The other night I got a text at 2:30 am.
"Jeff just passed away."
I couldn't believe it. I still can't. My friend Bridget -- the one who carried me through the worst work of dismantling our lives in Kauai, who has been there for me for nearly a decade of raising babies, nursing, potty training, parenting, homeschooling, working-- her husband Jeff died suddenly of the flu. He was a beautiful man. A hard and lean Portuguese Hawaiian Paniolo-- soft spoken, bright eyes, long white ponytail. Thick pidgin, soft voice, gentle with all the babies, gathering the children into his lap. How can he be gone? He wouldn't show up to a party, but he'd show up to build you a fence or move your house or brand your cattle. He'd work harder and longer than anybody. Life is a little surreal-- the last time I saw him was when he and Bridget had packed up my container with our whole battered dusty lives inside after my own crusty Hawaiian cowboy died, leaving his stunned and br…
The year is kareening around, we're hurtling through space on our tiny blue rocket ship called earth, and the one year mark to Matt's suicide is coming at my face.
We're doing amazing. I love my kids, they love me, I take care of grandma, she takes care of me, I've started a garden, we've got new little chicks, I've written half a novel, made new friends, the girls have learned to read and write English, and I'm learning to crochet.
And it's been bloody brutal. Since the middle of the night when I got the call from the police, my heart has had an ice-metal stake through it. It was a nuclear detonation and although we survived there are hugely echoing after-affects, radiation poisoning that will poison us for years and generations.
But there have been things that have helped. And I think they would help anyone, in any kind of trauma or pain. And I'm going to make a note of them in case I'm floudering, for me to come back to, and add to. And if th…
Sunday, September 8, 2013 I first heard of Claudia Brown when I was about 8
weeks pregnant and nauseated by the smell of oxygen. I had already had one
extremely disappointing visit with an Ob-Gyn out in Waimea (grimy carpets,
dead-eyed nurses, and a dismissive and distractingly attractive male
gynecologist). I was taking my toddler for a walk along our little gravel road
to see the horses (don’t breathe: horse-sweat, hay, grass, animal hair, poop)
and feed them papayas (don’t breathe: too pungent, too fleshy, with an overripe
kerosene off-gas). We ran into our neighbor and her leaping and spinning three
year old, who was tanned to mahogany and naked except for a tutu.The little girl pointed at her mom’s
watermelon-sized belly. “HIS NAME IS POPCORN!” We chatted about birth and doctors and midwives, I
told her how much I had loved the midwife-run birth center on the Big Island
and how unimpressive my visit to the Ob-Gyn had been. She said, “Oh, you’ll
love Claudia,” and dashed home for a…