In Tact: Poem


On “Mother’s Day”  a poem of mine appeared in the The Portland Press Herald.  I had submitted it in response to a call for a year long curated series of poems that address or grapple with the theme of “Deep Water” in some way. In my case the depth related to the grief connected to losing a child you are carrying.

This week is the anniversary of her leaving us, and moving on to other adventures, or so I like to think. I said goodbye to her on a little cove in late July with two dear friends while their daughter and Sammy were running and laughing in the sand at the water’s edge.

I remember holding myself through the shaking as I felt her spirit take off and race to the sea. At the last moment, I stood tall and tried to smile with one arm waving goodbye to her. I wanted her last image of me to be one of courage and joy for the gift her brief life was to me.

I was going in for my D & C (dilation and curettage) the next day.

She would be ten and a half today.  Marcel will be ten in October. I had found out I was pregnant on Mother’s Day, 2006 coincidentally. Marcel was miraculously conceived on her due date in January. We believe that her brief appearance on this earth was to make way for his soul somehow. In more ways then one, Marcel and his sister Dixie are connected.

That Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, the poet laureate of Portland chose it to run on Mother’s Day was courageous and deeply important to many (myself included) I learned in the days and weeks following the poem’s appearance in the paper. When a poem allows your friend and his wife to openly grieve their own miscarriage together, something they hadn’t known figured out how to before, you feel that on your knees in the ground kind of gratitude for so many things.

You can find the poem here.

You can learn more about the series, and The Maine Publishers and Writers Alilance here.

Thank you for reading it, and holding us all here.





celebrate, create, grieve, repeat: a poet returns

birthday montage
birthday montage

A few days ago another calendar year started for Mama C. Like your average bear I enjoy a little birthday love, some flowers, breakfast in bed. But, what I really love is the chance to reinvent myself, again. (January 1st, and Back to School also hold that possibility–or at least the excuse to start a new calendar and fill it with all the times I went to the gym this year. A week later, it’s amazing how much the old and the new calendar resemble the other…) This year Shrek and the boys helped me to craft a list of things I can feel fiercely fabulous about. Here are a few highlights in no particular order:

  • attending my first week long writers residency
  • crossing the country twice to visit my father and step mom with a different lad each time
  • a magnificent and robust urban garden in the summer and fall
  • several home improvements
  • transitioning to a part time job for one year
  • making ends meet on a part time income
  • volunteering in the boys’ classrooms once a week
  • co-organizing three epic cross cultural events at my sons’ school since last March
  • being invited to the “table” to discuss issues of race and equity in our school district
  • presenting on race and education to a graduate program in counseling,
  • parenting my big-in-the-world boys with some success
  • working it hard in the longest committed relationship I have ever been in
  • deepening relationships with five bonus children
  • planning a wedding
  • meditating and exercising regularly
  • noticing old patterns that no longer serve me, and attempting to change them Continue reading “celebrate, create, grieve, repeat: a poet returns”

Peace looks like…

C Mama C and the Boys 2012

Hearing church bells toll a few blocks from here after the moment of silence for Newton yesterday morning echoed and echoed my aching soul.

I’ve been struggling since last Friday more so than I might have “expected” I would have? I’m just trying to put a few words here to the fact that my grief has felt “abnormal” somehow. It has been bottomless at times, as I am sure it has been for so many.

When I hid in my colleague’s room at the beginning of school on Tuesday, and just bawled before I could walk down to homeroom, I knew I was on delicate emotional soil.  Perhaps the combination of my role as a public school educator and as a mother of a 5 and 7 year old further contributed to my feeling untethered from my core. Whatever that really means.

Then I received a phone call from a dear friend who just said; “This is who you are Cat, you are our feeler. This is your gift. You are taking it all in, and it is rocking you so hard…” The simplicity of her words allowed me to land again somehow on the perimeter of this quicksand of sad.

Shrek was so present, even if he was  somewhat caught off guard by my emotional departure this past week. He and I had this intense conversation about all of the “violence” all the time, everywhere. He holds so much of that in his heart in his work, and simply because of the compassionate being that he is. What allows us to hold this world like it is, with consciousness and compassion, and go on to wrap presents and argue about who is taking out the garbage? How do we impart the message with integrity that peace begins right here to all of our children from age five to thirty? What do we want that to look like? What do you want that to look like? How do you impart this to your family?


Now that the days are becoming a little lighter, I’m trusting this too will be echoed by my own turnings to the lightness of my family large and small in the coming days and weeks.  To small acts of tenderness that reach deep. To allowing myself to feel, to heal, and to continue to better myself and increase my own capacity for love.