Originally uploaded by ToniVC
This evening I was driving with my 12 year old son. We had spent most of the day clearing out his bedroom, sorting things to donate, and things he will be keeping. All this work was in preparation for new carpeting that will be going in this week. Even though it was a lot of work on his part, he seemed to really enjoy the process with me. Throughout the afternoon he would pause and thank me for helping him with his room.
As we were driving, he said to me, "now Dad, this may sound strange, but I want to say that I am so proud that you didn't turn to drugs or alcohol after Mike died." Yes, I did find this kind of strange. As he knows, I don't use alcohol or other substances. But I do understand his thoughts. I turned to him and said thank you for saying this. I then shared with him just how devastating this has been, which he is quite well aware of. I then explained that there were many temptations along the way that occurred to me as a way to escape the pain. He then said that he agreed with my thoughts, and was glad that I didn't give in to those temptations.
Tonight as I sit here writing I am keenly aware that it would have been far easier if I was able to numb the pain. But instead I have chosen to accept the pain and sorrow into my life. I chose to face it head on. I don't want to run away from it, as I don't want to later find that I had only repressed my feelings, and then find myself thrown off at another time.
This was one of those moments where I was able to step back from my own process in order to see that something good is coming out of all this pain. My son is learning how to deal with loss. He has been here with me more than my other two older kids. He has seen me doubled over in pain, with loud wailing tears, and he has been here lying beside me many a night as I am writing on my blog. He often will ask what I am choosing to write about each day. I sometimes give him a brief description of what I wrote, then try to explain it in his terminology. In this way, every moment is a teaching moment.
A couple of days ago I was speaking to my father on the telephone. He was asking how the kids were doing, knowing they each have so many challenges. He then asked if I had heard anything about the job in San Diego, and where was I with the possible move. I gave him an update about the kids, then let him know I had not heard anything yet about the job. My father then said that I have certainly had more than my share of challenges as an parent, and that I have experienced so much pain and difficulty throughout the years. He wanted me to know that he was praying for nothing but good things ahead for me. My father told me it was time for life to go my way.
I love my father, and his choice of words are always so supportive. As I write this I am feeling both a sense of love, and of sorrow. I do feel that I have been given more than my share of burdens, yet at the same time these burdens have been filled with so much love. I really do cherish the decision to become a parent, and I would do it all again even knowing what I know of my reality today. I do also feel blessed in that I was able to meet Michael, and to experience the mature love I had always wanted. And even though I continue to live with so much pain in my heart, I would without a doubt walk down this road with Michael once again. Our relationship was very fulfilling. I loved what we had together. All of it. I loved caring for him, and I loved helping him prepare for death.
Of course thinking about all of this is making me connect with the deep sorrow within me. Yet I know that this sorrow is present because of a love that changed who I was in this world. The love isn't gone, but he is. I'm really trying to sort through all of this, and trying to construct a way for me to experience my world with a different sense of joy. I know that it is out there for me, or at least I want to believe that it is. For today, I can say that I am open to new experiences, and hoping for new opportunities to find happiness.
Someone is proud of how I am dealing with my grief.
Someone wants life to begin going my way.
I am humbled.