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A Long Cold Winter

Homelessness begins before you leave home

When I woke up the next day, I entered a world that was completely foreign to the one that I had known when my mother was with us. Although I have no conscious memory, just about everything had changed – life as I had known it was over. My home overnight had gone from a happy joyful place to the equivalent of the brain damage ward with hardly any visitors and no staff. It was kind of like a ghost house with people living there but with very little interaction, sharing, connection, feeling of love and support.


I had gone from an experience of total oneness with another beautiful human being to practically the exact opposite ~ a feeling of separation, duality and surrounded mostly by two people who became very distant in my life.

Not only did I lose my mom but also a younger sibling as well.  In fact, it was like I had lost my whole family as everyone was so deeply affected by her passing that we had all changed making it much harder for us to relate to each other. It was like the flame of love had gone out.  I likely lost complete trust in my father for I'm sure, deep down, I held him responsible for her disappearance.

Apparently, in being taken to the family doctor around that time, I was diagnosed with having Nephritis – inflammation of the kidneys.  I was put on a special diet and was supposed to stay mostly in my crib and not get too excited.  In Chinese medicine, kidneys are where fear is stored but most Western doctors wouldn't have know that back then.

One of the few memories from those days is my dad's mother coming over when I was going to sleep and singing me a lullaby and one of my dad's friends playing a funny game with me on the bed called 'squash'.

In the days following my dad's return, I wouldn't eat unless my maternal grandmother would come over to feed me. Years later she said that I was shattered.  I had this impression of humpty dumpty who fell off the wall and then had to put all his pieces back together again.

When spring arrived I had developed a fear of ants – it was like without the feeling of protection and safety that I had felt with my mom, the world had turned into a scary place.

I grew from that day in a much different direction than I would have had she returned and had her third child.  Growing up without her love left a huge hole in the lives of so many but mostly my dad, my brother and myself.  My mom was like the sunshine that held the whole family together.


Like a comet flashing in the night sky, she wasn't here on earth for a long time, but my sense is that she brightened the lives of many ~ her spirit truly echoes across space and time.

Metaphorically, it was like my inner 'temple' had been shattered.  Even though I wasn't consciously aware of it, there would be many 'tools' that I would need to find to help re-build that inner temple.  It was like I was on some kind of 'treasure hunt' without a map or a guide and was led down many dead end paths that made the journey much longer and more difficult.

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