I looked over at the sideboard in our dining nook and hidden under the collected 'gotta get that out of the reach of our child' was a shrine I have had set up in every home since I found this statue at a local knickknack store. The incredible power of this piece struck me so hard at a visceral level in the store that I burst into tears. I handed it to my parents, gave them my credit card so they could pay, and went outside to smoke a cigarette and collect myself.
Since that day, the statue of the Weeping Buddha has held a prominent and honored place in my home. It has been a constant reminder that showing your grief, your sorrow puts you in a position of incredible strength and vulnerability all at the same time.
You might be wondering why this is relevant today of all days.
The power of hindsight made me realize how close I came to destroying my family again. Here's the scenario:
- I have septoplasty (nose surgery to fix my deviated septum) - I regain consciousness in the recovery room and all I can smell or taste is blood. I profess to be in a profound amount of pain, not realizing that the majority of the pain I was feeling that I couldn't deal with wasn't physical.
- The doctor puts me on Vicodin. As first few days pass by, the intrusive recollections from the constant smell and taste of blood become debilitating. I am able to pretend coherence but began to depend very heavily on the mind and body numbing effects of the Vicodin.
- Then my supply started to run short and I started cutting the pills in half to draw out the dose. I finally relented and called up the doctor's office who prescribed me another 20 doses of the medication. I disappeared back into lala land.
- The Vicodin ran out yesterday and I knew I couldn't even pretend that I was still in the kind of pain that was necessary to warrant another prescription. I woke up from the nightmares like clockwork, still smelling blood and still tasting it. The emotional pain I felt was devastating - something I couldn't describe to my wife, to anyone. The pain and frustration I felt yesterday led to my anger overflowing in every possible direction except at my daughter.
- In the evening, I left my parents' house after a tiff about nothing and stormed home, leaving my wife and daughter there (separate cars). I thought about the unbearable pain I was feeling and considered how I could convince the docs that I needed more Vicodin. I had come to depend on the numbing effects to get me through the pain I was feeling. I passed out in a depressed sleep. When I woke up, it became very quickly apparent to me that I was the source of the problem. I apologized to my wife and went to bed early, hoping to actually stay asleep. I woke up around midnight, again. I paced in the dark for over two hours wondering what the hell I was going to do. I turned on the overhead fume hood light above the stove and the glint of polished wood caught my attention out of my periphery.
The Weeping Buddha - A corner of it was barely visible under the crap that had collected on top of it that we had put there to keep out of my daughter's ever expanding reach. I pulled it out, I wiped off the dust and sat and stared at it for over an hour. I returned to bed with a level of spiritual serenity I haven't felt in ages.
Once again, I had dodged a very dangerous bullet. You never think you could become one of those 'weak junkies' addicted to pain killers or other prescription drugs. I now know how insidious and dangerous that particular addiction can be. Something at a deep and personal level told me something was vitally and dangerously wrong. It took seeing my Weeping Buddha again and meditating about my loss, about the sorrow I feel that allowed me to put the pain back into some semblance of proper perspective.
Yes I still smell and taste blood every day. It's not my imagination. My nose is still healing from the invasive surgery. It will heal, though. I just have to make it through the physical healing process and keep my grief in a healthy perspective. I just have to remind myself of the incredible strength of the Weeping Buddha. His incredible countenance and the stories whispered in hushed tones about the warlord who was the motivation for the carving have had a profound effect on my life. Back when I got this statue, the information about the Weeping Buddha was much less commonplace than it is now. I encourage you all to take that particular journey and learn about this amazing statue. I hope it resonates as strongly with you as it has with me for over six years.