Dear Spirit B,
It’s been five years since I held a wild hawk to my belly, asking you and your brother to give it strength and love. It’s been five years since I held your beautiful purple body, and it’s been five years since I felt the earth shatter beneath my feet – taking my heart with it. I blamed myself for everything that happened, and proceeded to fall into a deep depression.
I held on to the breadcrumbs of light that I could see. I barely let anyone else hold Max for the first weeks of his life. If anyone did want to, they had to take off their shirt baring their skin so that Max could feel their pure, raw and vulnerable love. Even in my darkness, I took walks everyday. It was deep winter, and I waded through the knee deep snow with Max bundled in my shirt. I remember the very first time I saw you and heard your message. Walking out to the path behind our house, you were perched on a low hanging branch in the body of a hawk. You stayed there, for a long long time, letting me take you in and feel you. Was I really seeing this? “Is this how it’s going to be with you?” I asked “Yes Mama, I am here, and I am watching over you all. I am your guardian now and you can find me in the hawks, in the rainbows and in the wind”
After what felt like forever, you flew off.
Since then, I have seen and felt you in many different places – from blue jays outside my window, to hawks and owls in the wild. You paint me rainbows in the middle of nowhere and whisper to me on the edges of mountains.
I feel you best when I am out in the middle of a big mission or in an expedition race. After a few too many home days, you start to call out to me. “Mama, come out and play – I need to tell you some things.”
Even Max sees and feels it. “Mama, it’s time for you to go outside.”
“Yeah” I respond “I need to go be with Spirit B for a little while.”
Your Daddy and I have spread you all over the world. From New Zealand to Europe to Fiji to Patagonia – your ashes are spread in magical, wild places. You’ve shared adventures with so many of our closest friends and family members. They carry you with them up mountains, down rivers and everywhere in between.
You are a gift, a treasure, and a constant reminder to us to not take anything for granted, to live fully and to not hold anything back. While the trauma of you leaving us will always be painful, I hold it with so much tenderness and care. Every year I gain a new perspective from it, becoming even more grateful for how you came to be. Thank you for continuing to shape me into the mother that I might never have been had you stayed. The memory of you leaving, the grief around you and Max’s birth and the nuggets of love, guidance and protection that you keep wrapping us all up in are all amazing gifts that I never even imagined possible.
Thank you for showing up for Max, he talks about you every couple days – whenever he sees a feather, a rainbow or even during watching the snow fall, he will stop and look up at me saying “Mama, it is Spirit – isn’t it beautiful?”
To him it seems like you are everything that is magical and beautiful. Moments in time that could easily be lost and forgotten, instead are savored and pointed out with such sweetness. Every couple months he becomes more and more aware of you and what happened. We answer all of his questions and never hide anything from him.
Our two year old teenager, Revel Wilder, is just getting to know you. He copies everything that Max says. We call him a little parrot, or the family news broadcaster. But I believe you and him have a very special relationship, one that was created before you both chose us as his family. He is far wilder than Max, but he is more into cuddling with me than Max is. Every morning Revel, comes and finds me in bed or in the yoga room. No matter what, he will come for a long cuddle before going off and playing by himself. Every so often I will catch him looking far off into the sky with a peaceful smile on his face. With out even needing to ask him, I know exactly who he is talking with.
Your Daddy has just begun his deeper grief journey. He was the rock to our family during much of my depression. He along with our sweet community would make sure I ate well, exercised, went to therapy, helped me figure out breastfeeding and gave me all the space and time I needed to grieve. Instead of being down in the trenches with me, he made sure our family was well taken care of by working and making sure I did not go too far into the darkness. However now that I am in a much better place, he is taking time to process his grief and guilt and to find his own way to be with you.
Almost weekly since the day you left, Jan 16th. I have received letters, messages, and pictures from people telling me how they saw and felt you.
Thank you for being our family beacon, our “sweet wound”, our “nexus” point. Thank you for showing us that both the light and the dark are beautiful and harmonious.
As I look towards the next few weeks, I am opening every part of my being to your hurricane. It has already begun, as for the past many nights I have not been able to sleep. Instead I wake up to walk the rooms of my home, to walk in the cold dark night, to sit with the uncomfortable feelings and memories that are mine for life. And I write. I will not run, like I have done in the past, and I will do my best to keep welcoming the shadows in with as much grace and grit as I can muster.
I love you, I love you, I love you,
“When the hour is not so young,
when the fire has gone low,
and I have run out of things to distract me from my wounded heart,
perhaps there is healing in the warm quiet of allowing it all. “
Gabriel and Matthew Andreas