AWD #074: Sacrifices
Summary: Maia speaks with Iphigenia about the divorce and her sacrifices. Including a child.
Date: 21/03/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Luc and Maia divorce and about their unborn child.
Iphigenia Maia 
The chapel is one of the few quiet places to be found on a battlestar. Even rarer still, it's one of the few places that doesn't look like it's part of a battlestar. Heavy blue curtains have been hung from the walls, obscuring the bulkheads. The lights are kept low, adding a certain mystery and gravitas to the space. The central altar is made of a pale grey wood, as are the several rows of pews which extend from it. Laid against the far right wall is a long, low table with several rows of simple white votive candles to be used as vigil lights. Centered among them is a brass plate for burnt offerings from supplicants. Several cushions rest on the floor before the table, where the faithful may kneel to offer their prayers to the Lords and Ladies of Kobol. On the left wall are several compartments which have been sectioned off for private use.
AWD #74

While Captain is certainly a sexier rank than Lieutenant, becoming head of Orion's CMES department means Gen gets swarmed with paperwork. Awesome. But she makes time for those who seek counseling, and for providing religious services; at the moment she is just finishing with her absolution of young female marine who looks intensely relieved to have received it.

With an envelope about the length and width of notebook paper in her hands that is fairly fat with the contents inside, Maia has made her way to the Chapel. At the moment she is looking indecisively at the altar then over to the brass plate for burnt offerings, confusion is predominant on her features. Deciding to wait on the Captain, she remains a discrete distance away so she doesn't interrupt the current business being attended to at the moment. Her fingertips turns white with the grip she has on her envelope as she waits.

Once she's finished with the marine, offering the other woman a soft, comforting word Gen makes her way to Maia. "Hello, Lieutenant. What can I do for you?"

As soon as Geni makes her way over, Maia turns her attention on the Chaplain. She's got a tortured expression on her face, bothered by the state of events or what she must do. "I.. wanted to make my sacrifices to Hera without Gabriel present. Could I do it early?"

Iphigenia cocks her head. She doesn't say no, but she does ask, "Why? Why early, why in private?" She hasn't said no, but.

"Because it's something I have to do without him. It's.. personal. I'm not even sure I can do it myself, but I have to try. You said it had to be something that meant the most to me." Opening the envelope, there are several photos of the two of them. Maia bypasses those and folded into a neat, crisp little square is an almost untouched sheet of copy paper. When she extracts it, her fingers barely touching only a corner of it, and her emotions are raw as she closes her eyes and swallows hard. "This is my most valued possession."

"I can accept why you need to do it by yourself." Gen says after a moment. "But I want to know why you wish to do it now. You told me you could wait thirty days, after waiting for years. So why is a week suddenly too long to wait?"

Opening her eyes again, they zero in on the paper before lifting to Geni. "Four years I wasn't having to live in such close proximity with him. For four years, I didn't have to hear him try and guilt trip me into staying with him. Now I do. He thinks we are the same people we were back then. The reason.." Maia looks back at the paper before she steels herself to open it stare at the writing on the page. Easily identifiable as a pregnancy test with a positive result. "This is why we got married. This is the only proof I have, the only thing in existence that reminds me my baby was real, the baby I lost." Tears spring to her eyes, this is a very raw and untouched spot in her life. She'd never faced it, never talked about it, never shared it. Blinking the tears away, she finds that familiar well of strength and drags her gaze away. "When I lost the.. when I miscarried, we fell apart. We got married for this reason alone and we separated for the same reason. I don't want the reminders of it from him constantly.."

"Oh, Maia." Iphigenia's expression is filled with sympathy, an if permitted, she gently encloses the hand holding the test in both of hers. "I am so sorry for your loss." Even if it was so long ago. "This sacrifice may be done alone, at Hera's altar, and you may do it now, but I cannot waive the week prior to the formal dissolution. But I will make you this promise: if your husband makes willful attempt to delay things any longer, I will use my discretion and proceed anyway. I don't think he understands why I halted things. To be honest, I'm not sure you do, either."

Drawing comfort from the gesture, Maia takes another breath, this one deep and bracing. Her eyes glance towards the brass plate and back to the paper beneath their linked hands. "Thank you, Sir. For everything. I didn't come expecting the week to be waived, just to make the sacrifice alone." Lifting her eyes that are shadowed with pain despite the attempt to hide it, she shakes her head. "All I know is we were supposed to have all this settled prior and I thought we had. He told me he would do it, he would agree. Then he didn't."

Iphigenia tilts her head toward the pews, and if Maia doesn't protest, guides her over so they can sit down. "The thirty days," she says, "What do you think they were for?"

Maia makes no protests, her hand still clasps the corner of that paper and shows no sign of letting go yet. Taking a seat, she looks up at the Chaplain. "I think we had thirty days to decide if this was the path we wanted to take. To make sure this was what we wanted." As far as a distraction went, it was working well.

"Is that what you used it for?" Gen asks gently. "Did you talk to each other? Because neither of you came to me."

"We talked, we did. Several times we sat and talked about things, calmy considering the options. We came to the conclusion it was what was best because we were two different people. We aren't in love and the marriage was over years ago when we separated." Maia looks tentatively towards the Chaplain. "I want him to come speak with you before the week is up. I don't want to hurt him, I don't hate him.. but trying to be nice and end it isn't working. He's a constant reminder of all I lost." All she hasn't faced, with the loss of the baby.

"Have you spoken to him about the child you both list?" There's gentle emphasis on the word 'both' from the chaplain.

There's a visible flinch from the pilot and she looks back down at the paper. "We touched on it." Briefly. "We decided we're both sad and it's better to not talk about it." Maia looks back to the altar.

"In my experience it is never better not to talk about it. What is it about discussing it that you're afraid of?" Iphigenia is patient, tone gently reasonable.

"Talking about it makes me think about it. I don't think about it because it.. it hurts. We had such big plans, a baby, a house, a future. Family." Each word harder to get past the lump in her throat. Trapped in the past, her memories skittering through her mind, she talks almost absently, as if relaying scenes from a film she had seen once or something. "I showed him this paper and he lifted me up, spun me around and we laughed and.." she stops then. "He was happy." Summing it all up to that. "Then one day while he was at work, something happened." There is a self loathing in her expression that she hides by looking away. "And I frakked it all up." The end.

Iphigenia cocks her head. "You'd think the gods wouldn't allow us to hurt, don't you think? If they love us so much why do terrible things happen to us?" The questions are rhetorical. She continues, "We know pain so we can know love. You can't have love without that investment of dealing with loss. And you have not dealt with your loss, Maia. Pain can fade and heal, but if you ignore it, if you deny it…it will lead you down a ruinous path. And when I say this next thing Maia, it's not because I feel your pain is unwarranted, but because you should know, and hopefully take some solace, in knowing that there are others you know who have gone through what you have; you are not the only person in the Air Wing who has lost a child."

Different emotions cross her features as the Chaplain offers her words of wisdom. Maia doesn't respond to the rhetorical questions, recognizing them for what they are. "I've known love," she finally responds. "I have loved so deep I think that part of me will never get over the loss." Meaning the baby not the husband. "I have dealt with it in the only way I know how, Sir." And as she says the warning about what she is about to say, blue eyes lift and meet those of the Captain, waiting for the advice that would help her find solace. When the words come, however, she reacts as if having been physically slapped. Her baby was now being reduced to a statistic. Keeping her voice steady and even.. she responds. "I understand I am not the only person to have experienced the pain and loss of losing a baby. But," clenching her hands into fists, leaving the large envelope on the pew, the corner of the pregnancy result crinkled in one hand, she rises. "Other than Gabriel, I am the only person in the Air Wing who has lost my child."

Her baby is not being reduced to being a statistic. She is being advised there are people who can sympathize with her pain. "I never said otherwise." Iphigenia points out. "What I did say was that there are others who can understand what you are going through - it is very easy to feel alone with such pain, and often a surprise to realize that others could understand. Feeling that way is normal, and so is the surprise that comes when a person realizes there is empathy for it." She stays seated, as if waiting for Maia to think, rather than react. "You haven't dealt with this pain, Maia. You've ignored it, you've avoided it, by your own admission you've refused to discuss it because you feel you can't bear the pain. That is not dealing with it, not on any level. But only you can decide when you're ready to, if ever. Some people never do."

Maia is being unreasonable and if she were thinking about it, she would see it. At the moment though, with this particular subject, she cannot control her emotions except to push them back, to not think about them. Otherwise, she'd be a snarling unreasonable bitch, and she knows it and that's not who she wants to be. "It's easier not to think about it than to deal with it." The simplicity of her words is almost stark in contrast to her raging pain when she does have to think about it. She takes a deep breath and holds it for a moment. "I'm sorry.." Releasing the pent up breath, bracing for another wave of pain that always comes when she thinks about the baby her body rejected. "I know I'm not the only one to experience this, to feel these things. Thank you for listening." Still finding the inner strength to not let go, to hold on to the ability to not cry.

Iphigenia regards Maia for a long moment and says gently, "I will tell you this much. Anyone who told you that weeping is a weakness is right idiot. No one says you have to sob in public and tear your hair and make a scene. Cry by yourself, if you wish. Cry in another person's arms if you have the courage. But grieve, Maia. You're doing no service to yourself by refusing sadness.

Maia cuts her eyes to the Chaplain as if she had read her mind so completely. "I'm afraid," she begins softly, "that if I start crying, I'll never be able to stop again."

Iphigenia is, despite her cool Virgon demeanor, a trained therapist, and highly empathic. She has a very good idea of what's going on inside Maia's head. "Think of it like a dam." she suggests. "The more you keep it walled up, the more the pressure will build. One day it may break, and in a moment when you may not want it to overwhelm you. It may feel like forever, and just crying once may not be the end of it. But eventually the pressure will lessen." The next is offered gently. "Grief comes in stages, you see. You've been stuck midway through for a very long time."

The explanation makes sense and Maia slowly relaxes her hands, suddenly remembering the paper in her hand. "Maybe.. offering this will be a start." Smoothing the precious piece of paper back out. "I'll.. do as you say, when I can. I don't want to endanger anyone's lives on the job for something that is my fault. I'll.. work on it, that's the best I can do."

"You've got a lot to process." Iphigenia agrees. "If you're certain you want to make your sacrifice now, we can go ahead. I believe Hera will be pleased with it."

Reluctant to let go of the paper, Maia tightens her hand on it once more. The proof her baby had been real. Just the thought of letting it go made her feel broken and she walks over jerkily, her steps slow, hesitant. Closing her eyes, she whispers a few words that sounded suspiciously like 'mommy loves you baby' before she continues on with the sacrifice, twin trails of tears falling unchecked down her cheeks. For a long moment she stares into the flames, then she finishes the ritual before finally turning and facing the Chaplain. "Thank you."

Iphigenia reaches out once Maia rises, and very gingerly hugs her. It's not that she has a problem with the contact, but more her allowing Maia to dictate how much contact there is. She'll hug harder if Maia seems to want or need it.

If the hug was unexpected, Maia never shows it, instead she embraces her back, holding her tightly for a long, long moment. The tears have stopped but the heart break is still there in the way she clings to the Chaplain, seeking the offered comfort.

"I am certain that Hera is pleased." Gen murmurs. This isn't a whim for her, this way she seems to have a sense of the Lords of Kobol as if they are a real presence. "Please consider my advice. I know it will be difficult, but how much worth having is easy to gain?"

None of this had been a whim for Maia.. losing that treasured piece of paper was something she had been considering since it was mentioned that a meaningful sacrifice would have to be given. When the time came, it still hurt and it hurt bad.. but it had to be done. "I will, Sir. I think.. I think I will go to the head and spend some time in the shower." Where tears could be hidden under the spray of the water.

"I've been there." says Gen with a frank, but sympathetic smile. "I'll see you for certain in a few more days, but if you wish to speak to me prior to that," she shrugs, gently letting Maia go, "I'm here."

Maia lets go as well and offers a smile, finally reaching up to wipe those telling tear trails away. Upon hearing the words that Geni had been there, she gives her a long look. "I wonder, sometimes, where does a Chaplain go when they need to talk about things." Though the question is rhetorical, she offers a smile. "I am sure you hear so many problems, you are indeed a strong person to help so many and still find the sympathy to care. I admire you, Sir. Thank you for everything."

"You're quite welcome." Iphigenia does indeed treat that question as rhetorical, and with that, she'll see Maia out.

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