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unborn babies

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Babies have been rearing their little heads in my life recently — metaphorically and otherwise. Two weeks ago someone contacted me to arrange a Jizo ceremony* for friends who’d had a miscarriage and wanted to honour and let go of their little one. Last night, while passing a towel to ~P~ as she stepped out of the shower, I said something about “thirty years from now” to which she replied, “I’ll be well into menopause and you’ll be dead.” No babies for us, alas. Then this morning after a breakfast of French toast, ~C~ spoke of her own miscarriage four years ago, one that even her parents don’t know about.

Tears come easily. My friend’s loss, kept as a secret. The couple who’ll soon gather at our zendo to sew red garments in remembrance. And the realization that I’ll never be a father and a startling reminder of old age and missed opportunities.

* This old post describes a previous Jizo ceremony I did. I’ll soon be offering a similar one in Victoria BC for anyone who’s lost anyone, not just babies. My teacher Jan Chozen Bays MD is the author of the definitive Jizo Bodhisattva: modern healing and traditional Buddhist practice. She regularly offers Jizo ceremonies at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon. image:


3 responses »

  1. Awe, man, this is a sad post. And that’s ok. Thank you for sharing it. Jizo has been a part of my practice for years; just chanting his mantra brings a kind of ease into my life. Take care.

  2. The ancient poet
    Who pitied monkeys for their cries,
    What would he say if he saw
    This child crying in the autumn wind?

    from Bashō‘s 1684 diary in Bays, J.C. (2002). Jizo Bodhisattva: modern healing and traditional Buddhist practice. Tokyo/Boston: Tuttle, p. 41.

    May all being be at ease.

  3. anonymous nurse

    babies and miscarriages

    i too have been thinking about them both. The two go hand in hand … recently for baby twins, one healthy and the other with an anoxic brain injury, a complication of birth. I cannot imagine what the parents go through every day looking from one baby to the other and wondering what might have been.


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