I remember giving birth to each of my children. The immediate, intense love was like that of no other. This love was an incredible force that surged through my entire being. As new as these babies were, it was if I had known them forever. What a precious moment; I wanted to freeze time. At the same time, I was ever so curious. Who would they become? My intention had been to savor each moment of their becoming.
Friends who had babies before me would share, “as much as you love them now, just know, your love will grow and you’ll love them more.” “How could this possibly be?” I wondered. Time, of course, could not freeze. I am not sure about my capacity to love more but I think that the love gets deeper.
There are some parallels with what I am experiencing now. There are moments again, where I would like to freeze time. This way, the memories remain fresher and somehow, I imagine that I would feel more connected to my daughter. Time again, cannot freeze. Missing Maya is brutal. How can I even miss her more? We are approaching four years since she took her life. The missing gets deeper.
Earlier this month, we hosted seven women from Nepal, survivors of trafficking along with about a dozen teens from New Paltz. Sharing meals, a hike and stories, the day was filled with depth. The stories were traumatic. We were not reading anecdotes from a book, watching a documentary, or learning of the horrors from a screen. It was in our living room that voices were shared. As we spent more time with one another, laughed, experienced the beauty of nature and new friendships, I had hope. My heart was filled to be part of fertilizing the ground to nurture awareness on such an intimate level and build human connections.
Just a few days ago, I was in awe as I listened to the voice of the youth both locally and across the world during the climate strikes. The youth are rising. It was a day of passion, education, advocacy, creativity and hope.
While feeling so grateful for the waves of hope and change, I also carry the waves of grief and longing. Maya ought to be here. Her voice is missing. I think about Maya’s voice. The voice that I heard before she was born, tapping me on the shoulder, letting me know she had to arrive. I think of her voice in her 15 years of life. A beautiful and sensitive voice, a fun spirit, of compassion and social justice. I now hold her voice with deep curiosity. Was taking her life a way to express her voice? What is the message, what was Maya trying to say?