Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Rock in the Storm

I have discovered something about myself. It's an incredible strength. I find it is now a natural part of me.  It is an ability to deal with trauma.  My own, and others.  An ability to stay calm, not panic, and take action.  When my grandfather was dying in September - I helped the paramedics by providing suction and maintaining the airway.  When Anaya was having respiratory arrest - I was giving critical information to the trauma team, suctioning her throat, venting her G tube, helping the nurse find the correct spot to take her blood pressure.  I held her head in position so that they could insert the breathing tube down her throat into her lungs.  I gave oral summaries to the trauma team, the pediatric ambulance crew and our ICU nurses.  I held the flashlight for the paramedic in the plane as we flew through the rain in the night.  I did it all again when we arrived at the BC Childrens.

Then I was the one who took the mask off.  I maintained her comfort, ordered the morphine and removed all the tubes and wires.  Then I gave her every ounce of love and energy that I could.  It flowed out of me like a river and supported her soul in it's crossing.  It was not a time of grieving it was a time of support.  She needed my strength, and I had it.  It was inside me.  It was a rock in the storm.  Unmovable, stable.  Yet my hard had not hardened, my soul had not withered.  I was not the only one there, yet I was so focused that they seemed to fade from my reality.  The love swirled around the room like a rainbow tempest and then she was gone.

The body I held in my arms was not Anaya.  It was only the body that she had inhabited.  I loved her body too.  I kissed her sweet cheeks, her fingers, her toes. I stroked her hair.  Then I set her down gently on the bed and left the room and never went back in.

What a precious blessing to have learned this strength in my lifetime.  What an incredible gift I can share with others.  I noticed I can still do it.  I can still manage trauma like a rock in a storm - with a wide open heart and a clear soul.

The day before yesterday I got a message asking for help.

"House Fire, children and husband dead - mother alone and in shock -Fundraising starting to help her."

I began researching and I found newspaper articles with dead links that informed people to head to a non-existant Facebook Page. I immediately took action, connecting with the administrators who had begun assembling a group of support.  I started a Facebook Page that would match the media attention, migrated the existing users and started an online FundRazr to make it easier for people accross the country to donate while there was still immediate interest.

I combined my skills with dealing with trauma and fundraising with social media  - all the while my heart burned with the fire of her loss.

 I can see it all so clearly in my mind as if I was her.  Running down the street towards the flames and smoke screaming for my children.  Being held back from throwing myself into the burning wreckage to try to save them.  The heat from the blaze is scorching, the air thick with smoke. Struggling to breathe I continue screaming and weeping with terror and grief.

Then the fire is out.  The smoke clears.  And they are all gone and I am alone, surrounded by people, but completely alone.  I have nothing. No clothes, no toothbrush, even my favorite pillow is gone.  My partner, my heart, my babies. My babies. Blinking, I feel the world caving in on me and I breathe staggered breaths. My chest aches as though there is a black hole in my heart and it feels like it will kill me.

That is how I imagine it.  Deep and traumatic and raw.  I can feel it.  I know that one of the human body's survival mechanisms is shock.  I know that right now she will be in shock.  She may be unable to focus, feel anything, or even grieve.  The whole world is alien and everything is messed up and confusing.  I know that it will be that way for a while.

That is why she needed my help.  Why she needs OUR help.  We, who are in a state of strength, have the ability to reach out and make a difference in someone's time of need.

I am Camara.  I am strong and I can help make a difference in people's lives - with a wide open heart and a soul filled with rainbows.  You can make a difference too.  Share this link and give this woman a moment of your own strength.  If you know someone who needs my help - send them to me.  I have the strength.


  1. You are an amazing woman! Your strength and compassion are an inspiration to me to be a better person, more loving, more caring, more accepting and more compassionate.

    Anaya's life has touched so many people already. Her smile and her life will continue on forever in the lives of the people you are touching.

    I love you and I am proud to call you my friend.

  2. Boy do I ever know what you mean. This is how I felt for you from the moment that I met your eyes when I walked in to 3M3 back in - what was it, March? April? May? I can't even remember - until you got your feet back under you for real just a handful of weeks ago.

    People misunderstand 'empathy'. I think they mix it up with sympathy... with feeling "sorry", and "wishing there was something they could do." These are noble feelings as well, and not to be diminished, but if they think that this is empathy, they are wrong.

    This energetic absolute that you describe is empathy. The power of FEELING what this person is going through, and being completely unable to hold yourself back from lending them your strength, even at risk to your own well-being. I think we all have this gift, but we have forgotten it, or buried it deep somewhere and don't let it out.

    It doesn't have to be this awesome and terrible thing either... it can be lovely to share sweet and playful moments too, in this way. :)


  3. Camara,
    I love what you said about "my heart had not hardened and my soul had not withered."
    It is easy to let your heart harden and your soul wither.
    But you didn't take the easy way.
    YOU really are a strong woman.
    When some people go through what you have been through they get hard and cold and their soul withers and they close away that chapter in their life and never re-visit it. They avoid others that are dealing with challenges because it reminds them of what they have been through.
    And don't you keep looking for others to help when nobody would expect you to do that after all you have been through but you do! You feel the pain of others and choose to help rather than to turn away.
    You are a strong and very good person you are a woman that all mom's want their little girls to grow up to be like.

  4. I just ran across your blog, but I don't feel it's by chance. Your sweet Anaya is beautiful. I've also lost a child and am so very sorry for your loss.


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