The Seeds – Chapter 1

Feb 21

The wound is the place where the light enters you.  She read Rumi’s words.  It was eleven o’clock in the morning but the blinds were closed and the room was dark.  She wanted it that way.   She read the words again.  For the first time she noticed the tiny ray of light entering her darkness through a corner in the blind.  It fell on her chest as she lay on her bed in the darkness.  The wound is the place where the light enters you.  The words insulted her.  She wanted no part of the light.   Why had she never noticed this light coming in through the hole in the blind before?  How long had she been in this room, this prison of her own making?  She wanted to die. Rumi had been her favorite poet before.  Before everything felt apart.  Before and after, these were the words that defined her life now.

It had taken a long time for her to find her way back to his writings after her loss.  How long had she been hiding in this room?  Weeks?  Months? What day was it?  Hers was a wound so deep that healing seemed impossible.  A deep gash, then a festering, seeping open sore.  Her agony both physical and emotional tormented her.  The least bit of stimulation was too painful to endure.  She could barely force herself to eat enough to sustain her life.  Pounds fell away.  She sat for hours in the darkness weeping inconsolably.  Then there were no more tears, only dry sobs in the darkness.  Without her tears she had finally turned to her books for comfort.   She searched the dog eared pages on the shelves for some word, some line to spark a desire to go on.   The wound is the place where the light enters you.  For two more weeks she had read those words every day and watched the light come in through the hole in the window to rest on her as she lay in the bed.   One afternoon she turned the page and read new words from Rumi.

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless’d; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.

She read the words over and over trying to find solace in them.   She had not been raised believing in reincarnation.  She believed in angels and she had believed in God before.  Before it happened.  Was he soaring with the angels?  Could she find comfort in his potential afterlife?  Was he more in dying?  Reincarnation, could she believe that?  If she did would she see him again in this life and not know it?  Was he closer to God?  Could she still believe there was a God?

The words at the end of the poem pierced her heart.  Oh, let me not exist!  How many times had she prayed those words since that day?   Not in the way that Rumi meant.  In the true sense of disappearing.

She read on scanning the pages for something to hold on to. Don’t grieve.  Anything you lose comes around in another form.

She needed to hold on to this even if she wasn’t sure what she believed anymore.  He was part of her and always would be.  That she knew for certain.  He was in her heart, in her soul just as he had been in her womb.  Some part of him had never left that deep inner part of her being.  She had that.  Her husband, Connor, had nothing.  His grief was different.

It had taken more than a year for her to be able to leave her room for more than a few minutes.   Rumi became her therapist, each day finding just the right words to get her out of bed and move toward the light.   Why should I stay at the bottom of a well, when a strong rope is in my hand?

Day by day she began to spend more time outside her dark prison.  Her brother Richard would call every morning to check in, encourage her, and push her forward.  She didn’t always answer his calls.  Sometimes she just sat at the kitchen table staring at the refrigerator door filled with photographs of him and his crayon drawings.

She would listen for the sound of Connor’s car driving away before she got up.  She didn’t want to see him.  His eyes were filled with accusations.  She couldn’t bear to look at him.  His gaze, pronouncing sentence, certain of her guilt.  Most of the time he just turned away.  They hadn’t shared a bed since the week after the funeral.  He never touched her anymore.  She longed for his forgiveness and his comfort.  It never came.  He longed for things too.  She couldn’t provide them either.

It was as though he needed to pretend Jack never existed.

In time she started getting up before he left for work.  They would sit and have a cup of coffee before he left.  Two ghosts living in the same house.  They talked about the weather, the news, and his work but never about Jack.   His name could not be spoken between the two of them.  Their marriage disintegrated slowly, a casualty of collateral damage.  Unspoken thoughts and feelings hung on the walls and in the air.  Meg felt that Connor blamed her for not being home with the Epi-pen.  The accusation was there every time she looked at him.  She didn’t need him to blame her; she already blamed herself.

As their marriage unwound he sought comfort in the bottle.  She wouldn’t go there.  Her grandfather had become an alcoholic in his thirties after her grandmother died.  She knew that was a path to another kind of hell.


On this morning the fog lifted as she gazed across the table at Connor.  What she saw was shocking.  He was gaunt and his skin was grey with a yellow cast.  His eyes, vacant and far away were no longer white.  His appearance assaulted her.  Her grandfather had looked this same way years ago as he drank his life away.   Connor rose from the table without saying goodbye.

She listened for his car pulling out of the drive.  If Connor looked like THAT what must she look like?  Walking the hallway as if to the gallows she entered the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror for the first time in over a year.  She dropped her robe to the floor.  She stood naked staring at her image or was it someone else?  Her once shiny and thick brown hair was thin and dull, gone lifeless from lack of nourishment.  Her eyes had the far away look of a mad woman with dark circles set deep below what used to be sparkling blue eyes.  The same eyes Jack had.  Her skin hung from her clearly visible collarbones slinking down her body to her ribs.  Her breasts, once perky and round, were almost gone.  She had the appearance of a pre-pubescent street waif.

She wept.  This time was different.  She wept for herself.  The tears flowed without interruption until her cell phone rang, tucked in the pocket of her robe on the floor.  She didn’t answer it.

She opened the shower door and turned on the water as hot as it would go.  She had only taken baths since Jack died wanting to drown herself each time she settled in to the water.  The sensation of the spray from the showerhead would have been too much for her to take.  Now she wanted to feel something.  She stepped in to the stream and closed the door.  Nobody, nothing had touched her in so long.  The hot water burned in a way that made her feel alive.  She closed her eyes, taking in the sensations.  The spray pricked her scalp like tiny needles.  The water rolled down her face mingling with and washing away her tears.  She didn’t want to die anymore.  She wanted to feel again, to feel something besides sadness.

She stayed there, lost in the sensation for a long time; long enough for the hot water to turn cold and snap her back to reality.  She stepped out in to the steam filled room shivering.  She took the towel from the rack and wiped the steam from the mirror.  The face looking back at her was different now. The hot and cold water brought color to her cheeks.  There was something beyond the artificial boost in her appearance.  There was a tiny spark in the eyes that wasn’t there before – the light.

Lifting her robe from the floor she pulled her cell phone out of pocket to check the missed call.  She knew it was Richard before she looked.  Most people stop calling after a few weeks, especially when you won’t call them back or see them when they try to visit.  It gets awkward and depressing.  Not Richard.  He was really her only family.  Their parents were both dead.  It was just the two of them and a few distant cousins back east.

She placed the phone on the chest in her bedroom as she pulled back the curtains and opened the blinds.  She couldn’t remember when there had last been daylight in this room.  She opened the top drawer of her chest looking at the underwear and bras.  After a few tries she gave up and resorted to an old sports bra.  All the others were just too large to wear on her severely diminished figure.  She pulled on an old pair of jeans that had been too small the year Jack died.  They hung on her hips, a good three inches of slack.  Finally she put on a white t-shirt and pulled her hair back in a ponytail.  When was the last time she had gotten dressed?  She couldn’t remember.

She picked up her phone and dialed Richard’s number.

“Hello, Meg.  How is today going? Are you all right?   I tried to call you earlier.  I worry when you don’t answer.  Tell me you are not back in that dark room.” he launched right in after recognizing her number from the caller id.

“No, Richard, I’m not in the dark.  Today is a good day.  I looked at myself in the mirror today.  Really looked at myself for the first time since Jack died.  My God, Richard, I look awful.  I know you’ve been trying to tell me.  I finally saw for myself.  I’m dressed.  I don’t know what for but its a step.  Today I don’t want to die. “

“You need a purpose Meg, a reason to get up everyday.  Have you given any more thought to what we talked about last week?”  Richard prodded.

“I haven’t.  I promise I will though.  I need to wrap my head around what happened before I can do that.  I haven’t been able to process what happened.  I need to know why.  That’s my purpose to start with.  I am going to figure out how and why this happened.”

“Well, it’s a start,” he encouraged.  “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Ok.  I promise to answer.  Thank you, Richard.  Thank you for not giving up on me, for seeing that I was still in here somewhere.  I don’t know what I would do without you.  Talk to you tomorrow.”  She pressed end and put the phone on the chest.

Her mind often wandered back to the day Jack died.  He was only eight years old.  He had just finished third grade.  He had been playing at the neighbors, which he had done many times before.  The neighbor knew about his peanut allergy and was careful not to feed him anything with nuts or food processed in a factory with nuts.  That was his only known allergy.  He hadn’t taken his epi-pen with him because he was so close to home and had never had a problem at the neighbor’s.  She was running errands in town when Alice had called her.

Jack was having trouble breathing.  She had called 911 but he was getting worse fast.  She didn’t have his epi-pen or any Benadryl.  They had both agreed it was too risky to leave him to go look for the pen.  Alice had waited with him for the ambulance.  Meg had agreed to meet them at the hospital.

She drove like mad to get there pulling up behind the ambulance in the emergency drive-up.  She knew immediately something wasn’t right when they opened the door of the ambulance.  The paramedics looked upset and they were in a terrible rush.   She followed desperately behind them shouting, “That’s my son.  That’s my son.”  The nurses wouldn’t let her go beyond the waiting area.  She just stood there with Alice, pacing back and forth waiting for some news. It wasn’t long before a doctor in a white coat walked out with a grim look and said the two most horrible words she had ever heard.

“He’s gone. “

Two words, those two simple words changed her world forever.



  1. Pat Gregory /

    Whoa! I may need to read a couple more chapters. That first one is a little dark for me. Reminds me a little of Gillian Flynn or a darker Jodi Picoult. Way to go Martha.

  2. Tami Tate /

    Love it.

  3. Melanie /

    Love it. It really expressed a lot of how depression and loss feels. How it feels waking up from it and how long it takes! Thanks!

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