Charley’s grandma passed. She’s the primary reason Charley quit work and made us drive to Taos at the beginning of August. In her bed, days after a stroke, she said to Charley:
“You have a patient little one.”
Who is the little one? Three weeks later, while I’m here in the hospital being pregnant and trying to be patient, Charley is in Taos in our new home that we chanced to find and snag. Grandma Annie, who once studied at Berkeley and traveled the world and looked like a movie star; who was having trouble forming sentences, whispered, “Love. Be strong.”
One floor below me was the NIKU and Labor & Delivery. One floor below me an older woman had just delivered twins at 18 weeks. One had Down Syndrome and was given something to pass on so that only the other would survive. But the whole womb became infected. The drug given to imperfect baby no. 1 leaked into perfect baby no. 2. The doctor had to save mom, and neither baby 1 or 2 survived.
In Buddhism, while everyone is born and everyone dies, death is not the end of life, just the end of the body. Annie’s body was gone but her spirit was finding a new form and everything depended on what happened in her old life to determine how and what happened in the new one. The resultant karma was a result of her past actions.
A person would be reborn into one of seven realms- heaven, human beings, Asura, hungry ghost, animal and hell- according to the severity of their karmic actions. I wasn’t sure how this would work for premature, stillborn twins.
Every time I think of karma I also think of all of the people who have suffered in history, from the Black Plague to WWII, and the innocent people who die today like the 18-week old twins. I know I believe in karma, but I also wish the twins had lived. I also wish Annie had lived long enough to meet my baby.
My baby would be fine, right?
“Of course,” said Dr. Lukenaar. Of course! I was at 31.2 weeks. A baby the size of four navel oranges. She was kicking and dancing. The NST showed normal heart rate, normal acceleration, normal variability.
Marusy wanted to assure me again that my headache yesterday was caused by high blood pressure. Did I want a stool softener? An Ambien? Headache medicine? Something for heartburn?
Grief. I felt heavy for everyone. The transience and impermanence of life. It was overwhelming. Marusy had lipgloss practically dripping off her lips. And did she fake tan? It was overwhelming.