after stillbirth

Thus It Is Mother- After Stillbirth

after stillbirthProf. Jacob Raz is a well-known author, speaker, and teacher of Buddhism. He wrote a book (in Hebrew), in which I found this, which brought me to tears.
The original text talks about a father who seeks comfort with Buddha, but I changed it a little, to mother. I hope Prof. Jacob Raz will forgive me.

When I read it after my changes, I feel Prof. Raz successfully captured what I went through after my stillbirth.
And what I feel many women go through after stillbirth.
Mainly, I love the deep understanding in which mourning and grief have a direct connection to love. Sorrow, difficulty, crying, this endless weight we go around with; thus it is.




At one time, some mother’s boy had died.
The bereaved mother, grieving and tormented
Came to the Buddha
And said,
My boy has died
And now that he is dead, I do not care to work or eat.
Again and again I roam the streets and moan,
Where are you, my boy? Where are you, my boy?
Please help me, teacher.

And the Buddha said to the mother,
Thus it is, mother, thus it is, mother
What is dear to you, mother, brings hurt and misery, suffering, grief, and despair,
Which comes from what is dear.

The mother, indignant and annoyed at the words of the Buddha, rose from her seat and went away.
What is dear to one brings joy and satisfaction, she thought, not hurt and misery!
How could the great master speak these words?

What did the Buddha say? He said this,
That which you are feeling now, mother,
Are hurt and misery, suffering, grief, and despair.
That is what you are now – grief and despair.
Right now
Thus it is, mother.

He did not say, may you know no more grief,
He did not speak words of consolation,
He did not say your son will return, did not say he will not return,
Did not say let time heal, go and meet friends,
Find meaning in your work,

He did not offer painkillers,
He did not say sit down to meditate,
Breathe in breathe out
Go to support groups, weekend workshops,
Sweat lodges or miracle-working gurus
He did not offer therapy
Nor reading in Buddhist classics

He did not say
Your son will become a god, or
He is in paradise now.
He did not say,
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord
He did not say all that
He did not offer God’s grace

He did not even talk about impermanence

He said
Thus it is, mother

You wish to feel no pain
To be free of grieving
But you cannot because this is what is now
Nowhere to go
And the more you wish to get rid of the pain
The more you suffer
Not only from the pain upon your son’s death
But also from the pain of the wish to be free from pain
And from the inevitable failure

Because there is no way for you not to be what you are now
A mourning mother, full of pain

Dear mother,
This is the nature of things
What is dear to you brings worry and pain
This is it
Anxiety is within the dear –
Like the color red in a pomegranate.
You want the joy of love but not its sorrow
But can you have right without left, high without low,
Youth without old age
Meeting without separation?

Your loved one equals anxiety about his life and mourning about his death
There is no other way

But the Buddha might have also said,
Be your hurt and misery
And you are free.

Know them thoroughly,
And be free.
Go through them
Like getting wet in the rain, like watching your footprint.
Like eating your bread and breathing the air
Know them
And you are free

And then, you will see, dear mother –
Mourning is liberation
And so are joy, and fear, dance and dream, and old age
All lived
Full measure

These and all the rest
Such as they are
Members of creation
Oh, these very sentient beings

The matter from which all is made
Free to come, free to go

Thus said the Buddha unto me

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