On December 18, I was frolicking around, giddy from a week of artistic inspiration at Art Basel Miami and a few days of being personally coached, whispering horses, bending spoons, and getting spiritually uplifted with Martha Beck, her Team, and my business manager Melanie Bates at Martha’s ranch in Central California.
Then at 9:58 am on December 19, my 6 month old puppy Bezoar was hit by a car and killed, falling closely on the heels of the untimely death of my beloved dog Grendel last Father’s Day.
In the moment I heard the news, I went from feeling over-the-moon happy to feeling flushed with a familiar and unwelcome emotion - abject terror.
The first thing I thought was, “Everything can change in a blink,” and this filled me with dread - because I’m so blissed out in my life these days that I have a great deal to lose - and this terrifies me.
Armed with the ammunition of this thought, The Gremlin went ballistic, filling my mind with evil nothings.
We are all grieving after the shootings in Connecticut, and when we’re grieving, the last things we need are platitudes, blame, or fearful communication. So please, when someone expresses despair over the children that were slaughtered in Newton, please don’t say these 6 things.
1. “It was God’s will.”
We can’t possibly know God’s will, but personally, I don’t believe God wills tragedy on innocent people. I also don’t believe God groomed some mass murderer to grow up and exterminate 26 people and then kill himself. While it might placate us to believe that this tragedy was some sort of predestined divine event, I think it’s more healing to just accept that sometimes tragedies occur - and we really have no idea why.
2. “At least it wasn’t my child’s school.”
Yes. For those of us whose children were not harmed, we can be grateful. But when hatred is spread among any of us, it affects us all. You can feel it in the bones of our country right now. When one of our children is killed, the shockwaves reverberate through us all. At the root of such tragedy lies a deep disconnection from Source. That any of us are so disconnected from the part of ourselves I call your “Inner Pilot Light” that such murder could happen is a sign that something is out of whack in our culture. It might not have been your local school, but the disease that plagued Newtown, Connecticut has the potential to affect any one of us, and not until we heal the spiritual disconnection that infects so many in our society will our communities be safe.
“Mama! Mama! Come quick! You’ve gotta see this.” The sun is barely rising, but Siena nudges me awake and drags me out of bed, holding my hand and guiding me down the stairs.
Out the front door we go, where I see the gardener, up early and cutting overgrown grass with a machete. Siena passes him and leads me to the corner of the yard, where she has made a nest of leaves and flowers, and on top of the flowers lie the tiniest animals I’ve ever seen. They’re just over an inch long, hairless, and with fused eyes, clearly they’re brand newborn, whatever they are.
Siena says, “Look Mama! They’re baby raccoons! The gardener told me so.” They looked more like baby field mice to me, but who am I to argue with an empassioned 6 year old? I compromised by calling them “rat-coons.”
They are rolling around and making a whole bunch of noise for animals so teensy. They’re squirming and opening and closing their mouths and Siena is picking them up and holding them. They are no longer than her pinky finger.
Then she asks what I saw coming. “Mama, he says their mama abandoned them, and they will die if we leave them here. Can we take them inside?”
When Matt pulled the car over on the side of the freeway in Oakland beside the unconscious man with blood gushing from his face, his teeth knocked out, a massive hematoma on his forehead, his knee broken in half, and his ankle stripped of skin and askew, I noticed that he was still breathing, but his chest was rising and falling the way people with severe head trauma breathe - not normally. He still had a pulse, but it was fast and thready.
The woman standing next to him, who had pulled off with me said, “I saw it. He just fell - or jumped - off that freeway overpass and landed right here.”
The cops were there but there were no paramedics yet. Someone threw me a pair of blue latex gloves and I knelt down on the bloody pavement in my white lace dress.
With no neck brace to stabilize his neck, no back brace to lift him onto, no IV to bolus him with saline, no suction catheter to suck out the blood that was choking him, no endotracheal tube with which to intubate him, no oxygen to help his labored breathing, no blood transfusion to replace what was pouring out of him, and no pain medication to ease his pain, I felt helpless. As it turns out, a doctor without her tools has little to offer other than love, so that’s what I did.
My five year old daughter Siena fell in love recently. It was with another girl - a five year old princess named Vivien, who lives in a castle in Chicago and is the daughter of my best friend Katsy.
Siena and Vivien have known each other since they were three months old, but they haven’t actually seen each other since. They’ve only heard stories. Siena has heard great tales of Princess Vivien, and Vivien has heard the wondrous stories of Siena and her fairy magic.
But a few weeks ago, they got to chase fairies in a zen garden, play on the beach, sleep in the same bed every night, bathe together with Roberto - the toy penguin, eat fish and chips at the English pub, watch fireworks over San Francisco on the 4th of July, listen to a dharma talk about Harold and the Purple Crayon, leave fairy notes, spend hours in a hot tub, and share other magical adventures that made them fall in love.
They were so in love that Siena pretty much ignored her Mommy and Daddy for a week. She didn’t care about morning snuggles in the bed, because she was too busy coloring with Princess Vivien. She didn’t want to be read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, because she had Princess Vivien to build puzzles instead. Mommy and Daddy were just a wee bit sad. We missed Siena, the queen of the fairies. But we didn’t tell her, because we were happy she was so in love.