There is a beautiful space inside of me where I dwell. When it is open, I feel as though I am nestled among the stars. Other times, I can hardly stand to be in my own skin. When I take a bath, I often put my head beneath the water and listen to my heartbeat. There it is, thumping away in perfect rhythm. Thump thump. Thump thump.
My mother was once my home. I lay protected in her womb. Safe from sounds that startle and words that sting. I listened to her heartbeat. I heard her every breath. Her thoughts ran through my umbilical cord and I knew her every wish. Being born is being wrenched away from comfort and what we know. We are thrust into the unknown.
I listened to my baby’s heart before she was born. It was a strong heartbeat. When I pressed my MP3 to the phone, my mother remarked excitedly, “It sounds like a washing machine!” But my baby’s heart could not sustain her on its own. When I learned this news a cold wind blew through my soul. And, for many months, I suffered in silence. She’s three now. After her bath, she likes to run around naked and is blissfully unaware of the fine white line on her chest. I pray that she will always know just how lovely, beautiful, and amazing she is.
We are a circle, my mother, my daughter, and me. Our hearts tie us together. Like ocean waves crashing on the shore, my mother’s heartbeat fills my ears until her time here is done. My daughter’s amazing heart will beat in her chest for many years to come. And my heart... how long will it go on? How many more days will I lie in my watery bath and hear its steady drum? My beautiful heart—my earthly home?
†I gave this as a gift to my mother for her birthday a few years back along with a glass heart. I’m not sure she appreciated the energy of the piece; but, I like it. It’s intimate and gives voice to some of the pain I’ve experienced surrounding my daughter’s heart surgery. Something I haven’t been able to write much about.