And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.
-Maya Angelou

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Grief (Three Years Later)

Three years ago, my grief felt like this.   

Today, my grief is tempered. It doesn't feel as desperate or insurmountable. I no longer wake up each day wanting to die so that I can be with Jack. I now wake up every day and think to myself, "Today is another opportunity to give it my best shot. Another opportunity to be a reflection of all Jack was and all he taught me". Many days I fall short, but every new day that I'm given is another day to try and get it right. 

I recently had lunch with a friend who I hadn't seen in a couple of years. She asked me what I thought about Jack dying. (This friend is an emergency department physician who has seen more than her fair share of death. She is also the parent of a child with a congenital muscular dystrophy.) I thought about it briefly and then answered, pragmatically, "Jack was always going to die." It shouldn't be news to any of us that we are all going to die. Jack dying wasn't something that wasn't going to happen. I just wasn't chosen to be one of the fortunate parents who gets to live long enough to see their child grow up and then gets to die before their child dies.

I can now see and accept that Jack's earthly journey was perfectly born and perfectly completed. He earned the right to lay down his sword and rest. When the guilt starts to creep in and the "what ifs" surface, I take a deep breath and remind myself that none of us gets to live forever. I also remind myself that I'm not and never was in control. 

This is not to say that I don't miss Jack. I desperately miss Jack and I'm certain I always will. There are some who say Jack is not gone, he's still with me. He's in my heart and in the signs I receive. And while that may be true, there are many days when that's just not enough. I miss his physical presence tremendously. I miss looking into those soulful eyes. I miss running my fingers through his awesome head of hair. I miss holding his soft hand and entwining my fingers with his strong and crooked fingers. I miss making him laugh. I miss his smile. I will always mourn the loss of Jack's physical presence.

I still cry almost every day when I think of Jack. I have Jack's picture on my phone and every time I look at his beautiful face, I get tears in my eyes. But as my good friend tells me, tears are holy water. They heal, they restore, they give strength. I hope I never stop crying when I think of Jack.

Today, I welcome life, but I do not fear death. I survive by the hope of heaven. The belief that one day I will see Jack again. I pray every day, "please God, let heaven be for real because I absolutely have to see my sweet boy again." I need the hope of heaven more than I need earthly signs and I hold on to that hope with every ounce of my being.

Today, I still grieve. But I find joy, and light, and love in life too.

Today, I hope Onward!

4 comments:

  1. Sending love. The hope of heaven! Amen

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  2. Thank you Mari. Sending love to you too. 💕

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience being 3 years down this road of grief. It's been 20 months since my daughter passed away, and it helps me to hear from others who have traveled before me. I love the 3rd paragraph, about Jack's earthly journey being perfectly born and perfectly completed. And yet, his impact and influence continues on, thanks to you, his mother and memory-keeper. Love on.

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    1. Cindy, thank you for your kind words. I'm touched that my words and experiences can help you in your journey. Lindsey's impact and influence also continues on. Your Heartfelt HugZees project is a beautiful testament to Lindsay's love and impact on this world. Love on, indeed.

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