Somedays it is difficult to get out of bed, out of the chair, out from front of the t.v. , down the driveway to get the mail or think of something to eat. Most days that feeling of difficulty, ambivalence, disinterest lasts only for a few minutes. I force myself on. I force myself to move, to do, to talk to others, to go. I can talk myself out of these things as easily as I can force myself to do them.
In times past, times before my son’s death, I know I had these same problems at times. Then I wrote them off to being fatigued or stressed and I could usually pinpoint the reason. It made for a good excuse. When the excuse becomes something that “happened years ago” people are less understanding. They think there is something wrong with you.
Since they have moved past the death of my child they assume I should too. Now, I am not saying they are that cold or unfeeling about it, but still in all, I think it is what they think. I don’t know if it is just our culture or our shallow nature but we are a people who think (though rarely can put in to practice) that people are supposed to “rise above” their situation. Our movies – the reflection of our culture – preach that. Movies with unsettled or unhappy endings that do not satisfy our need for happily ever after are touted as “critically acclaimed.” We crave a happy ending.
I don’t think they exist. The reason I don’t think they exist is that – to my knowledge – everyone is going to die eventually. If they have any connections at all when this time comes – someone, somewhere is going to be touched by that passing. And it is sad.
It is sad that we scurry around thinking we are so important in the grand scheme of things. We think we are noticed and that people are thinking about us. People think mainly about themselves. I certainly do. My mind is constantly measuring and evaluating everything in regard to what it has to do with me or how it will effect me.
We talk about “mindless” tasks which sounds like it is to be dreaded when in fact we all need that down time. To shut up our own voice in our head. Meditation seems to fill this need.
What keeps me in the bed, or in the chair, or in front of the t.v. are the reruns of past events that continue to flood through my mind. I pester myself with them at times. It is difficult to gain control over them – to push them down and it takes a lot of energy to do so.
I know there are a lot of us out there practicing this effort. I applaud all those who are able to accomplish their outside jobs in the community. I appreciate all those who ,in their sorrow, reach out to sooth others in their sorrow. I appreciate most of all those who are honest about their feelings.
You cannot move through this sorrow without asking questions or having doubts.
Some, like me struggle with their faith. Some struggle with the health care system and whether everything was done as it should have been. Most of us question if we should have done some differently, seen something like a premonition or if we had just done one simple thing differently that would have been the cotter pin we pulled that could have prevented our child’s death. We want to place blame, or at least assign responsibility. Sadly we are the only one left to do that now. Friends don’t want to hear us talk about it. It makes them uncomfortable and causes them to reflect on the fear. But then we too ignored it for years – blissfully ignorant for so long.
As time passes and the memory of our child fades from others memory they seem a bit surprised or chagrin when they realize how fresh our loss continues to be for us. It is pinned on the doorpost of our heart it is worn in a phylactery over our mind.
When celebrities loose a child they interview their friends. Often the friends sadly shake their head and say “they were never the same . . .” Same what? The human mind cannot grasp the enormity of the change.
Perhaps, I am proudly, not the same. I am altered by him in his death as much as I was altered by him in his life.He has altered me – for good – as has my dear husband and beautiful daughter. They change me and I am thankful for that. I cannot imagine the miserable person I would be without them to hold me to a certain standard and body of expectations.
If I let go of the end of his time here will it all unravel? Perhaps it is my own failing that makes me so dissatisfied with human answers. Thus far turning to the faith I was raised in only creates bigger illogical questions.
So far I am still asking the questions, getting up out of bed, off the couch, eating, talking, reading, painting, walking, playing with the dogs. It is those moments that flash with a feeling akin to panic when I realize I will not see him again in my lifetime that I think the this cannot possibly be done. Expectations for this situation are impossible.
Then I hear my daughter’s voice or I hug my husband and I think “just for this moment.” And really isn’t that all we have anyway?