Chasing Butterflies with Finley in India Part 1: journal entry2


I’ve been back from India since Thanksgiving, but with everything that has happened, have been unable to complete this posting until now.  If the tenses change, forgive me, as much of it was written while there and then the rest once I got home….

Meeting the surrogate was surreal. I didn’t know what to expect, even though we’d already seen her picture. She was little, maybe 5″3’.  She was pretty, mostly because of her deep, wise, brown eyes.  She looked timid, like a deer caught in headlights, and sort of stared at me, the American woman gushing niceties to her, as she awaited the translation.

I wished her well and let her know we’d be praying for a pregnancy, and hoped that she felt well.

As she walked out of the room, at the polite dismissal of one of the many administrators at the Center, tears welled up in my eyes. The caring but not emotionally invested woman said, “It’s OK.  Lots of people cry.”  Little does she know I sometimes cry multiple times a day.  I explained that it wasn’t ‘just’ meeting the surrogate, whose name hadn’t etched into my memory, but the idea that this is the next step in my husband’s and my journey.

You see, it is one thing to apply for the process, prepare the paperwork, pay the fees at different stages in the process via wire transfer in a country that has what is called ‘slow pay’.

It took me sending 4 FedEx packages to the consulate in San Francisco because the paperwork confused me – even though I oversee million dollar estimates and contracts on a daily basis professionally.  I had 3 different sets of passport-size photos taken before I understood that I could not wear glasses and had to have my ear placed behind my ears.

I concocted a chart early on in the process to keep things organized, so that when I awoke (insomnia sure can come in handy) to return correspondence from the Center in India between 12 AM and 4 AM for many nights over many weeks – since they vary between 12.5 and 13.5 hours ahead of Los Angeles – I would be able to cross reference where we were in the process of our paperwork which entailed dozens of agreements to be approved; for the releasing and shipping embryos; for the surrogacy contract draft to be agreed upon; for recommendations on hotels; for 2 separate designated parties to agree to take care of the eventual baby/babies, in case something happened to us, and the list goes on and on and on.

It takes things to an entirely new level when being there, in India, and seeing the facilities and all of the women lining the halls on the benches who want to be surrogates or who are mid cycle and the Australian couple who without a beat’s hesitation got ‘it’ and the butterfly on the doctor’s desk, and EVERYthing…

And so the tears were earned, and I had nobody to comfort me.  While it was smart for Craig to stay in LA while I took this trip on my own, the intensity of all of this felt exponentially heightened because there I was, processing all of this, all by myself.

After this, all I wanted to do is crawl into a ball and cry, but of course food became the priority.  Even finding a place that I wanted to eat in this loud, over crowded, horn honking, poverty stricken but highly fascinating city was difficult, but my driver took me to an area called M Block – a nice semi-upscale area – and I searched and eventually found a restaurant who very fortunately understood the concept “to go”.

That night back at the hotel, only my second night in the city, I once again was comforted with Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs, Skype calls with Craig (who had food poisoning or a touch of the flu) and Maybelline – and then eventually periods of sleep for about an hour at a time.

Tuesday was to be a huge sight seeing day, and now that I had accelerated my schedule with plans to leave at 3 AM Thursday instead of Friday, I intended to really maximize my time!

I had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.  It took some arranging and waiting, but I washed that down with a luke warm Diet Coke.

Fueled by caffeine and lack of sleep and raw emotions that made me feel like naked, I headed off to the Red Fort, which is an architectural complex that was built hundreds of years ago.  My driver parked and in stilted English explained that I should have a rickshaw bicycle driver take me into this area of Old Delhi.

We chose one of many guys who approached the fan, who gave me a quote of 400 rupees, and so off we went.  He took me to the outside of the fort and we agreed to meet back there in a bit.  I entered on foot and was stared at by throngs of people. The uniformed school children seemed absolutely fascinated with me – and little boys would come up to me and say “HELLO!” while their friends would watch curiously. I would respond with a smile, “Hello.”  Girls looked at me and then whispered and then looked back and would whisper some more.

After walking through the Fort, which was the residence of a Mughal emporer, I returned to my rickshaw bicycle driver – thank G-d he shouted out to me through the crowds – and we continued on a journey. We went through the streets of Chanki Chowk, an area that is so congested that cars can’t drive here.  I giggled nervously as the bicyclist strongly pedaled and maneuvered, always keeping my left foot firmly placed as was suggested.

We went on to India’s largest mosque.  There were stairs to climb, at which point several people accosted me with what I must do to enter: Remove shoes and pay price for slippers.  Pay cost to enter.  Wear a praying ‘wrap’ or dress (even though I was pretty well covered already), of course for a cost.  I confirmed there was no separate cost to take pictures with my phone, though if I understood correctly, had I brought an actual camera, there would be a nominal fee.

Hard to feel spiritual after that sort of finagling, which kind of reminded me with the fees and merchandise in Vatican City, in retrospect, and on a way smaller scale, but I made my way into the mosque and watched how others were praying.  Many were kneeling in front of the walls, and others were touching the walls with their heads bowed in prayer.  Not much for kneeling, having been brought up half Jewish and told by my father early on not to, I opted to graze my hand upon the cool stone of the walls until I found a place to pray.  And quickly enough, I was connected to the moment, to myself, and stood in prayer at this wall, where hundreds of thousands of Indians and others (probably more) have prayed over the years.  I prayed for our babies to come.  I prayed for Finley’s well being. I prayed for my father’s health.

Then I took some pictures, got my tennis shoes back from the person (and then of course had to tip him even though I’d already paid his friend for the slippers), returned to my rickshaw, who brought me back to my driver – and off we went to continue our sight seeing.

Next we went to the zoo.  I paid for my driver to join me, and we found a little cart that likely could have fit 12 people – and negotiated that it would only be the driver of the cart, my driver and me – so that we could stop where we want and take the tour I had imagined.  We saw a lion, a giraffe, and some beautiful birds. I could not help but think of the tape I had watched with my father in his office days before I left, of his own trip to India several years ago, and the wild life journey he had taken on an elephant’s back into the jungle and the white tiger he had been so proud of seeing.

I had thought the zoo was a conservatory, which I suppose it was in some terms, but about half way through the 1-hour private tour, I saw an elephant that was bound with chains to his area.  Of course I understand that animals can’t run wild, but I guess I thought I was going to more of a ‘living desert’ type zoo, where the animals are all in their natural surroundings. I cut the tour short, and off we went to the Museum of Modern Art.

At the museum, there were no pictures allowed, and none of the paintings grabbed me as much as the saying on this one:
How can one perceive light without the shadow?
- painting by M Mamtani “Centrovision” 1980

I thought of all of the things I had experienced in order to get to this exact moment, in India, having met my surrogate the day before. I thought of the fact that the embryo transfer would be the next day.  How much pain and disappointment Craig and I had experienced on this journey, and how incredible the joy will eventually feel.  The painting spoke to me, as only art can, and showed me I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And as exhausted as I was and as filthy as I felt from a day of down & dirty sight seeing, I told the driver that the final stop for the day would be the Baha’i Temple, The Lotus Temple, as that was recommended as a sunset visit.

We parked with seemingly hundreds of other people who were trying to get there on foot, via car, rickshaw, or who were coming out of the dozens of tour buses.  We walked for a while and then entered the gate, single-file, at which point I saw a plaque that described the religion of this temple. Here is the first half of what is on the plaque:

The Baha’i Faith recognizes the unity of God and of his prophets, upholds the principle of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all forms of superstition and prejudice, teaches that the fundamental purpose of religion is to promote concord and harmony, that it must go hand in hand with science, and that it constitutes the sole and ultimate basis of a peaceful, an ordered and progressive society.

I didn’t really know at that moment how exactly I believe in exactly that, but obviously my faith is combined with my reverence for science, and so I was very much, once again, exactly where I was supposed to be.

We took the long walk towards the lotus shaped temple.  There were so many people.  The driver dropped off our shoes – and nobody asked for a tip of any kind.  We continued on barefoot.  We made it up the stairs and I was mesmerized by the architecture.  A beautiful pond surrounded the bottom, but we kept our focus on getting into the temple, where everyone seemed to be heading.

Once outside first in Indian and then in English we were told to turn phones off, to not take any photos, and to not speak at all once inside.  A group exited, and we entered.

I looked up and all around and I don’t remember anything of the architecture or art, but I remember the feeling exactly.  It was calm.  Peaceful.  I felt a warm energy gush over me at the perfect temperature.  My driver sat in an aisle.  I sat in the aisle in front of him – took a deep breath, put my hands on the back of the aisle in front of me, looked up and closed my eyes.

I didn’t know at the time whether I had done this for 20 seconds or 10 minutes, before the most vivid image came to me.  It was me, standing with Craig, with our Finley, with our two little children (who we’ve yet to meet), and with our doctors, with our surrogate, our families, our friends, you, and what started as a small circle of just me, my husband, our son and our future babies, kept growing in a circular fashion. We were at the core, but this community of people from all over the world surrounded us, holding hands, keeping us safe; enveloped us.

I awoke or came to or completed the meditation or prayer or whatever it was, and there were tears streaming, no – gushing, down my face.   I rose and walked to the exit, at which point a young Indian man looked at me and said, “You’re crying!”  Not sad at all, I confirmed that yes, I was.

My driver joined me a few moments later and smiled at me, I suspect surprised at my wet face and likely radiant spirit.  It was an intoxicating experience, and I knew that out of everything I had seen so far, this was the one place I must return to when Craig and I returned next year.

Finally back at my hotel, I ordered their chicken curry.  It was surprisingly delicious – considering I thought I didn’t like curry.  I plotted out my next day, watched more Curb episodes, and waited to Skype with Craig.  I emailed my eldest sister reminding her to give me an update after that day’s chemo appointment.  It would be my father’s 2nd session and I had sent a list of questions for the doctor – who my Dad would be seeing prior to the chemo.

In the middle of the night – again, because of the 13.5 hour time difference, I connected with my sister, who explained that my father would not be able to have the chemo.  He was dehydrated, had lost more weight, and so they were hospitalizing him for a ‘re-charge’.  Nervous more than words can explain, and feeling so powerless as it was the first important appointment that I had not been at with him in these last seven weeks of appointments, I asked to speak with my Dad. He sounded weak and the conversation was short.  I did not sleep that night at all, in between giving Craig the news, checking in with my mother once she got home, and thinking about how scared my Dad must be.

The next morning sucked.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep and my emotions ran high, but I was committed to more sight seeing before I boarded another set of planes for 24+ hours of travel.  The driver picked me up and we went to Lodhi Gardens.  I walked around, enjoying the ancient architecture that appeared pretty randomly in this park, where there was a the lovely pond and lots of morning people doing their exercise.  I searched for the butterfly conservatory that I believed was there – but it turned out that the Internet posting about this conservatory, where butterflies were bred and caged, was years old.  I saw way too many stray and mangy looking dogs, and I made the mistake of using my ‘Maybelline voice’ on a group of dogs as I walked by, and one of them came towards me – as if he was going to attack.  How incredibly sad that the dogs there are not used to being acknowledged or treated with love by any humans that their first instinct is to attack.  It’s heart breaking.

After another round of chicken curry, a pretend nap at the hotel, and finishing up packing, the driver and I headed out to get me a henna tattoo, and then off to the Surrogacy Center to get my copy of the signed paperwork, which I would need to bring home, have Craig sign, and then immediately return to the Center.

I ran into my Australian couple friends at the Center, and wished them well.  I was told the doctor wanted to see me.  I assumed she would simply tell me how the donor’s lining was, and anticipated she might tell me that the 2nd embryo, the one that was Grade B, slightly deteriorated, may not have thawed well. I absolutely did not expect her and the embryologist to meet me, and tell me the following.

Neither of the embryos made the thawing process.  It was impossible to say what exactly had gone wrong, but there was no embryo to transfer.  No embryo to transfer into the surrogate meant no chances of pregnancy.  No embryo to transfer meant that I had to fly all the way back to Los Angeles with this info in mind.  No embryo to transfer and no husband to hold while crying.  No embryo to transfer which would mean that Finley’s birthday and anniversary of his death would come, and we would not be expecting good news, any news.  No embryo to transfer. Unfuckingbelievable.

And from there I had the driver take me to a park where I smoked a half clove half cigarette. It wasn’t strong enough to hurt my throat and distract me from the emotional pain.  And from there I had the driver take me to this stupid mall, as that was on my list of things to see / do.  It could not have been a more Americanized upscale mall. What the hell did I need to buy at Nike in India that I could not get 3 miles from home?  I saw a tattoo shop, and decided to get a real tattoo.  I had anticipated getting a tattoo while there (in fact had gotten a Hep B shot when I was getting the normal vaccinations just in case), but wasn’t sure until I saw this shop that I was going to do this, and what the image would be. Distraught, confused, exhausted, but committed to the memory of that visual meditation I had at the temple the day before, I had the artist create that image.  It hurt physically, which was a nice relief from the emotional pain and shock that I was experiencing.

I had the driver take me to the airport hours ahead of my 3 AM departure, as I wanted to get on Skype if possible and couldn’t fathom the thought of any more sight seeing. I sat there for about 6 hours, with my left wrist in crazy pain, as I wrote, listened to music, cried unabashedly, and waited for my flight.  I experienced Thanksgiving in 3 time zones, made it to Los Angeles, took a cab home, hugged Maybelline, took a shower, and drove to see my father in the hospital.

My nightmare was continuing, and it was escalating beyond my belief.

Goals & Intentions & Dreams


~ morning walks on the Venice Canals are good exercise & great morning meditations

A new year is coming up, so it is a time to make resolutions.  While I am resolute every, single day, I am a fan of these, as I think re-setting expectations for the year to come is a good use of one’s energy.  It is a re-commitment to one’s dreams; a promise to one’s self; an opportunity for a start-over on a path that may not be working.

In fact, I choose to take a new calendar year, a new age, and the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah as opportunities to re-state my expectations, which means at minimum three times a year I set goals.  Heck, sometimes even after a bad morning, I re-commit the afternoon to being better. I strongly believe in do-overs and to looking forward, and so will embrace the opportunity to do that with a clean slate, starting next week on the new calendar year.

As we enter ’13, I have the cliché goals:  I would like to go to the gym more and I would like to reduce my love affair with sugar.  Read: I would like to lose weight.

Frankly, though, I fear that I am not being reasonable with my goals thereby increasing a chance of disappointment on myself, and dear G-d, I do not need to suffer any more self-criticism than I already experience every – single – day.  People who have experienced the pain I have endured know what I am referring to:  It is the natural order for a mother to protect her child from harm, and the natural order for a woman to get pregnant.   I already failed Finley, my first son, since I was not able to protect him. I know intellectually that there was nothing more to do than what I did, and have made significant progress emotionally with believing that.  But it doesn’t change the math: I had a baby and he died, and as his mother, that is a load of guilt that as someone born half Catholic and half Jewish – I represent way too well.  And as a woman who has suffered deep sadness and angst because of my desire to be a mother and my failure to produce that result – I feel an extraordinary amount of pressure every – single – day.

Every day that I see a mother holding a baby; every day that I go back to the doctor to repeat the same action (or a derivative approach), and hope for a different result; every day that I am not able to honor my son and bring his brother or sister into this world – YET – I criticize myself, and I will not impose any more possibility for disappointment onto myself. The burden is too big; I can only do so much; even Atlas would shrug.

Once I am pregnant, which ostensibly starts after my next embryo transfer, I will not be able to go to the gym – as I will be high risk.  High risk, for anyone who doesn’t know, is the phrase that refers to the level of danger of pregnancy for a woman over a certain age, and a woman who has already been diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, like me.  Likely I will go to a high risk specialist in Santa Monica at around 8 or 9 weeks of pregnancy, one who comes highly recommended by people I know, and he will put me on some sort of modified or strict bed-rest, provide a handicap placard so that my physical exertion is minimal, eventually place me on disability, and so forth.

Funny – someone reading this might think of this as a sentence of sorts, whereas I look forward with GREAT excitement at the prospect of being 8 or 9 weeks pregnant and having an occasion to see this notable doctor.

I am definitely not pregnant now, though we will try naturally this month as our little frozen embryos wait for the right time to be placed inside of my gorgeous and accepting and warm and nurturing uterus (I like to imagine it like Jeanie’s home in the bottle in “I Dream of Jeannie”, only designed for babies), but I am in pre production, so there literally is not enough time in the day to go to the gym and do everything I have to stay ahead of the insane chaos that is my job to manage.  (An exciting job, I might add, the compensation for which – combined with Craig’s – allows us to continue chasing our dream of becoming parents, with costs mounting high enough for me to equate them to a down payment on a home in Los Angeles, though we currently reside in a 1-bedroom rented apartment since we put that potential down payment towards our future child’s or children’s chance at conception.)

Normal people with normal jobs are used to working 8 – 9 hours, maybe commuting for 1 – 2, and then going to the gym or a class of some sorts. But I don’t have a normal job, so since I can’t go to the gym with a sense of commitment and regularity, I refine my goal to at least walk to the end of the Venice pier or around the Venice canals a few times a week (at least we rent in a beautiful neighborhood!), as any form of exercise is better than none, and to just go to the gym and my hikes when I can.

Sober for almost 7 years, having quit cigarettes almost 6 years ago, drinking caffeine only during spurts of time that I know I am not pregnant and that I am not preparing for pregnancy, and having quit drinking my beloved decaf, no sugar added, vanilla latte with soy milk last year, since my acupuncturist said it was like drinking a shake for breakfast, I have kicked all of my bad habits except for candy and fried foods.  The fried foods I am not too worried about; while I hate when the waitress asks that riddle, “hash browns or fruit” and “fries or salad”, I suspect I can make the right decision more often than I have, without ruining every meal. The love affair I have with sugar is a bit more complicated.

Sometimes after a very rough day, having a piece of chocolate and watching a sitcom is my escape.  Sometimes it feels like the only moment that nobody is asking for anything from me.  Sometimes it acts like a sedative.  Or a reward for doing all that I do.  Or it’s a consolation prize for not that but for WHO I don’t have.

But sometimes it’s more than ‘a piece of’ chocolate; sometimes it’s 1/3 of a Lindt candy bar.  But it is my only unhealthy vice, and I hold onto it like a warm hug from someone I love. I would be setting myself up for failure if I go into ’13 stating that I will quit sugar, so perhaps I can refine that goal to something that is progress, but not one of my ridiculous attempts at a perfection that I can not achieve. I shall eat less sugar.  I will put pressure on myself eventually to eat even less sugar than what I start out eating starting next week; maybe I’ll even work on breaking the love affair I have with it.

Even more important than goals going into a new year, I believe, are one’s intentions.  I, for instance, intend to be pregnant in ’13; I will be pregnant this year, as Craig and I have a plan in action that will bring us our dream.  But I will go about getting pregnant differently than I have in these past three years:  I will embrace the knowledge that our baby or babies will come when they are ready, and in order to accept that and to really allow for that, I have to give up all of my delusions of power.

I will still do everything that I can do: I will take the medication at the exact time and in the exact dosage.  I will pray to those two little frozen embryos about which I recently dreamt, that are sitting in a freezer in Tarzana.  I will maintain my schedule that anticipates when my next period will come, after I finish shooting a commercial in New York in January, to determine when the next doctor’s appointment will be, at which we’ll decide if we go straight into more stimulation to create more embryos or work with the ones that are already waiting for us.

I will continue to do all of these things. But I will release the outcome to the universe.  I will know that when I listen to the universe, the universe talks to me.  I will accept that after every thing that I do as prescribed, there is a bit of magical fairy dust that needs to wash over our lives.  I can commit to recognizing when my ability to control has reached its limit.  I shall commit to being still in the knowledge that our dreams will come true.

While I am metaphorically chasing my butterflies with every ounce of my very core, I recognize that sometimes when you sit with your arms outstretched and your palms wide open, butterflies will land.

To a great new year, and to dreams coming true.

Magical Moment


It’s 12.21.12.   The Mayans predicted it would be the end of the world.  That idea didn’t scare me, maybe because I am more and more spiritually centered in that which I can’t control; maybe because I believe in reincarnation; maybe because if the world was over my hurt and struggle in this life would be gone.

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Outwardly, I am not full of sadness and dread.  I’d say I am a pretty upbeat person. I think I’m affable, and I likely give most people the perception that I’m happy.  At a holiday party recently an associate said she thought I was always in a good mood.  A different associate at this gathering quickly corrected this, somewhat jokingly, saying that the 1st woman must not know me very well, and of course she was right (though the 2nd woman was simply referring to the level of drama with which she sees me at work, since she sits closer to me), but I think likely most people who don’t know me, the real me, the one who is writing this, the one who cries sometimes to and from work or in the shower, without any control – since grief does, as Joan Didion has written, come over me often like a rollercoaster – with so much abrupt force that it can make me keel over and need to catch my breath, think I am a happy person.

I am that person who smiles at strangers on the street.  Or returns a resounding “Good morning!” to the person on the hiking trail.  I will make small talk in line at the bank.  I have even become friends with the women at the dry cleaners.

But underneath all of that optimism is truly a void so big and a longing so deep that I am, as a matter of fact, a sad woman, and so the end of the world wouldn’t have been so bad.

That is not to say that I would opt out on my own.  Hell, no.  First off, having lost close friends way too early, I do not take being alive for granted.  Like my dad would say, “You know who wants to be 82?  An 81 year old.”  I look forward to a new day or in this case, next year, because I hope for promise.  Promise of a dream I know is meant to come true.

(Of course it’s worth noting that having to keep up this level of hope, the decision that I make to be optimistic every day, is exhausting.  I’ve never done a marathon, but I am positive that these fertility efforts are harder than climbing Mount Everest; 12 egg retrievals later, I am as strong mentally as a triathaloner is physically.  I have stamina.)

And along with the fact that I am a sad person who has a tremendous amount of hope for the new year, I have to say, I hate the holidays, specifically Christmas.

I hate that parents get to celebrate for the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time with their child, and that I don’t.

I hate that parents dragged their child to see Santa Clause at the local mall, and that I can’t.

I hate that they send me their stupid fucking holiday cards, with their beautiful children posed for a picture.

I hate that they take it for granted.

I am sad that we don’t get to do any of those things.  Again.  This year.

And it’s not just me as a bereaved mother or as a woman struggling with fertility that feels the pressure of Christmas, like a loaded gun being pointed at my back.

Holidays are rough for SO many people, and I think most people are blissfully unaware of that.  Some people are newly widowed.  Some people, at 10 or at 50 years old, are orphans this year for their first time.  Some people are starting chemotherapy.  Others found out that their chemotherapy didn’t work.  Some people just lost their jobs, and can’t buy any presents for their children this year.  I could go on. And on.

Almost 3 years ago I was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and I shared that I had lost my son.  I had shared at this meeting countless times over the years – sometimes commenting on what that morning’s speaker had said and sometimes about something that I had been feeling, but what was different about this meeting is that nobody responded as I had wanted, no, needed them to, to my heartfelt and incredibly personal share.  The people who shared after me talked about financial struggles or relapsing or fights with their families, things I had related to so many times, but by now found so incredibly small and insignificant compared to what I was experiencing.

So I decided to leave the meeting early, and as I traipsed across the sand on the beach from where this meeting was held, a man named Sandy came after me.  Sandy was a gruff man.  He often spoke in his shares about what it felt like to be free after having been incarcerated.  He sometimes read poems he’d written.  Always smoked Marlboro reds.  And I had never related to him on any level.  But there he was, calling after me on the sands of Venice Beach that Saturday morning in January of 2010.  “Miss?  Miss?” – I heard, and I turned around.  He came up to me, took his sunglasses off and grabbed my hand with both of his hands, and said, “I’m really sorry about your son.”   At the time, I didn’t think there was anything profound about the moment, though I did appreciate the effort.

This morning I was driving to work.  The world hadn’t ended, so I had a huge day ahead of me.  Christmas is in 4 days.  We have a stack of holiday cards at home that I have tossed aside like a true scrooge.  I have a great deal of resentment that another holiday is coming up without a child to love and protect; being the mother to an angel is just not the same.  And I was tired and cranky as my insomnia is alive and well.

And I saw Sandy, the man from that AA meeting – one I haven’t returned to since that time – crossing the street.  He looked the same; rough around the edges.  He was limping; I don’t remember him limping before.  And I realized that my hand went to cover my heart.  I did not do this consciously; seeing him brought back such a strong memory so quickly that my reflex was to hold my heart, almost as if to hug it from the pain that had immediately swelled up at that emotion, as quickly as a dip on a roller coaster ride, at having seen him.

The light turned green and I drove on to my coffee place, remembering the humanity of that moment differently than I had first experienced it, that Saturday in January, almost 3 years ago.

About 5 minutes later, after I got my coffee, I saw him walking again.  It struck me that he had walked pretty quickly from Marine to Pico, and also that when I’d first noticed him he was walking in the opposite direction of where he was at this moment.  Odd.

And I debated what to do; this is what I consider a G-d shot moment – a moment in which I think that there is a divine reason why I am seeing this person twice in one morning.  And why had he switched directions on his walk?  I debated and debated and then quickly pulled over on the side of the road and rushed out and yelled, “Sandy!”  He turned around and came towards me and I said something like…

“I used to go that Saturday morning meeting on the beach…. And 3 years ago I lost my son and when I went to that meeting and shared that, you came after me as I was leaving to tell me how sorry you were to hear this… I didn’t know you then, I don’t know you now, but I want you to know that I saw you a few minutes ago and simply seeing you reminded me on a deeply emotional level of how much that moment meant to me, you coming up to me on the beach; it made me put my hand to my heart…. So when I saw you again just now, I realized I had to pull over and say thank you. Thank you for being a generous human.  For being so kind.  I want you to know that your words did make a difference…”

I took off my glasses now, instinctually, so that we could really connect.

He was moved to tears.  He thanked me for thanking him.  I extended my hand.  He pulled in for a hug, and kissed me.  I thanked him again.  He thanked me again. I got back in my car, waved through the window, and went on to work.  I debated offering him money but then stopped myself, because our connection was beyond anything physical, so much bigger than everything commercial, and I did not want to pollute that with a monetary contribution to a man that I outwardly judged as perhaps needing financial help.

It was a Magical Moment.  One of those that makes me feel lucky, grateful to be alive, and happy that the world is not over.

THAT is what I will celebrate this Christmas.