July 29th from 4:00-6:00 pm. Details to follow.
Thank you for opening up your hearts and minds and supporting this project.