Dangerous Compassions

pregnant frog empress holding hands with death

Hello, how are you doing?  Nearly finishing up my Friendship Artalong tarot month, I embroidered a pregnant frog empress holding hands with death.  Probably that’s not something you see every day.

I started at a round breast.  Then the pregnant belly.  I looked online at pics of women sitting cross legged, getting ideas for the legs and feet.  This was the beginning.

pregnant frog empress holding hands with death

“Shit’s getting real,” I texted to my friend Ariel, who’s my art embroidery buddy.  I felt excited that my intuition was helping me do something strange and beautiful.


On Sunday morning I went to Quaker church for the first time.  We sat in silence for almost the entire hour.

I loved it–the silence felt rich and productive.  Fertile silence: my ideas swirled around.  Some strong messages came to me at the beginning.  They were about how the thing I’m most afraid of is often the thing I need to do.

First I was 100% afraid of homelessness.  Then that’s what I had to do.  Next I am 100% afraid of death–terrified.  Hopefully I have a few decades.  But obviously, death is on the agenda.

The new housemate we went with also was thinking about death, he reported afterward.  We were driving home, and he told us how he considers death a laying down of burdens.  Once he’s dead, he can’t be blamed anymore, for not doing enough.

I see my mom’s death that way, not wanting to bother her.   Sometimes I feel like a burden she set down when she died.  But she really did delight in me.

“She’s doing something else now,” I’ve said a few times to Ming, pondering what Mama was up to.

content warning: suicide

My friend was very upset and filled with grief because a kid she knew killed himself last week.  I’m very sorry.  She told me details of the situation, and my heart broke in some new places.

Suicide is a something I feel a lot about.  Every Halloween I think of a high school friend who killed himself.  That was my first friend-death.  It brought mortality home in a terribly vivid way.

Sometimes I feel like I’m working to keep too many people alive.  Radical mental health community work means I meet a ton of moody people.  That’s an understatement.  I see ramifications reverberating out so far.  My eyes aren’t the best anymore.  Yet somehow I manage to see very far in multiple directions.

Thank you to everyone who does the hard work of life.  You could choose otherwise.  But I’m so glad you’re here.

The pregnant frog empress holding hands with death knows all about that.  She sees you choose to keep eating, drinking water, going to the bathroom, and being flesh-clad despite the exquisite pain.  She’s proud of you too.

tomato head

pregnant frog empress holds hands with death

I put a tomato on the empress for a head.  My good friend taught me this, for collage.  She didn’t want people-heads, so she puts veg heads on people bodies, sometimes.

Thank you to my good friends who help me learn new things.  My heart is with you.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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