Healing The Wounds
By Karen Tucker
I wake with a start, heart pounding, from a dream in which the pain is unbearable. Curling up around the screaming agony in my womb, it takes me some time to realise it is not real. My eyes are screwed tight shut. It takes a conscious effort to release them, but they still don’t want to open. After a few moments, they finally oblige, and the familiar surroundings of my bedroom swim into view, half impeded by the sheet that is wrapped awkwardly around me, twisted about my body as I writhed in my sleep.
The dream. Oh my God! I’ve never suffered anything like it. It hurt so much! The memory is so vivid I’m still half there. I struggle to remember anything but the pain, but gradually it comes back to me.
I have no idea where I was. It was dark, and the countryside around me was quiet. The stars were amazing. Why I remember noticing them, I couldn’t tell you – perhaps it was as a distraction from what I was going through down here, an insignificant little dot on an insignificant little planet in what I’ve always been led to believe was a quiet backwater of the Universe.
I had walked there, quickly, nervously, worried about what I was about to do. I had the herbs concealed in a pocket of my robe. I’d been throwing up again half the morning and feeling rough the rest of the day, and it was much later than I’d planned before I could get away. They were all so solicitous, bless them, the sisters at the temple, concerned about my being ill. We were never ill, but the dark blue healing crystal we tended seemed to have no effect on the sickness. They couldn’t know the reason why. I couldn’t tell them. I was so ashamed, so terrified that they would make me leave. Why, oh why, hadn’t I taken precautions? There were ways to keep pregnancy at bay. Did I think it wouldn’t happen to me, or what? I wish I knew.
We didn’t have to be virgins, of course. The Goddess and the God did not demand such sacrifice of us. If any of us wanted to leave, marry, have children, we were free to do so. But you did not have a child and continue as a temple priestess. When you were pregnant by a man who already had a wife, and had no intention of adding you to his household … I would have nowhere to go; no home, no occupation. I had always lived here, worked here, ever since I was eight years old.
I pleaded with him. Oh, how I pleaded with him, to love me enough to take me in and care for our child. But in my heart, I knew he would deny me. I knew he cared only for my status. If I lost that, he would throw me aside like a rag doll that a child has lost interest in. And he did.
I don’t know any more than that. I don’t know how I know that much. I only know that I had to dispose of the child. I couldn’t leave the Temple. I knew no other life. My earliest memory was of saying goodbye to my parents at the entrance, shy of the kindly priestess who was holding out her hands to me, asking me to step inside and leave the life I had known. It is a vague and hazy memory, and seems unimportant now. Of course, they kept in touch, visiting me often at first, but they had other children, both before and after me, and the visits became less frequent, until my duties became more public and I saw them when they came for Renewal (though I currently have no idea what that is, or was).
I’m puzzled by the information that seems to be appearing out of thin air. The more I think about the dream and spend time with the person I was in that dream, the more information is coming to me. I’m sure I didn’t know half of this stuff while I was in the dream – or at least, it wasn’t uppermost in my consciousness.
I go back to basics. I was a priestess in a temple. I was free to leave if I wanted, but I was desperate to stay. So I concealed the pregnancy, acquired some herbs, and stole off into the woods to take them to abort the foetus. I couldn’t think of it as a baby, or I wouldn’t have been able to do it. But I know that my action added a little more darkness to the clouds that were gathering on the horizon. I stayed in the temple, but at a price I could not have imagined, for my world as well as for myself. I can see this much, but not what that price was.
Now at last I can start to uncurl. The dream is still real, but the physical pain is fading. I lie on my back, staring up at the water-staining on the ceiling, feeling my way back into ‘real’ life.
What was that? Why did so much information seem to come to me after I woke up? The words ‘past life regression’ float across my mind. I seem to remember someone talking about such a thing not that long ago. Who was it? Anna, probably. Must remember to ask her about it.
So is this something I actually did, long ago in some impossibly remote past? Back before I was born into this life? Surely not! Past lives? Reincarnation? How can anyone remember something that happened in another body, another time?
But it was so real! And why did I get information about that person afterwards, if it was just something my subconscious threw up as an ordinary dream? In spite of my scepticism, I want to know more. I get up and creep, in the half-light, to the computer, pulling on a dressing gown against the slight chill in the room. Autumn is definitely on its way. When the computer is ready, I open the internet and type ‘past lives’ into the search engine.
I can’t believe how much information there is out there! I start with Wikipedia, expecting a balanced and informed article, and find instead a very discouraging piece that is virtually a rant, having a go at the whole idea and dismissing it as people imagining things that never happened, and having suggestions implanted by a ‘so-called’ therapist. Well, I can guarantee it’s not that – I have no therapist. I consider giving up right there and then. In fact, I decide to go and get some breakfast, but even as I’m crunching on cornflakes, the apparent memories stirred up by the dream just keep niggling at me, so I go back to the computer when I’ve finished.
But again, the next site I click on nearly makes me give up the whole idea. Whoever put it together reckons they can tell you about your last incarnation just by the date you were born in this life. What comes up seemed like a load of old nonsense, and a long time ago. I keep giving up the search and then coming back to it, and it takes me several days and many hours of staring at a flickering screen to come up with a working theory, but from the scribbled notes I took as I was trawling through the masses of information, it seems that past life information may or may not be about lives you have personally lived. It may be that I’m tapping into information from what Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious, or what the New Age Movement knows as the Akashic Record (which may or may not be the same thing, but holds all the information from all lives that were ever lived). It may be that it’s from our own ancestors’ lives. It may even be a sort of parable, an illustration of the issues you need to deal with, made a little less personal by being shown as a story that isn’t your own – a bit like listening to a fairy story and finding some parallel with your own life. I have to say, I find it hard to believe in this theory – my own experience felt very personal indeed!
Whatever the reason and wherever it comes from, it also seems that the information you receive from past life memories, while it may or may not be stuff you actually did, can be helpful in illustrating or illuminating the issues you have in your life today, and possibly in suggesting ways that you can work through them, or things you need to learn from them. So there’s something I need to learn from a past-life abortion, apparently.
I also find that there are a lot of people out there who reckon they can help you recover past life memories, but you don’t have to pay money for it if you are willing to have a go by yourself. However, you could come up with some pretty difficult situations that you may find hard to handle on your own, so you’re best advised to at least have a sympathetic friend with you to support you through the recovered memories if you need it.
Do I want to find out more? The jury is still out. If the dream was a past-life memory, it could be pretty traumatic to delve deeper. Just the bit I experienced that morning was pretty painful, after all. Chances are it isn’t going to get much nicer. And I’m not at all sure that I want to know why that memory surfaced anyway.
Well, to be honest, I guess I do know why. I haven’t talked about the dream to anyone yet – I’ve been mulling it over in my head and trying to decide what, if anything, to do about it. It hasn’t come back, thank God. But it hasn’t gone away, either. It won’t let me be. Every moment I’m not busy with something else, it’s there, calling to me from the back of my mind. I think I need to ‘phone a friend’. And there’s only one person I could talk to about this. Anna. She’s the only one who knows. Everyone else I know would have thought I was barmy at best, certifiable at worst.
‘Oh my God, Cathy!’ Anna reaches across the table to take my hand, concern inscribed on every line of her face. I couldn’t explain it over the phone in the end, so we’re in a corner of the BHS restaurant, talking over a cup of coffee. I’m finding even this a little too public for what I have to discuss, and wish Anna had been able to come over to mine.
Anna is right to be concerned. I’ve just told her what I think it’s connected with.
Let me explain. About six months ago, I did a most uncharacteristic thing. I met a guy – his name was Damon. We got together, and as I wasn’t on the pill, and we couldn’t be bothered messing around with condoms, after we’d been together only a couple of weeks, we had unprotected sex. It wasn’t as if I was madly in love or anything. I just felt it was time I took a risk in my life. What a mistake that was! And now that I think of it, doesn’t it perfectly echo my stupidity in the life I dreamed about?! You’d think I might have learned from my mistake back then, but apparently not.
Well, Damon was pretty psychic. He could see things others couldn’t see, detect the presence of spirits and talk to them, things like that. He had spirit guides who talked to him. I was a bit unsure at first, I don’t mind telling you, but everything he came out with seemed to be corroborated, so I figured there are simply more things in heaven and earth than I understand, or even want to for that matter, so I let him get on with it.
Well, one evening after we’d made love, he kept getting this message from his guide. It was a time, and nothing more. ‘ 7.15 – wait until 7.15’. We were both mystified, and spent a good deal of time speculating about what this could possibly mean, but we had no way of knowing, so we just changed the subject and talked about other things for an hour or so. When 7.15pm finally came, the conversation ceased as Damon’s eyes widened and he looked at me in disbelief.
‘Oh my God, I know what she was talking about now,’ he said, slowly.
‘Well, spit it out, then. What is it?’ His manner was spooking me a little.
It took him a few moments. I was about to try and throttle it out of him when he finally spoke, even more slowly than before. And what he said turned my world upside down.
‘You’re pregnant,’ he said. ‘With my baby. It’s a girl. Her name is Amelia.’
I just stared at him. At my age? OK, I wasn’t past it, but I was a little over the hill for having my first child. I’d never wanted children, never even been broody, and didn’t really miss the whole motherhood thing. I was happy not to be tied down to staying home looking after baby, and the partner I’d been with most of my adult life was certainly not someone I would have chosen to be the father of my child if I’d wanted one. We rowed too much for me to want to bring a child into that relationship. When we split up, the thing I was most grateful for was having no children to be tossed about on the stormy waters and used as pawns in our divorce.
‘Pregnant?’ It took me a while to articulate the word. ‘You’re … joking, right?’
He shook his head. ‘No, I’m not. I’m so sorry, Cathy. I know you never wanted children, but it seems that decision was just taken out of your hands. What were we thinking?’
I just stared blankly into space, my mind whirling. Even on the bus going home, the thoughts wouldn’t come. I couldn’t take it in. How could I explain this to my parents, my friends – or even to myself? I’d always been so careful. Why had I thought that this time it didn’t matter?
When my brain finally unfroze, and I started to take it in (it took until the following morning), it was as though, at some point in the night, I’d just shrugged and accepted the situation. I didn’t do a pregnancy test because, for one thing, I KNEW I was pregnant – I had no reason to doubt his guide’s word, as she’d always been accurate up till then. And for another, it was only a few days, and I didn’t think I could test for pregnancy that early in the process. I may have been wrong. I didn’t know much about these things, never having had to worry about them.
So I bought a book on pregnancy and, as Damon had already told me the gender and name of my baby, I started tentatively to make contact with her. I could feel her spirit already with me. It started to feel right and natural that I should be carrying her. I talked to her, my hand on my abdomen, already protective of the new life inside me, even though I had told no-one as yet. I felt as though she belonged to me. So what happened next hit me even harder than the news of my pregnancy had done.
It felt like longer, but in fact it was only a few days later that Damon rang me. He didn’t even bother to make sure I was alone or sitting down when he gave me the devastating news. It was lunchtime, and I was taking a walk in the park near my office. There were couples kissing under the trees, and school children strolling around the paths. A small boy was running amok while his mother chatted to a friend, oblivious of his whereabouts. It was just an ordinary moment, until he opened his mouth.
To this day, he doesn’t know how much he hurt me then. It was almost matter-of-fact, the way he announced it. It was probably the only way he could deal with it, but I didn’t know that at the time.
‘You’re not pregnant any more,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t cope with it. I asked for it to be aborted. It’s taken me three days to persuade them (I assumed he meant his guides or something), but they’ve finally agreed. I’m not ready for this baby. They’ve terminated it. Sorry.’ He didn’t give me time to react, just cut the call. He also refused to answer when I called him back. I guess he was dealing with it himself and didn’t have what it would have taken to help me as well.
How I didn’t break down and cry right there and then, I’ll never know. I went back to work and made it through the afternoon by not thinking about it. I put my earphones in the moment I walked out of the building and concentrated on the music until I was alone in my room.
I was living in my parents’ home at the time. And they didn’t know. They didn’t even accept the idea of communicating with spirits, so there was no way I could ever tell them about this. My brothers and most of my friends, if not quite so fundamental in their beliefs, would probably laugh at the idea that anyone could know these things, and tell me I’d been taken in by some idiot’s mumbo-jumbo. They would pat me on the back and tell me it was all nonsense and I should get over it. After all, I’d never wanted a baby anyway, had I? So what could I possibly have to be upset about?
That was certainly his attitude. He didn’t call me for another week, and wouldn’t answer my calls. By then I’d started to digest the pain, talking only to Anna about it, crying into my pillow and mourning the baby I’d carried for only a few days. But I wasn’t over it. I needed him to hold me, to apologise, to understand. Instead he said he was going away for a few days, and he’d call me when he got back. I couldn’t say anything. It hurt too much. This was the ultimate betrayal – the betrayal of my womb – and he was going away and leaving me to get on with it, completely unaware of the immense pain and heartache he’d caused me.
It hit me hard enough at the time, but what really made it real was that my period started a few days later. Then I cried. I cried for England! I cried for myself. I cried for the little girl who would never have the chance to be born, live, be happy, and die. I cried because there was nobody I could talk to. I cried because this was the worst thing that could possibly have happened to me at that moment in my life, and he didn’t have a clue what he’d just done to me.
He called me when he got back, but by then I couldn’t face him, given how much it hurt and how little he understood. I told him to get lost. Then he told me why he’d felt he had to abort our child.
It was an incredibly sad story, and one I could understand only too well, in part. What I didn’t understand, and never have, is why he could never tell his mother that he had a girlfriend and a daughter. But because he hadn’t told her, or anyone else, of their existence, when they were both killed in a car crash on the night he was out celebrating his 21st birthday, there was literally no-one in the world he could talk to about it. He had to hold that stark and terrible pain and loss inside, with no way to let it out. It was no wonder he was unable to cope with being a father again. He’d never come to terms with the suddenness of losing his fatherhood. He was convinced that the baby I’d been carrying was his own little Amelia, returning to him in another body.
Even though I was so upset, I understood his reasons, and the relationship continued for a while longer, but it was doomed by that point. It petered out gradually, as we saw less and less of each other, and finally he stopped calling. The last time we met, we stood under a tree in a rain storm, kissing and cuddling, but the passion had burnt out and there was little left to keep us warm. A friend met him some time later and gave him my number again, as he said he’d lost it. He told her he’d call me, but he never had.
‘So you think this dream might have been showing you the reason why you had this … why he did this to you?’ Anna is trying to be careful with her words, but I can see she’s almost as upset as I am.
‘I don’t know, maybe. What I found on the internet suggested that might be the reason. It also suggested that we often meet the same people in different lifetimes, and if we have unfinished business with them, we may have a chance to settle the karma between us. I wonder whether he was the father of my child back then?’
Anna considers this thoughtfully. ‘It’s possible, I suppose. I mean, given the premise that this was a past life memory. Are you as sure as you can be that it was?’
I grimace at the memory of the pain. ‘Oh, yes; it was very real, believe me! I read that some memories come to you like you’re watching them on a movie screen – you can observe but not feel like you’re the person it’s happening to. Not this one! I was definitely there. I think I almost killed myself, it was so painful.’
Anna looks thoughtful still. ‘Sounds horrendous! But if you think you had this dream for a reason, then what do you think you’re supposed to do with it?’
I shrug. ‘I’m still working on that one. For now, I’m taking past life memory as a hypothesis and running with it, and from that perspective, it seems likely that it’s something to do with Damon and Amelia. So I’ll follow that line of enquiry and see where it leads me, but I’m not setting anything in stone. It may be that I’m on the wrong track completely, but hey. We’ll see, I suppose. All I know at the moment is, I can’t just forget about this dream. I have to work with it and see what comes up.’
‘Well, you know I’m here if you need me for anything – someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry it all out on – anything. You can even call me in the middle of the night if you really need to. I’d hate for you to wake up in that sort of condition and not have anyone to turn to.’
I smile at her a little wanly but with genuine gratitude and affection. ‘Thanks, Anna. You’re a real friend.’