Thursday, March 11, 2010

About those presentations today...

Robin asked me to say a little more about the presentations in class today. First of all, let me say that this is the class to which I gave a copy of Robin's own writings about her son's suicide, with her permission, of course.

To Robin:

Like me, the entire class was powerfully moved by what you wrote. Two children of one of our presenters completed suicide, and at one point in her [I'll refer to her as "A"] presentation she said something like, "I can't understand, I will never really understand, the kind of pain they felt." In our processing of the presentations later during class, one woman said that your beautiful, wrenching essays, Robin, gave her the sense of that same kind of expression. And I agree. What you wrote helped these future ministers, and me, get a sense, at least, of the powerful mystery involved in this unspeakable pain and suffering, this horror. We are the better for it.

Relating to that, "A" also today mentioned something else that tore at my heart and that I can begin to apprehend in Robin's richly evocative writings. Talking about this level of Pain that she'd never fully understand, "A" said that she'd read recently that when a loved one completes suicide, all that Pain, (which she or he can no longer bear), explodes outward toward the loved ones who remain. It's a strangely recognizable metephor. An explosion of Pain, transferred from one who finds his or her release, to the ones they most love. A testament, I suppose, to the inevitable narrowness carried within the very marrow of this kind of Pain. In my own way, I can get a small glimpse of this.

One of the last things my mother said to me, as she lay dying of COPD, was "Well, Katy, I'm giving you what you've wanted." I can't know what she actually meant with those words, but my heart will always carry the wound they, and my interpretation of them, inflicted. And when I think of that unholy experience in terms of this metaphor, it was indeed as if my mother's life-Pain exploded outward from her toward me.

Not to blame. Not at all to blame. In fact, I'm wondering now as I write these words and relive my own experience...Hmmm....I'm wondering whether my forever-wounded heart can now, sixteen years later, transform the Pain into the kind of Love that willingly receives the Pain in order to transfigure it. Does that make sense? I'm remembering somewhere in my reading of Process theology the notion that God-as-Love absorbs the ache of the world and recalibrates it into joy. Assuming that one of the last things my mother wanted to say to me was intended to hurt me (and I'm not sure of this...she was saying all kinds of unclear things during those last days), but assuming it was, perhaps now I can allow Love to do its job. I mean, perhaps my Love for my mother can open fully to absorb the Pain, her-Pain-now-mine, and in that freely-given absorption transform it back into Love. Perhaps, in some sense, all Pain is love-gone-awry, anyway.

Well, I don't know. These are the reflections that come to me as I process today's amazing experience.

Robin, I've no idea how you will read these words. In some sense favorably, I hope and pray. The horror of your experience, and your soul-filled and utterly compelling manner of writing, was in my heart all day today. In some small way (although not really small to me), I have here experienced healing, as I've reflected on the day.

It seems that God is always at work.


Robin said...

I am thinking about all of this (yes, favorably, if that's any kind of appropriate word to use about this subject) and I'll write something of my own in the next day or two.

Mompriest said...

Katherine - what a powerful class...what a gift from Robin...that she agreed to let you share her words and that her words of suffering and loss and sorrow become words of grace, yet again, to others.