A Brave Lament Film



gosh I don't know how old I was but 2005 I had one buddy he was going out with a few girls and needed a wingman to just kind of help get his back cuz he's a little nervous and I had my eyes on Chris house like me and I can see this girl's funny cute I didn't really talk to him we're walking down the street there's a bunch of us friends and he hears me talking about teaching cycling and he runs in front and pulls up his pant leg and he's like Phil my calves I cycle pretty good-sized calves I love you have time to show my kid house but at some point I can show you my massive calves so I used those to my advantage and I'm like that's really weird no I'm not gonna throw your cast it was a little awkward but it worked she was intrigued we were like out and we were just kind of like bar hopping till like 2:00 in the morning and he and I are outside of the bar drinking water talking about Kierkegaard and he's like crazy philosophers that was the beginning of a long journey oh that uh no you're the one for me but the words [Applause] ready one two three Chrissy's pregnant one two three Christie's pregnant we're having a baby I would say in anticipation of a first child we were wildly free I mean I think there was just like an abandoned play in the whole process it was like fun to give life Andrew and Christy are such they get really excited about things dreaming and imagining so when they were pregnant that kid was alive he had an identity yet a name he had we all felt like we knew him already I think the way that they were so anticipatory of their son like I was connected to that they live very outwardly and so I had an attachment to brave I don't know that I've experienced two people more excited to meet their baby you know they would talk about like what he was doing in there in the womb and like how you know like they would have conversations with him and we all kind of you know felt pretty responsive to that we were I was wildly new static wildly naive and just wildly hopeful my body birth to a baby and it's like this powerful moment and then this really futile like infantile feeling I could not believe that he wasn't alive and I just remember like falling to the ground and just crumbling it's like they have enemy of everything being so wrong in the midst of something being so right I couldn't believe the courage my wife had in that moment and I wanted to match match your courage that means half as brave as she was I so I held them in the hospital which was one of the greatest honors of my life I remember when Andrew handed him to me he was like you need to remember our son like I'm willing to let you hold this boy but you have to commit to remembering him we kept him in the room with us for 12 hours it's a little bit crazy making holding death that close for that long and the moment neither of us had a choice right like it wasn't a choice we had to choose we had to choose to do death the best we could whatever that means looking back if anything I wish I would have captured all of those moments so I could remember that woman because she was so free and she was so wild and she was so excited and I don't think that I can tap in to that kind of excitement like I used to I don't think I'll ever feel that again Hey breakfast kitty-kitty-kitty o's breakfast well the kids listen to me five seconds to come down here you're all in trouble forever that's what well how do you ask yeah we had wilder like a year after we lost brave which was soon and we had so much anxiety Kristy struggled you know with deep anxiety panic attacks for at least two years after part of me went back and forth of like struggling with it but also hiding my own anxiety to try to be strong for Christie but yet I was so scared to I was so scared that we were gonna lose Wilder and it's interesting how it's I think it's more particular to Wilder than it even is to Salem and maybe just because of how close we had him from after losing brave love you guys I was in my second year of being a private practice therapist when we lost brave as I reinterred the work just kind of allowed clients to engage with me any questions they had it is being very open with my heart ache and open with my grief and even giving my clients permission to enter their own stories of heartache and grief and me honoring my own story I felt like even just freed my clients all the more to engage their own I think I told you guys the story of working in the oncology unit and women who are getting mastectomy x' and i sat with a couple and the husband just said I'm still hormonal I still want sex my wife doesn't want it I'm not as attracted to her her body has been harmed she doesn't have breasts anymore what do I do I'm not attracted to her I'm sitting there like geez this is my like second year working in the oncology unit and I'm like I'm so glad I still have a supervisor because I have no idea what to do right I go to my supervisor and I say what do I do and she says the most incredible intimacy is when we enter the wounded place I'm working with people one-on-one in therapy to kind of free them and to find their voice and help them step into their voice and in the classroom I feel the same way like I am trying to educate people to then help other people find their voice and step into it and the only way I've learned to step into my own voice has been to hold and face my own tragedy and my own grief if you have come here hoping to be a credit we're giving some sort of reassurance that everything is okay I think I will find yourself dissatisfied today we are unknown insuring Christie are on down I've never been through anything like this before and I love him I love talking manners get his and you can't see it in the future but his arms are covered with black hair [Applause] as we prepare to go to the hospital with the evening many times between the is Christy and you asked me how you do this like into Little Joe the truth is I didn't know what needed to transpire in the next few days with the courage that I couldn't comprehend to me my role I simply reminded to you but what clickable together though it was nearly impossible to stay the presidency with their hands holding over you slept you spoke to your son often throughout labor right you would say if you post you to this world and I heard him speak loving intrusion right back to you we got my smile it's interesting when I think about how I survived my sorrow I can only think of stories images in my head and I remember we got in the elevator and went to see the ultrasound and it was the eeriest MDS sound because you could see there was no heartbeat right away and we got in the car and drove to Indian Lisa's house and and there were people there everybody just kind of coming over to our house somehow our our house turned into this really sacred just space of lamenting and trying out it was this really intense just wailing there were so many people there like all the people who knew brave was coming any minute and they're just weeping like no one even said anything to me not even a word think no one said anything they just were weeping when I walked in I didn't want to be alone and get swallowed up by my grief and then somehow their example taught me taught me what mattered it matters to not be alone it matters to us to be loved it matters to be touched it matters to have a place to talk about it I think we love our kids differently because of how much we lost and how much we didn't get the love brave and the way we wanted to I think we just love them really intensely which I think allows them to feel safely attached to us and more free to be that their true selves in a really cool way pregnant I understand you're calling to schedule yes I am I think I'm more hopeful because we've had a couple successful pregnancies and kill more beautiful kids and yet there's still something that in my heart that's stopping me just that's whispering to me no Andrew don't don't get excited don't hope I feel like it's part of the process you know I mean I just feel like relief doesn't come when right now relief will come when I hear a heartbeat but I mean then yeah it's our story relief won't come until there's a baby in our arms that's live and healthy that's just how it is for us the fear of being mocked has come up for me with death like there's a sense of when I choose life the only thing that can mock me is death and I've had to war that with anxiety where I either choose to keep living or I just I become crazy and my anxiety because I'm so fearful of more death and there's something about being in the midst of a pregnancy that I'm always kind of at the mercy of death mocking me that's where I think play in life is the only way I can respond the minute I get in the car with these women it's it's complete ease I've been at several of their births I have been in deep grief with them and your relationships catapult to another level when you've experienced that kind of hardship together and done it well so to face grief head-on and to greet it as you would any other emotion and to spend time with it and to not run from it the women who surrounded me taught me how to keep breathing taught me that ritual is necessary to not go crazy and I can figure that all out in psychology it says the same things but it didn't say it the way doing life with these women said it they were my teachers I think that jackets gonna fit it's a little big but that's you think we should keep it or should you try on another one it's cool which way you going all right should we follow you can we follow you let's go right hand we're just gonna stop by him we're just gonna in the beginning it feels as if we were visiting the grave multiple times a day you couldn't pull me away from the grave I mean I was there every day you know sometimes multiple times a day okay jump in how brave you 11 it was no longer kind to myself and my own process to go and then that brings up guilt like am i doing enough or am i loving him enough and I still wrestled with that at times and yet then my kinder moments I think I'm doing what's best for for us for him for me I think one of the hardest parts after losing brave was basically engaging people who didn't understand they didn't like seeing me hurt they didn't like seeing me grieve they didn't like seeing me write blog after blog of heartache basically sharing my grief and people wanted to fix me and yet their ways of helping actually hurt worse I remember someone wrote me in a short email and they basically said you know I was praying for you and God told me you were going to have another kid I got so furious like how dare you even if it's right it doesn't matter be with me now feel the pain now of the son I lost don't talk to me about a kid I don't know yet and I couldn't tell you how many people basically didn't know how to engage with me or just stopped or just silent we're just cowards they didn't know what to say so they said nothing at all and the pain of silence was worse than the pain of them saying something foolish and stupid because we don't know what to say in the midst of heartache and that's okay just say I have no idea what to say but can I be with you and that's enough and that's what many of my friends did and many of my friends didn't do when you lose something so precious yeah you don't want to be the one to you know you want someone else to talk about it someone else to bring his name up just to speak his name out loud because he's always in me are always with with us and so it's always there good so I think again I'm glad to have done enough emotional work to know what I need yeah in the process like yeah I think we trust you in the right looks like like I see what the women do and how much they need that like cuz I I mean even as they have these like rituals and memories together I don't I don't know that they're necessarily directly engaging the memory of brave or I mean I probably try sometimes but you know it seems like that's not what's that's not the most important thing is just being with each other yeah I think whatever things so there's a way that we're doing that that's our version of it you know that right because I think I could see like if we said hey we're gonna have really you know we're gonna have a really intentional kind of ritual time together to remember brave like that could feel sort of forced or weird for you or for us you know so yeah it's it's interesting to think about this what like the basic needs of a dreaming man a grieving community of men totally if you actually feel your grief like you don't actually have a choice right you just got you just gotta got to do what's what's inside and yet it's like I felt that of like got to be stronger you felt that with us no yeah I think just in general just like in regards to living in this world being a man having a penis like I've got as I'm out be strong and I can't show my vulnerability or show my weakness in moments of incredible brokenness and I'm wondering how much that plays out and I'm just our normal engagement and I think it's unconscious because it's so deep right embedded in us yeah part of what I've heard from you guys is that this child of yours is situated in a greater story the sorrow that you feel for her is different from the sorrow that you felt with the child in the fall and with brave this child that you're grieving over is it's just different this time and that's okay and that part of what we have to do is remember where this child how would this child is connected to the life that's here to the life that has gone already to brave we're doing ritual everywhere however we're engaging in life and however we turn off the intensity of it is where you're doing ritual as we're gaining in morale loss our resilience is pretty depleted we don't have creativity around how to build resilience so we look to how we regulate it we look to ritual to see how do I make sense of that so I come to you with a body that's broken that's scarred and what is it to injure the scar that is the sacred place but we don't talk about loss we don't understand that loss is an invitation to the most sacred place a lot of your clients won't have creativity for their own bodies and for marking and making meaning of what's happening as loss is increasing which is why I want you to study what you were taught how were you taught to cope how were you taught to relate what was regulation like in your own story and then therefore what kind of resilience do you have how do you mark and make meaning of loss I love to listen to my voice now before it was really quiet and uncertain and shaky and now it just feels like that's the best me and at the end of the day I rest because it's a good voice but it's taking a lot to name it good there's something in doing life with each of you through like the most terrible moments that also like make them like there's something continuous intangible about the moments where we're like just together and I'm just speaking freely and telling sharing story being put to sleep and having this baby taken out of me I'm like disoriented with like I'm grasping for life and I'm grasping to create life wherever I can and I think I'm just I'm tired of being embarrassed and being quiet and being silent and I'm a grown woman who and I think the thing that keeps calling me too is I'm gonna have to teach my daughter like she'll carry a story depending on the way that I tell her the story and but I'm learning it too like for the first time in a way really it's like in that ancestry that we've been taught to like not tell the story it's like a Collette more of a collective story than just you you know it's like all of our story that we share and like there's something a break getting when we of that cycle when we actually speak it is part of the gift that we give each other is the collective story of life and grief together joy and anticipation and suffering in and none is as rich if we don't have with all those elements tonight like in the ritual it's like I don't want to do this I don't even know if I feel anything like I don't want to do this and yet I'm like I'm mothering and coaching my own body through what I've watched you have to do with my clients of like it's going to come up again Christy like so mark it like walk with your body through it teach your body mother your body through this grief works on its own timetable and then you have to honor crane just as you honor the life the amount of grief that you allow yourself to experience I I can hardly bear to look at some time I want you to know that like we can hold some of this grief for you so you don't have to hold yourself I think as I tell this story tell my story I think of all women and I think of all men who are choosing in their everyday smallest most mundane moments to keep breathing and to create something and to create life even if it's their own life putting my hands with the kids I was so mundane we do it like we do it so often just like playing in the sand but I always have this flashback of burying brave and feeling like it was my only time too I play with him in the dirt I replay it in my head and it makes these moments really sacred we were just reflecting that the reason we celebrate to the level we celebrate is because of how we've known death and so I want us to celebrate more and be better at celebration and at marking and so this is this is our mark I feel like you know this is our celebration of the day that we were both born and brought into this life and that's how I think Braves death has marked us there's many ways but how we celebrate its particular to how we've grieved my dad's an OB Ginn so I'd seen a lot of pregnant women but I've never seen two parents so excited so jovial and so innocent and like like what could go wrong like like children you know like and I've also never seen people so crushed when we're expecting a baby we expect to share life there are certain people's faces that we can't wait to tell we can't wait to see their joy and their surprise and those people when they find out that a baby's coming they start having these little hopes they hope with us their hugs before bedtime or seashell hunts on the beach our dance parties on the trampoline I help these hopes for brave as I know many of you did too when instead of life death came Christi and Andrew had to come to a crossroads of whether or not to share him and whether or not to share brave because the task of holding and caring for your stillborn son is too great for a mother and father we took turns holding him singing to him when giving him to you Christi and Andrew we must I do not remember my life a life this life with or without brave okay I told something that I always think about was the moment that we went to bury yourself and we saw this machine coming up to put the dirt on top of them and we all knew that was our job we will be this is our work no matter how tired you better help broke him you all work to exhaust it this is still the work you make visible what I want so much to be invisible your marriage it was hard to watch you guys grieve differently and throw grief at each other and anger at you know and it was so hard and there was more anger for me because of what you got you guys used to play like so easily you know and then now to see you guys I'm strong and I feel like in this season you're in first bloom after a forest fire and and as everyone's speaking here I just saw I saw that ashes they're landing on everybody's heads and in people's hair and on our food and I think that there's just there's just a beauty and people who are willing to bloom again after being decimated I think that's a gift and so bless you yeah because of you all we are semi-normal because because of you are like we're alive so thank you for carrying our broken hearts and being with us in this and continued to six years later like right like the cost is high it sucks and yet we truly believe as we continue to honor what is true we'll continue to feel a liberation the deeper goodness and connectedness with each other to the level that we've grieved is a level that we've actually found laughter to play that was our choice after death the hardest thing after you bury something and something so important is just to have pleasure even just to to be naive again to dance a game to sing again I think I'm just aware I see brave moments in anybody who chooses to keep creating after they buried who needs or like you need like we all do why to see through [Applause] [Applause] you

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