Some people have lucky numbers. Others, unlucky ones. I have a sacred number: 11:11 in the morning, the hour and minute of my daughter Maya’s birth.
When 11:11 popped up on my iPhone screen this morning, I thought, “Aha, beloved girl. There you are, waking me up again!”
Swimming with Maya lavishes 302 pages on the idea that our dead are always with us. Last night, during a class presentation at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living, I started to say “When Maya was lost…” and stopped myself mid-sentence.
Maya was never lost. She vanished. Very suddenly. That felt like an absence I would never survive in the days after she died. Yet such was not the ultimate truth. In time, I found I wanted to live, first for Meghan’s sake, and later on for my own. And, I discovered that my love for Maya – and hers for me – caused us to be inextricably interwoven whether in or out of the body.
So last night I retreated from the language of loss and instead focused on transmutation. Maya shines in my heart, and in the hearts of those who loved her, even in the hearts of those who read about her, and especially in the hearts of those whose lives she saved or transformed through the miracle of organ donation. She lives among us in a different form and way now.
For our class, “Beyond Limits,” we built an altar. Each of us contributed tokens of meaning. The divine often speaks to us through synchronicity, so we discovered that all three of us altar builders had experienced difficult deaths. We each brought items that symbolized our healing.
Sacred objects are powerful because we imbue them with love and deep meaning. I included a picture of Meghan and me that was taken two years after Maya died. That photo symbolizes the moment when I realized that now it was just the two of us, and that we would make it as a different kind of family.
Meghan was born at 2:14 in the afternoon. Another sacred moment. But because Meghan is very much alive, I honor her birth moment differently, with greater peace and equanimity.
Remembering the exact time of my daughters’ births honors their arrival on earth and my own transformation into a different person – one with a larger heart, willing to risk the radical love required of mothers.