Victoria S. Hardy

Victoria S. Hardy

Monday, October 16, 2006

On Losing a Child

It will be four years, next month, that my son Steven passed over. In some ways it feels like yesterday, in others, a lifetime ago. I was blessed with a near death experience shortly after Steven passed, I say blessed, despite the trauma and horror of my physical experience, because my eyes were opened. Losing a child is impossibly hard, losing an only child is even more so. After Steven passed, I could not function, the simplest tasks proved beyond me. After my extreme medical experience, I functioned differently, I was radically changed.

As a human being, my biggest downfall and greatest gift, is that I always expect things to make sense. I expect there to be logic in myself and the world around me. I always knew Steven would die young, maybe because I experienced the loss of my sister when I was a child, maybe because my dreams told me, however the knowledge came to me, I just knew. I figure I was given nine extra years with Steven as he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at 9 years old and nearly died, he almost died again at 12 when he developed a fungal infection of his central nervous system and again at 15 when he had a hemorrhage in the ventricles of his brain. At 18 he had a DUI wreck that almost killed him and the person he hit and I realized, without doubt, that it was the beginning of the end. Six months later, when the phone rang on Sunday morning, I knew he was dead.

Logic aside, I was sure I could accept the reality of no longer being Mom, I had been prepared again and again, sitting by hospital beds, praying the neurologists could save him one more time, the fact that he died on the side of the road, on a beautiful fall evening, was almost soothing. People worried about his being in pain, I worried that he may have been scared. The pain he could have handled, his being alone with his fear was something I couldn't have handled. I talked to the coroner, read the autopsy report and felt sure that he was not aware of what hit him.

But knowing and doing are two different things, I knew I was strong enough to live my life without my son, but living my life without him was nearly impossible. The guilt of being alive, the guilt of all the wrongs I committed, the guilt of not being the very best to him that I could have been, the guilt of laughing, breathing, having, the guilt, the guilt, the guilt was almost my undoing. Some say I went a little crazy, but parents aren't supposed to bury their children and perhaps being a little crazy is the only way to survive.

What I have learned is that most parents don't listen to their kids enough, most parents want their children to become carbon copies of themselves, most parents don't see their children as separate and whole individuals, most parents don't hear the wisdom in their children's words. I am guilty of the same failures, but hindsight is full of clarity and I am learning daily from Steven. I hear his words with a new ears, I understand his struggles with new perceptions and I know without a doubt, if I could do it all over again, I would be better.

But in this lifetime, I am stuck, I can't do it again, he is dead and I am alive (or perhaps he is alive and I am dead) and I have a responsibility to learn, grow, become and meet him on the other side. I have to do what is right, what is just, I have to be fair and consider other people, I have no other choice, but to change and be a better human being than I was before. I also have to question the norms of society and of religion, because I no longer fit in this world the way I did before he passed.

Funny, when Steven was alive, he never fit in, he was a misfit, a freak (his words, not mine) and I tried to guide him into the norms of what this world expected from him, for his own good, I thought. Now that he is gone, I have become the misfit, the freak, fitting into no category, unable to function the way the world says I should, the ultimate expression of karma. I pressured him over silly things, his hair, his piercings, his clothes and now that pressure has come home to me. I should be more socially productive, I should have a job and assume the responsibilities I had before, but something in me revolts and when I don't listen, my body revolts. I now struggle with the roles, feeling inferior and less than, I have taken up his cross, unknowingly and unwillingly.

Despite it all, I feel blessed. Blessed to have been a parent for 18 years, blessed to have all my perceptions radically changed, blessed to see and understand the cycle of life, blessed to know that what we put into the world truly comes back to us, blessed to have felt the pain and survived. I will find my place in this world, I will find the sense in it all and I will see Steven again. I am a better person for having known him and I am a better person having lost him.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Eternal Recurrence

I had a near death experience a few years ago, just months after my only child died in a freak accident, a surgeon made a mistake while performing, I discovered later, unneeded colon surgery. I was left with a gaping 7 inch open wound on my abdomin and was confined to rest for months while the injury slowly grew closed. A nurse came to my home daily to clean the wound and change the bandages and almost daily it struck me that I had done this before. An odd thought, because had I actually experienced it before, wouldn't I have scars? The wound closed and then broke back open as more infection and lost stitches escaped from my flesh and again I knew this experience was familiar to me.

I recovered, returned to work and sitting in my cube, it occurred to me often that I had done this before, I kept being reminded of the movie Groundhog Day. I tried to explain the feeling to a couple people, but upon seeing their disbelieving expressions, I decided this was probably something I should keep to myself. But keeping silent did not make the growing knowledge go away, it grew and I began to use it as a compass to determine my next step. I figured if I had done all this before, the way to stop the cycle was to do things differently, to listen to my instincts versus the opinions of those around me.

I then discovered that the philospher Nietzsche had written on the subject of eternal recurrence in the late 1800's, and the Italian philospher Vico had written about it years before him. Some philospher's speculate that his theory of eternal recurrence was what made Nietzsche lose his mind. Not a hopeful sign for me, as I had been told how crazy I was since I was a child, funny thing, I no longer felt my sanity was in jeopardy, I felt like a blindfold had been removed from my eyes and I was seeing truth for the first time in my life. In the theory of eternal recurrence we are living the same life over and over, perhaps the body is different, but the mind, thoughts, experiences and emotions are the same.

Suppose that when Jesus and others spoke of eternal life, they meant it literally? Suppose the only pearly gates and streets paved in gold belong to people who know this secret? What if we have been here forever? Many religions believe in reincarnation, but in Christianity we are told we have one life and we must behave, we are educated and ideas of reincarnation are for heathens and pagens. But what if the idea of one life, means living forever and when one body wears out we are issued another? What if?

I discovered after my son died that the hardest part of life was living, it's easy to plan for our death, to know after we die we are finally able to rest and have real quality of life, but does that make sense? We have to die to live? And what if you were going to live forever, would you change things? Would you continue to go to that office everyday, sit in the windowless cube everyday, have those above you telling you what and how to do it, everyday? If you knew you were going to live forever, wouldn't you do what and only what you wanted to do? Wouldn't you want to be free?

This is America, but we are not free, those with lots of cash are free, but most of us live week to week, barely hanging on to what we have. Most of us live with the weight of stress, fear and worry heavily on our backs, we know there is not enough for everyone and we must work incredibly hard to get ours, but is that truth?

What if being Saved means seeing the Wheel of Life and becoming free? What if being Saved means realizing that we already have eternal life, it's not something we have to earn by being good and humble? What if being Saved means understanding the big machine, seeing behind the curtain and not just believing what our leaders want us to see? What if being Saved means realizing you are here forever and it's time to find inner peace, not an imaginary reward that will come after you die? What is being Saved means suffering really is optional?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Few Questions

Why do we assume that the Bible is the inspired word of God? If I remember correctly Jesus was suposed to be the Only perfect person to walk the earth, yet he did not write the Bible. So we assume, because we are told, that average men were inspired to write the Bible, with none of their prejudices showing through, with no political leanings pressuring them. Why do we assume that during the time of Christ there was not political turmoil, we know there was, Jesus was crucified, but we assume that the political turmoil of the time did not affect the words handed down to us. Do we not see how the turmoil in Washington and religious turmoil across the globe colors everything we see, yet we take it as fact that it did not happen two thousand years ago. How does that make sense?

We're all heard the phase, "The winners write history." Jesus didn't win, but we assume that this book we worship is an accurate representation of history and the rules of life. Why do we assume that? Jesus' ideas were not popular, remember? Jesus walked his own way and did not follow the rules, but we are told if we want to reach Jesus, we must follow all the rules. Jesus didn't go to church, but we are told if we want to find salvation, we must. Jesus said the path to the Kingdom is inside each one of us, but we are told the path is to follow everyone else. Jesus wasn't telling us to be good and turn the other cheek, he was telling us to follow our own path, listen to the quiet voice inside each one of us, stand up, claim our power and be done with the slave mentality that was present then and is present now. If he was all about love and turning the other cheek, there would have been no need to kill him, love, peace and turning the other cheek keeps us in line, keeps us in place. The leaders of the time wanted the masses to be calm and trusting, why kill the person that was telling us to love and to follow? I am suggesting that he wanted something different than that, I am suggesting that he was trying to release us from capitivity.

Isn't it funny that if we hear the voice of God, we are crazy, but if a person goes to a school and other people give him a paper that says he is Holy, then and only then can he hear the voice of God. How do men dictate to us who does and who does not have a connection to God? How does that work? If God tells us to quit our job, move to Montana and start a worm farm, we must have lost our minds, but if God tells a preacher that his flock should go fight a religious war, we accept that as gospel, that's not crazy. Why do we assume that everyone else has a better connection to God and Knowledge than we have?

If Jesus was a poor, wandering carpenter, then why do the people that represent him and his beliefs wear ceremonial garments, expensive suits and drive nice cars? Why don't they wear overalls and drive old pickup trucks with big tool boxes on the back? Where is the line between church and state in our country, I don't see it, even though our leaders tells us it exists. What I see when I look at church and government is the same thing. People with lots of money, wearing ridiculous or pricey clothes, living in outlandishly large homes telling the rest of us what we should and should not do. We should not question the Bible and we should not question the government, but Jesus said we must be like little children to enter the Kingdom and anyone who has ever spent time with small children knows, all they do is ask questions.