Monday, February 29, 2016

For Thor - 29 - Deepest Deep

Mother Ocean. Being able to rest near the ocean is probably the biggest reason I agreed to come on this trip. The trifecta of sand, surf and sunshine would smooth the jagged edges of my heart and be a healing balm for the suffering I've lived with since you died eight weeks ago.

Waves crash on the shore with a steadfast constancy that predates our human race, there is an ancient knowing there. The mother of all the waters is big enough to swallow me whole into that still oneness that rests in her vast depths. The ocean's saltiness is proof, to me, that she is a repository of tears. All the tears shed from all the suffering in the whole eternity are pooled together in these primordial and wise waters. What better place to empty this broken bleeding heart?

When we arrived at Cocoa Beach, I could hardly wait to get my feet in the sand. My toes were itching to feel the water pull the sand from beneath them and the agony out of my soul along with it. I felt the ocean breeze like an embrace and the sound of the surf welcomed me with her song. "Come, my daughter. Rest your head. Lay down the burden of your heart. Sit a while. Tell me everything."

Existentialism is my great preoccupation when I am around the ocean. A chord deep inside is me is struck when I first hear the sound of the surf. It resonates throughout my being integrating itself into my thoughts, words, and deeds. I am more silent. More still. More in touch with the Truth. Creative dreaming is amplified. I register beauty with all my senses; have you ever smelled a sunrise or tasted the wind? This visit to the shore is no different except for one big thing. This time, I carry the burden of being a bereaved mother with me. I yearn to unpack the vast mountain of jumbled emotions and sorrow on the warm sand and let the sun and wind pick through them. I want to cast the questions that plague me out into the vast expanse of the sea - an SOS message in a bottle to the cosmos. I wonder about you. And me. And how I can learn to move again. I want to know where you are. What happened after you died? I want to write messages to you in the sand and let the waves deliver these notes to you as they wash across and erase them.

I was awake last night as the full moon shone over the inky green and black surface of the sea. The silver white light twinkled off a million little waves as they sparkled and danced for a bit and then fell back into the water. Great swells gathered together to form the big waves that come ashore. It is easy to see how similar we are to the waves on the ocean. Our lives are like the water that rises into a wave. Empowered by an irresistible current and a life force that pushes us riding higher and higher, we ultimately crash upon the sand or roll back into the ocean itself. Some waves are big. Some are small. Some have spray peeling back from their crest in spectacular displays. Some pound the shore with a terrible force and others lap gently on the sand delivering seashells in their wake. No matter the size or the length of time the wave dances, or how much of a splash it made or how silent it was, all of them come to their end. All of them dissolve back into the sea.

Our lives -- and especially your life -- is fleeting, like these waves on the ocean. We are born and rise full of energy and potential. We live a while, dancing across the surface of the water with all the other waves. And then, when it's time for that energy to move in a new direction, the wave just falls back into the sea. Are we not like that?

So my questions of "where are you?" and "where did you go?" are answered by the sea. You are That. We are all That - the I AM of Moses. But what about that wave that was you in your short and brilliant life? Did it exist as something tangible and real? Was it ever anything other than the ocean? How can I follow this sorrow down into the depths to where I can know the truth? What does it want to reveal?

I can see that our tendency is to dwell on the surface, focusing on the waves and less on the deep expanse of power that rests beneath. We get confused when we identify ourselves as a wave. We are comical in our attempt to declare ourselves separated from all other the other waves and estranged even from the water itself.

I sat with this concept and followed it intensely since that is what sorrow is leading me to do. It began to be clear how easy it is to slip beneath the surface and live from the perspective of being the water, not the wave. We are all connected in the vast expanse of the sea of creation. The water that is in the wave is the same water that is in the deepest deep of the peace that passeth all understanding.

The memory of the wave-life you lived is beautiful to recall. It is a cherished and treasured story that we tell and savor for the love it brings up in our hearts. But it is not who you are. When you died, the wave you were riding rolled up on the shore and ended the story of your life, this life. But you belong, as ever, to the whole vast unknowable deep peace from which we all arise. It is here when I dive deeply beneath the busy currents on the surface; where I find you resplendent with the greatest love and light. I have found where you, as love, reside. This is what sorrow and the deep blue sea opened up inside of me...this knowing.

From the Deepest Deep of the Biggest Big

I love you,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

For Thor - 28 - South

From now on, everything is a new experience; part of the new life that is happening after your death.

The big part of me wants to be still and silent where I can remain connected to you in that stillness. I want to sit only with this sorrow and allow it to flow through me like a river ribbons in and out of the crevices of a canyon. I'm slowly being woven back together in the deep solitude and silence that rests in the center of my soul. It takes time, but it might also be good to have some sunshine to help me along. Perhaps some rest and a small respite from the heavy, hard work of grieving would be just the thing.

So we piled into the truck and headed south. Our first destination was Savannah. As you know, a road trip is something I love. I take my place as the shotgun rider and cheerily chat about the scenery, local history, and random trivia. I make snacks and play music. I am the fun-maker. This trip I found myself mute, unable to carry on conversations. I am unable to remark on the passing landscape and interesting way-places. It's impossible to talk about you without tears, and it feels like avoidance if we don't. We are awkward and heavy with our clashing styles of grief. But it's okay. Learning to allow each other to grieve on our own terms is part of how the family gets knit back together. Another thing is 'us' learning how to be 'us' without you here. This is why we are on this trip. This is one of the reasons I said, "Okay, let's go."

Dad buoyed us along and kept a watchful eye on me knowing that leaving was going to be the hardest part. I had one anxiety attack just outside Appomattox. The thought of leaving you behind as we set off on this adventure - this family vacation without a member of our family - was more than I could bear. Note to self; I can quell anxiety if I breathe deeply and repeat my mantra with a set of mala beads. I was happy to find that this lifeline worked perfectly to restore peace when emotions get too big for my body or the cab of the truck.

As we moved south and the temperature gently rose, I could feel something inside me start to ease. I felt you were traveling with us, for one thing. You were right there in the truck riding along in all our hearts and with all our thoughts. I could relax a little and rest knowing we did not leave you behind. And I do need rest. I have never been so tired in my entire life. Grief has settled in my bones and exhausted me from the inside out. The warm sun is the perfect antidote. The soft sweet air of early spring in the south warms and fills the hollow parts of me with the energy from the stars.

Distractions are good, as they offer a much-needed respite for a weary heart. I am still not healed. Rushing headlong into the world full of whirling colors and sounds is overwhelming. The anguish of your death and my broken heart are so close to the surface at any moment. But, I know the world is not going anywhere. It will be there ready for me when the time is right. I can dip a toe in or even take a little swim and then retreat to rest once again.

Savannah was a pleasant distraction for us all. She was perfect for us with her laid back vibe steeped in southern charm. We wandered her streets like a band of nomads searching for, well, each other. We got lost amid the live oaks, Spanish moss, fountains and food and began to feel out the edges of the pieces of our family. I laughed, like actually laughed, for the first time since December 31. And there were tears, too. I cried in the breathtakingly beautiful St. John's Cathedral where I lit a candle for you and offered up my bleeding heart to Mother Mary. Of all the saints, she knows something about the pain of losing a beloved child and the transformative power of love.

The family had fun. For me it was poignant, but fun, nonetheless. We bought everyone hats in a famous river walk hat shop and then wore them the whole time we were in Savannah. We elicited many compliments and comments from our fellow travelers about our hats. We ate at small local and acclaimed eateries. We raised a glass to you over some amazing Cajun shrimp and grits in a brown roux that I know you would have loved. We rode on the prow of the river ferry back and forth half-dozen times from our hotel and marveled at the rising moon over this ghost-inhabited city. We laughed at how you would have rolled your eyes at the idea of wandering aimlessly around Savannah for 8 hours looking at fountains, trees, and cemeteries.

Bit by bit, we are learning how to walk again with one of our legs missing. It hurts, but it is possible.

With this knowledge we piled into the truck and pushed on, heading further south and deeper into the warm embrace of the sun. See you on Cocoa Beach, Bubby.

I love you,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

For Thor - 27 - Ashes & Ink

Down. Up. Down. Down. Down. Down. Up. Up. Spectacularly down. Finally, I'm tangled in a ball of string spinning wildly, unable to adjust gimbal or see a guiding mark on the horizon.
I'm not even a good yo-yo, these days.

The only consistent thing in the world right now is that you are dead, and I am grieving. It's still inexplicable, unreasonable and unbelievable. It's utterly fucked-up that you are never walking through that front door.

Yesterday I moved your ashes into the new urn we bought. It took me a while to gather the strength to do this. It was intense to gaze upon this simple collection of ash and bone fragments that had been the most beautiful vessel for your bigger than life spirit. Once released from the hard plastic container, the bag holding the ashes gently unfolded and expanded allowing the ashes to rest, molded to my hands. I just held you for a while, feeling the weight -- the solid, tangible weight. It's amazing how similar the energy was to when I held you as a newborn asleep on my chest -- peaceful, restful and urging me to be still and sit, in the moment aware of all there is, and all there ever will be. I rocked you in my arms and held you close to my heart in death as I did when your heart first sprang to life, my sweet son. Your ashes are sacred to me, treasure, beyond words and value.

I mindfully went about setting you up - just so. Tucking you in, as it were, with care and devotion. Dad is going to build a shelf for a more permanent placement. For now, I am making do with candles and flowers and some of your special belongings to create a sense of being around the gaping hole of your loss. It is a simple homage to my boy, but one that brings me some peace. At night, when I can't sleep, I sit and rock in the warm glow of the ever-burning candle and gaze at this collection of items. I've gathered and arranged them to make you feel more here and less…gone. How is it that your life has been compressed, reduced to, this box of ashes, a few items carefully arranged on a couple of shelves, some pictures and our memories?

Along the line of homage, I am working on a new tattoo. We were supposed to go together to get our next ink in January. Now, we won't get that chance, and that makes me cry. This is just one of a gazillion regrets I have for your life being cut short. I am working on some art that will surely make you happy. It's a piece that incorporates all of us - you, your dad, brothers, and me. When I'm ready and the time is right, I'll get it inked, and then we'll always be together - all of us - right here on my body.

I'm using spirit animals stylized as tribal art to indicate each of us. While I'm not completely settled on the final version, for now, I'm an eagle, and Dad is the snow leopard - as ever. Chaz will be a raven - for intuition, acting, language and literature, and comedy. Xan is an otter - playful, loyal, fun-loving, friend of all. You, sweetheart, will be represented by a whitetail buck: the buck represents vitality, confidence, and pride and is a sign of spiritual or cross-dimensional journeying. It offers protection in times of transition or beginning.

On the night you died, Uncle Gopal drove me over to the crash scene. Just a little ways up the road, a big deer walked out in front of the car, forcing us to stop. It stared at me through the windshield and wouldn't move. I talked to her "Hey, sweetie, aren't you beautiful? What's going on?" Then she turned and danced a little zig-zag jig up the road right in front of us, finally turning off into the woods. I didn't know you had died at that point, but I knew without a doubt that deer was you. Unable to utter those words out loud, I just closed my eyes and swallowed hard, hoping that it was only my fear reading into things. Only later did I realize you had purposely come to tell me ahead of time, to anchor me in the truth -- that you are free and well -- before the horror of dealing with your earthly death hit me like a Mack truck.

I'm here somewhere between the ashes and the ink, Thor. Only time will tell how long I'll be here. I keep my heart open to see the signs you send - and they are many. There were four pink blossoms on the phlox last Saturday - after the temperature had been frigid for over a week. A tree-frog sleepily serenaded me one day from nearby a snow encrusted puddle as I strolled past. A huge grasshopper jumped out at me a few days ago - from the snow - only to light on a tree branch just above my head where he peered down at me with what looked like a grin on his face. And then the cardinals appeared like magic, a soothing balm when my heart was so very bereft.

These are breadcrumbs left by you to lead me out of this dark night of the soul and into a new dawn. Your message is clear. "One step at a time, Mama. We'll get there. I'll light the way when it's too dark for you to see."

I love you,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

For Thor - 26 - Walk

I was grateful for the cardinals yesterday. They haven't been here for almost a whole year and then when I was feeling so very low, my head throbbing from crying I spied a flash of red outside my window -- and there he was, bright, spry, cocky and beautiful. Just like you. As if that wasn't enough, his mate came to play and then they brought some friends. I know this was you showering me in cardinals to tell me you are here and that you are okay and that somehow, I'll be okay, too.

The weather was bleak, but I went out for a walk anyhow. I was compelled to take the Big Camera, not merely my cell phone. I walked and talked to you as I always do and felt you fall in step along with me. I swear you held my hand. My heart burst open and tears streamed down my face - as they always do when I am in the Biggest Big, the great outdoors and am talking to you.

Then something magical happened; you and I began to play. As I trudged along my usual route, subtle and unusual bits of natural beauty sprung up before me. You showed them to me, illumined with a special aura. All I had to do was listen and see through my heart, focus and snap the shutter. I felt a great calm and comfort settle over me after I came home. I looked through the photos, and it was like replaying a treasured conversation in my mind.

Today I was late getting up. I lagged and dragged butt just getting myself in gear - whatever that means these days. When I finally rolled over to look out the window, the spectacular display of sunlight dancing over and ice-encrusted world pulled me outdoors, in my pajamas. I didn't want to miss even one second of the fantastic show.

Later, I finally made it outdoors for our walk. Again I was rewarded with your presence, but today you led me off-road and down a new trail through the woods, over the creek and back up the ridge to our house by way of the spring. The whole time we moved in companionable silence through the snowy woods. I laughed out loud because you kept showing me dragons in the remains of rotting stumps that poked through the sun-sparked snow. It was a brilliant day of beauty and such a delicious comfort to discover we can interact like this.

As I topped the last hill before turning for home, the tears fell - not the tears of suffering, not even the tears of sorrow. These are tears of love. Looking up, I noticed a large old oak tree her branches climbing into the vast blue expanse of the sky. I rested my forehead on her bark and wrapped my arms around her stout trunk. A tree is a good crying buddy; all the ancient energy of the earth rises through the trunk and to offers a profound and soothing solace.

I'll not lie; I miss you terribly. My heart breaks at the thought of you not being here to live out your life and to share all those adventures with us. But today I have a glimmer of hope in my heart that I'll not only survive, but once again, thrive. It will take time, and that's okay. I'll not be the same as I was, and that's okay, too. I know you will help - and sometimes that means we just go for a walk in the woods and play with the light.

I love you,

Monday, February 15, 2016

For Thor - 25 - Breathless

Today, Mama is not okay. I woke up with an extra heaviness on my chest. Moving through my morning Yoga postures caused the dam break. Wracking sobs overwhelmed me, and an ocean of tears was let loose. Nope, Mama, is not okay. Not. Not. Not.

In the wake of Valentine's Day, which was very hard (I put a brave face on it for the rest of the family), I am flung back into the deepest part of the abyss. It hurts to be here where I can't breathe, and I can't escape. Each day that passes, and especially holidays, gradually concretize the fact that you are physically dead and are not coming back, ever. My psyche only permits acceptance of this horror a tiny bit at a time. The facts gain more solidity and weight as time ticks on. I cry a lot and hope in vain that this river of tears can wash away the horror. I imagine that somehow, my tears and pleas restore rightness; the rightness of you living and breathing among us.

My head can't get around the facts of this new reality. Am I backsliding into denial? It seems that grieving works, not in a linear expression of phases, but in spiraling cycles. I move through each step and do a little work on each, one at a time. Then I am back around to the beginning again, only up a level further on the spiral. Denial, sadness, anger, forgiveness, acceptance, denial, sadness, anger, forgiveness, acceptance….and on and on. Some days it feels like I am working on more than one at a time. These are hard days to handle.

Turning into the pain and facing these facts requires bravery. I am not shying away from writing the word "dead." Still, there is a big part of me that remains wrapped a protective bubble. I am only permitted to feel as much as I can bear and process each day. This shielding must be the work of Grace acting as a step-down transformer or governor switch. Grace actively throttles the pain and helps me to endure this unendurable anguish. It keeps me from losing my fucking mind. On this level, in the physical realm, Mama's heart is broken and hurts big time.

Meanwhile, I am finding new pathways into deeper consciousness. In the deep well of grief, I experience a hyper-expanded state of awareness. It is here that I can feel my way along the tethers that connect us all to Divine Source, and I can touch you. It is here that my heart, having been cracked open by grief, is overwhelmed with love and gratitude. The tears that flow are from a sacred pool that is sustained by the well-spring of Love. These are the same tears that Mary sheds for Jesus and that Quan Yin sheds for all human suffering. These are the same tears that every person sheds when their ripped open heart must learn to heal through compassion and love.

Reconciling the real mom with the existential, spiritual mom is hard. Yeah, I know the truth. I know you are okay and free beyond my understanding. I know you are still here with us in our lives and that there is good yet to come from this tragedy. I know that you are not the body and mind, but are immortal Self. You are my badass angel looking over me - over all of us.

However, knowing the truth doesn't mean we get an automatic pass on suffering. The work of grief results in reconciling two vantage points - the physical realm where suffering and sorrow exists and the realm where we are all connected in love. The one leads to the other if I can build the bridge and cross it.

The Well of Grief
Those who will not slip beneath
     the still surface on the well of grief
         turning downward through its black water
            to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
     the secret water, cold and clear,
        nor find in the darkness glimmering
            the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
-- David Whyte

There are great rewards for those who are fearless of being breathless and willing to dive deeply.

Your hurting, broken Mama needs refuge in the deepest quiet of the well of grief. Here can heal the acute anguish of the day. Here I'll find you, and hopefully, my Self, too.

I love you,

Sunday, February 14, 2016

For Thor - 24 - Valentine

It's Valentine's Day. So, yeah, you should be here. You would have taken Starr out for dinner and done something over the top and amazing to make a romantic evening. And then hopefully you'd have dropped by for Sunday supper and to receive the little candy heart from dad and me. Instead, I am writing you a love letter by a blog and hoping that the angel realm has access to the internet.

In keeping with the traditional cheesy Valentine theme, I want to use the letters of your name to reflect on the awesomeness of you. THURSTON Lewie, Eyes of Bluey, will you be my Valentine?

T is for Tremendous
In nineteen short years, you managed to live a life with tremendous impact on a great number of people. I am so impressed by just how many people have told me that you were their best friend and that you always listened when they needed to talk or that you would unquestioningly help them out in times of trouble or distress. It is tremendous that you volunteered at every opportunity, helping others, the community, and your family.

You also loved tremendously, fearlessly giving your whole heart and rolling with it wherever it might take you. I was amazed at how one so young could go so far in love.

H is for Hilarious
Your sense of humor is legendary. Combined with a whip-crack sharp intellect you picked up Dad's and my joyfully irreverent streak and took it to new heights. When I get a chance to talk with your friends, they regale me with tales of how you would have everyone cracking up with your antics and quick comebacks. What I love is that you didn't hurt anyone's feelings in the attempt to make a joke, using yourself as the fall guy, instead. It was a great day for me whenever you came home and would cut-up with your brothers and dad. Blazing Saddles and Smokey and the Bandit would always get you guys going.

U is for Ubiquitous
Okay, I have no clue how the hell you were ever in all the places and with all the people you were in the waking hours of any day. It never appeared to us that you were in a hurry, but somehow you made the rounds. From one end of the county to the other, you shared your time, easy smile and kind heart with so many people. I've heard from your friends that they miss your presence; I take this as a recognition of how rooted you were in each moment, living it fully with each person. I never heard you say, I wish I were somewhere else, doing something else. When you felt it was time to move on to the next thing, you just rolled on with a cheerful, "See ya later, Hoss."

R is for Rambunctious
Rough and rowdy rambunctiousness ran in a broad streak in your life. From your youngest days, you were drawn to big trucks, horsepower, heavy machinery, high caliber guns, loud music and speed. A good day for you would involve any, and preferably many, of these with some added mud and grease to top it off. I had to laugh on those days when you would walk in the door muddy, greasy and covered in cockleburs and were surprised at my insistence that you drop trou on the porch. No greasy cockleburs on the couch, please. I loved how you were undaunted by, and maybe even called to, wet, cold, mud, snow, ice, grease, dust, heat, dirt, and loud, rowdy messiness. You would march right into it and do whatever it was that you wanted to do.

S is for Skillful
You know those people who can do anything they turned their hand and mind to? Yeah, that's you. From working on motors to carpentry, guitar picking and cooking your favorite meals, you learned how to do things with such ease. It was a natural expression of your Self to fix, create, sing, cook and share your talents with others. I always knew you had been to the house because there would be evidence of venison and gravy being whipped up on the stove. It was such a joy to hear you and your dad play guitar and sing together. I miss that a lot, I must say.

T is for Totally Gorgeous
Oh, my. Yep, Bubby. You are one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen since the second you were born. Blue-eyed and charming you won everyone's heart without guile from your earliest years. Your handsome and able body was a sight to behold as you grew to be a man, but through all your life it was your heart and soul that shone through. Allowing others to see who you are is what made the biggest impact. There are a lot of pretty people, Thor, but you had this extra magical air about you that captivated and endeared you to everyone.

O is for Ornery
And you know it, too! You had just enough orneriness in you to keep me on my toes. As frustrating as it could be when you were rascally and irascible, you weren't mean about it. I found myself bemused and tolerant in this rare expression of cantankerousness. I chalked it up to the growing pains of becoming a man…it's a hard thing to do.

N is for Notable
Your life is notable, Thor, and by this I mean extraordinary! The thing I hope that most people will remember is the legacy of how much you gave of yourself to others. It was incredible to me that an 89-year-old man would come to me and say how you two were buddies and the very next person who spoke to me was a 14-year-old girl who said the same thing. You cared for people and you cared about what they were going through. When you asked them what's going on, you wanted to hear the answer and would talk a while. This is notable.

The fire service requires a lot from its members; rigorous training, ill-timed tones that interrupt long-laid plans, a willingness to put others before oneself, these are just a few of the personal costs to serve. We need more young people shouldering these life-protecting roles in our community. I am beyond proud of you for walking this road and for taking up the mantle of community service and putting it as a top priority in your life. This is notable.

You are an unforgettable big brother for Chaz and Xan. They will forever inject your memory into their lives as they unfold. They will hold you close and remember the love, fun, kindness, wry humor and good times of your short, but notable life.

As for me, you are always my ultra-extraordinary first child. You are the one who made me a mom, defined a new role in my life and opened my heart to a new depth of love that I didn't know existed.  Submerged in the deep well of grief, I struggle each day since your death, Thor. Still, I wouldn't trade loving you less intensely for hurting less keenly, now. I will gladly pay the price of love like ours.

There you have it, Thor. My cheesy Valentine to you. I hope you can feel the love in my heart that sings to you each and every moment of each and every day. 

Happy Hearts Day, sweet boy!

I love you,

Thursday, February 11, 2016

For Thor - 23 - Growth

We are marking six weeks since you died, today. How is it possible that I am writing these horrible words? How can it be true? Six weeks since I saw your smile and heard your laugh? Six weeks since you were a living breathing part of our family. Six weeks ago you moved on to another realm of being and we are here living out this hellish nightmare.

My mind rose out of sleep last night to find my thoughts preoccupied with you and your death. As usual. The middle of the night is when a lot of grief work happens, and I never know what will come up. As you might imagine, I was busily gnawing on a big wad of Mama Anger - the emotion of the day - when I threw myself out of bed in exasperation to stare out the window. Thought by thought I work to build an attitude of forgiveness. It's a struggle to dismantle the platform of anger and replace each plank with brand new planks of forgiveness. It doesn't happen overnight, and it only comes with diligent practice. I can tell you this; I am a reluctant forgiver at 2:30 in the morning, tired, shivering in my jammies and mentally roiling inside.

A car alarm suddenly went off in the driveway.

At first, I couldn't make sense of what I was seeing and thought it was Chaz's truck that had gone crazy. I woke Dad to stop it since he has that key. He looked outside and informed me that it was, in fact, my car that was blinking and blaring in the dark of the night. My car? What? My car alarm has never gone off. Ever.

In light of the conversation we were having when I woke and stared out the window, I took this to be you dropping by to let me know you hear me, and you are making damn sure I hear you. You know I'm mad, and I know you're sorry. I heard you implore me to find forgiveness in my heart. For all of our sakes. Anger is natural and has its purpose. I need to roar and yell at you and me and God and everyone. "This is some stupid fucking shit!" I scream into the abyss. Then anger must be returned to my back pocket. It is a catalytic force and is not supposed to be a state of being.

Used mindfully, anger gives voice to the deep hurt that lingers in the abyss of my soul. It amplifies and then burns away the anxious thoughts and regret I have about what "should be." It purges, clears and lays bare fresh ground primed for cultivating a new crop. However, before planting seeds, the ground must be prepared. And this is the role of forgiveness. It soothes and renders my heart ready to germinate the seeds of new life and unconditional love.

I see that this is not a linear journey. There is no direct path to take in this world colored by grief. I have been and will continue to be all over the map as I find my way back to wholeness. All my pieces are scattered, it is the only way to collect them all. I can be mad and forgive dozens of times over. As these circular cycles spin through my being they render my heart a little clearer and each time, a few more seeds are planted. I will be simultaneously mad, sad, happy, forgiving, cultivating and blossoming love for the rest of my life. This is the human condition, after all. Perhaps I'll learn to experience it with more awareness and compassion, now.

Thanks for the flashing lights and blaring horns, last night, Thor. I'm glad you came by to let me know you heard me roar and that you asked me to move beyond the anger. We are all worthy of love and forgiveness. We are all more than what we see on the surface. We are more than the story that surrounds us. We are all divine beings who have the potential to deeply affect each other's lives. You remind me of that, Thor. Everyday.

I miss you terribly. I love you deeply.
Forever and always, 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

For Thor - 22 - Anger 2 - Imperfectly Perfect

The hearts and flowers of my last letter to you are set aside today. Anger is back. Maybe it never left. Maybe it just went underground in the face of the brazen, bold and determined attempts at making sense of this. Maybe I put it aside so I could deal with the urgency of not drowning in the absolute abject agony of this fact: you died on December 31st in a stupid, stupid, stupid, fucking car accident. In my conscious effort to wrap this agony in love and to cushion everyone from the wrath that seethes in me just below the surface, I have tabled my anger. Well, it's back and hotter than ever.

I've been deeply agitated the past couple of days. This morning as I was doing my usual routine, the one that keeps me afloat, anger rose up inside me, and it ROARED! And I'm not mad at God, Thor. I'm still mad at you.

The past weeks have been heartbreaking, soul-crushing and eviscerating. The whole family is torn up. Your beloved Starr is torn up. Your friends are torn up. We are all thrown into a helter-skelter new reality. A reality that doesn't make sense, one that hurts like hell, one that doesn't have you in it. And you know what? There is a big part of me that is pretty pissed off at you for making this mess. Our family - your whole family -, Thor, is gutted. Big time, and why? 

Sure, I can rationalize that there is an aspect of destiny. I tell myself that nothing happens that isn't for our highest purpose. I tell myself that your moments were both quantified and qualified by some Higher Power. I tell myself that the Great Hand put something in motion that neither of us could have avoided all to enact a greater scheme than either of us could ever hope to see. I tell myself that you and I will meet again and that we are connected in new ways so that I don't go insane wondering where the hell you are and if you're okay. I tell myself to look for and even to cultivate some good to come of this tragedy. HA!

I don't know anything for sure. There is not one damned thing that I can prove beyond these concepts constructed of human thought. We don't know anything about what happens after our loved ones die. We just guess and rely on faith. We wrap the story up in hopeful fairytales that have a happy ending. We cling to these fairytales so that a crazy world can make sense. These fairytales emerge from our deep-seated fear of the unknown, of our mortality -- of death. Right now, I have little faith in fairy tales. Right now, all I know for sure is that you are dead and that all of us who love you are in a world of suffering and sorrow. Right now, I am aware that on this level, the level of this earthly tale, you made choices, Thor. You made choices that killed you, nearly killed your friend and blew the whole damn world up. Epic fuck up, son.

There, I said it.

Do you know how gut-wrenching this is to say? Do you have any idea how guilty I feel for even feeling this way? What kind of mom lays blame on her dead son for the choices he made that killed him? And the crappy thing is that I saw this coming and I couldn't do a damned thing to stop it. I saw you running hell bent for leather toward the cliff, and you wouldn't slow down. You wouldn't change your course. You heeded no warning and accepted no advice. You just ran and ran until you ran right out of your life. Out of my life.

We are all imperfect, and we all make choices that hurt others. When I look back at my youth, I have to say that Nana & Grandpa could very easily have been laying me in my grave at age 19. I was wild as a March hare and wily as a fox. My friends and I drove too fast, and we drove impaired, we never wore seatbelts, we drank and smoked and didn't go where we told our parents we would be. We skirted the law and colored outside the lines because we felt alive and free when we were defiant. We made wild-ass choices that could have killed us at any time in any place. Somehow, they didn't. Somehow we were protected from our stupidity. Somehow we were lucky enough to survive teenage insanity and grow to build productive lives.

Reflecting on my choices and the mindset that made them - I was completely and utterly unconquerable - gives me some perspective. It is here where I can start to forgive you - and maybe me, too. I could have done a thousand things differently that may have resulted in something different happening. But we'll never know. What we have instead is a story that looks like a typical statistical occurrence; male teen driver, going too fast in a jacked-up truck, while under-age drinking, wearing no seatbelts…these are the facts. These facts added up to the combo-punch that took you. You rolled the dice, and the house won, son. Game over.

I can't hold it against you that you weren't as lucky as I was. I can't keep being mad at you for making choices that have caused so much pain. I made the same dumb choices. I survived. You didn't. I don't know why.

There is no why.
It just is.
I am left to deal with the shitty end of the stick, as they say.  Hence the anger. No one wants the shitty end of the stick, my boy. No one.

Don’t get me wrong, this anger doesn't lessen my love for you. But you know that, don't you? We've done this dance together a few times, huh? My ire was always hard for you to face because I knew you so well and could see into the core of your being. You couldn't bullshit me on the stuff that matters. I am intimately aware of the firm and softer places in your character. Everyone who saw us knows that we are twin souls. I knew your heart and mind better than you did and because we're so much the same, and I had already been where you were. I have experience reconciling all those internal compass points that you still grappled with. While I could see that you had so much moving in a good direction, I could also see that you were in mortal peril as you rocketed toward the horizon, rudderless and wild.

No pretty pictures here today, son. Grace is hanging out on the periphery until this anger blows itself out. And it will. I can never stay mad at you for long. Especially after we've had a chance to talk about it. Which we just did.

Forgiveness starts here. For everyone. We are all imperfectly perfect. Each one of us has screwed up royally, and we will do so again. We are here to live, love, and laugh, to make mistakes, cry, mourn, and to forgive each other. We are designed to feel everything and through these feelings, we are called to push beyond our tiny selves and into each other's arms. We are imperfectly perfect. We are here to love each other through the storms and rejoice in the sunny days together because nothing is guaranteed. Clearly. 

I love you,

Monday, February 8, 2016

For Thor - 21 - Believe

I am consciously trying to stay in touch with you. I pay attention to the little signs and senses that there is more going on than what is happening on the surface. It's in this subliminal layer, shimmering beneath the outer shell of this reality, that our angels can talk to us.

Yesterday was a day full of messages. All morning, I felt extra raw. I cried at any moment and was just deeply missing you. This stretched out across the whole day as Dad and I moved through the motions of a Sunday at home. But it was a special Sunday and I missed you even more keenly. Dad and I worked together to make some shareable snacks and went to watch the Super Bowl at Radha and Dick's house. When we got there, I found out that others felt the same way all day; like you were really close, but still far away. It's like I can smell a delicious dish of food, but I cannot see, touch nor taste it. Your presence is relegated to the more ethereal senses. This is frustrating as hell, to not hear your voice, or hug you or feed you or dance with you in the kitchen.

I have to train my senses anew to be able to tune in to where you are. It's only fitting, I suppose that you send messages using music and media to reach out and touch our hearts.

Message #1 - Love.

The football game was really good (mainly because the Broncos won!), but it was the halftime show that got me. As Super Bowl halftimes go, it was a truly atypical attempt to pull together the past, present and future. It boldly blended genres and all but sang Cumbaya to us in a message of unity and peace. Then the fans in the stadium raised their colored cards in unison to create a visual message for us all unified multicolored, multifaith world to see. "Believe in Love," it said.

Love is what my lifelines are made of, Thor. Love for you. Love for your Dad and brothers. Love for family and friends. Love for the world. Love, pure and unqualified. Yes, I believe in that. Tears of sorrow flowed when that message appeared, but also with a little joy. Believe in Love is a strong message of hope and happiness and I felt your presence so strongly in it. You delivered straight to my heart.

Message #2 - Yeah, it sucks. It's okay to miss me.

Later when we headed home, I got in my car and was immediately hit with Cole Swindell's song You Should Be Here. It's really hard to drive with tears streaming down my face. Yes, my sweet boy, I wholly agree with Cole on this one:

You should be here, standing with your arm around me here.
Cutting up, cracking a cold beer, saying cheers, hey y'all it's sure been a good year.
It's one of those moments, that's got your name written all over it.
And you know that if I had just one wish it'd be that you didn't have to miss this.
Aw you should be here.
You'd be loving this, you'd be freaking out, you'd be smiling, yeah
I know you'd be all about what's going on right here right now.
God I wish somehow you could be here.
Oh, you should be here.
Yeah this is one of those moments that's got your name written all over it
And you know that if I have just one wish it'd be that you didn't have to miss this.
Aw you should be here.
You should be here.

I really felt like this message was you acknowledging to me that your death really was a shitty accident. Bad things do happen to good people.  It's okay for me to mourn and wail when I need to. And yes, you should be here!

Message #3 - I'm sorry.

Then, you woke me up this morning at 4:42 with the sound of Adele singing Hello. I have to admit to being a little amused at your choice of harbinger since I don't really hear this song much in daily life, nor is one that you would have put in a playlist. I only heard part of the song. This was more than a mere earworm because I truly felt you sing it to me, waking me out of a dead sleep. I sobbed silently in the dark before dawn, at the same time of day that you were born. I felt your big angel wings settle around me in comfort. Tears pooled in my ears as grief ripped my heart wide open, again.

Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home
Hello from the outside
At least, I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart

Oh, Thor! I hear you telling me you're sorry. I know that my sorrow and all the suffering causes you remorse. I want to tell you I'm the sorry one. I'm so sorry that your life is over. I'm so sorry that I couldn't prevent your death. I am so very, very sorry that you won't get to share the myriad moments of life with your brothers and dad and all your family and friends. That you'll miss out on so much. That we'll never get to know how full your life would be. And you had such a beautiful life, such a beautiful mind and a strong, capable body and a huge helping heart. In my mind's eye, I kiss you on the forehead and place a hand over your sweet heart. I'm sorry, baby boy.

Message #4 - Believe!

One more time I felt and heard you as I drifted back to sleep. Your voice was clear as a bell… "Mama, I'm okay. Believe in Love! I'm here, in Love." 

I woke this morning with a tear-stained face, and with hope budding in my heart.
Okay, baby. I hear you. I believe.

I love you,

Sunday, February 7, 2016

For Thor - 20 - Surface and Dive

Days, like today, I want to call out your name and demand that you come here, now. Quit this stupid-ass charade and come on, already! You can't be gone. It's Super Bowl Sunday! You and Starr are coming over for the party, to watch the game, and eat some fabulous food with us, right? The Broncos are playing and it's likely to be Peyton's last game. This means you would invite Travis, too, since he's a Broncos fan, and all.  It's times like these when you would normally hang out with us in these snapshot moments of life, that missing you cuts more keenly. There is a big part of me that still can't believe you won't be walking through that door to greet me with a casual "Hey, Mama." I long for a big hug from my Thorminator - from my Bubby.  Where the hell are you? Why aren't you here?

I'm tired, Thor. The rough and rocky journey that I've been on for the past five weeks is exhausting. I'm doing all the things I can think of to keep body, mind and spirit nurtured right now.  I'm in a marathon, wearing cement shoes while running through the mud, blindfolded and without full capacity of my lungs, mind or muscles.  The really shitty part is that there isn't an end to it. There is no finish line. The darned thing just keeps on going.

The marathon is Life, darling boy, and somehow I'm still in it.  All the weight and drag I sense is the result of your death and my grief over it. Life, well living, is so much harder these days. Just to muster the strength for basic self-care and caring for this family is as much as I can manage some days. I have made some baby steps into normalcy. Yesterday, I drove a vehicle for the first time since December 30 and I went to church. I scheduled a dentist appointment for your brother for next week. Dad and I are going to see the grief counselor. These sound like small, insignificant tasks compared to my usual Herculean capacity for doing, but they are meaningful signposts on the road to healing. They are signs that the crushing weight of your death is being assimilated, slowly, into the new me. 

What is a person to do when a part of their soul dies? How long will it take for my heart to stop hurting so badly that it's hard to breathe? Why can't I stay in the peaceful place that I know exists deep inside my being? How long will this agony of grief continue to erupt like hot magma from a volcano? There are so many questions from so many different parts of me.

It seems as if I am living in a video game where my avatar is in a mortal struggle on multiple levels all at once.  I rise to the surface and then dive like a whale, as I move from one level to the next, seeking out what is to be done in each. Physical, mental, spiritual, relationship; each level has its challenges and expression of potential. I must grieve and find the truth in each one.

Grief physically hurts and is draining. My body needs special care in order for it to sustain me through this experience. My mind plays a big role in how well adjusted I feel. I practice mindfulness to monitor my thoughts and with gentle awareness, train them to not linger too long on the morbid or morose, but to refocus on something beneficial. I must bravely allow anguish and sorrow to rise up and consume me in the flash floods of feeling that are part of my daily experience. I am learning to plumb the depths of the spiritual teachings I have been given to test their veracity in the face of this great sorrow. Can I experience Oneness, now? Can I open my heart to love, now? Relationships are all askew. Communication is spotty and I need to find new ways to connect with those whom I love. It is hard to see them and have the truth of your death reflected back at me in their eyes. Seeing the grief of others often triggers that hot magma eruption…it's cyclical and disorienting.  How will all of me ever get working, again?

The fact that I'm still standing - or sometimes crawling - is a testament to the fact that Grace has descended upon me to help me endure the unendurable. I shudder to think what would become of me if not for Grace. Grace engulfs me in a silken bubble so I may slip beneath the surface to the depths of grief; deep down to where souls touch. Grace removes the shades from my eyes so that I may see when the sun parts the clouds and smile into the warmth there. Grace flows through me like a river that keeps me moving, one foot in front of the other. It silently and softly drags me in its current when I really just want to sit down and never move again. Even in the lowest low, when I don't know if I'm coming or going, Grace is here. I know this because I have not stopped breathing. My heart is broken so profoundly, yet I know Grace is here because this broken heart radiates love.

All this. And more. The road is rocky and long. I am blessed with Grace. I am grateful for so many blessings.

Still, it's Super Bowl Sunday and I just wanna share it with you. I miss you.

I love you,


Friday, February 5, 2016

For Thor - 19 - Weather

There is not a lot of energy small talk these days. I find myself at a loss when I get around other people. The normal banter and easy chit-chat that I usually conjure is silenced. I long for silence. Not lonely silence, even with someone by my side, the silence is so good that I am content to stay in it and just hold someone's hand. Like a Quaker, speech only comes if something rises up three times. 

Surely there's a big, blinking sign above my head telling folks, "This Woman Is Dealing With The Greatest Human Sorrow Imaginable." It must be apparent in my eyes or in my demeanor that I have been so deeply wounded. Don't I look like the walking dead? I feel as if a big part of me is dead; so disconnected from the so-called "real world" that I just am not interested in all the usual things. My attention is continually drawn inward to where grief has rented all the interior spaces and moved in; my new constant companion.

The inner landscape is where the work happens.

Anyone who knows me knows that meditation is not my favorite thing. For the past three weeks, I'm compelled to sit so that I can survive. Meditation, or even just quiet contemplation, is a lifeline. I have a few of them at the ready - writing, walking, hatha yoga, eating healthy, doing something that results in something beautiful like art or cooking, smiling on purpose, dancing, burning incense, feeding the birds, family time with your dad and brothers. All of these lifelines are strong and are braided out of strands of love - the love that was exposed when the world shattered, that moment when your heart stopped and my heart kept beating. The unfathomably deep cut made by your death triggered a massive explosion of love that is now pulsating around the globe. I am cut to the very core of my being which hurts so badly that there are moments when I can't imagine living one more moment. I'm cut and I'm bleeding but when I really look at what is pouring out of me, out of this pain, it's love. That's what the heart is made of, you know.

Every day, I sit in the weather. The sun rises and I am here with my heart still beating and life being breathed in and out of my lungs, and I sit in the storm spun up by the pain of loss. The air is sharp with ozone, roiling clouds brood blackly all around and ripping winds tear at the tatters of my heart. All I can do is tether myself with lifelines and sit in this weather. Pain rises up and batters me, but still I sit. Agonizing and gruesome thoughts of your death haunt me, but still I sit. The resentment that you've been taken from me and that life is moving on without you seethes around me, but still I sit. Guilt threatens to toss me into a sea filled with monsters, but still I sit. The worry for the well-being of your dad and brothers prods at me to jump up and take action, but still I sit. Antsy thoughts that demand to know where I am going and when I'll feel useful to the world again tug and pull at me insistent that I move; that I do anything other than sit here with this pain, in this weather.

Still. I. Sit.

The weather will change in its own good time. The gaping maw of this agony looms and I gaze directly into its heart and I ask, "What is feeling pain? Who feels pain?" The answer is… I am a mother with a mother's heart. I contemplate that for a while. Yes, I am your mother. You made me a mother. And I love you dearly. I've loved you since the very first moment when I knew you were part of me. You, who are the child of my heart, the child of my soul.

The part of that statement that feels pain is "a mother with a mother's heart." I know this is true. I have the shattered heart to prove it.

The part of that statement that is Pure Peace is, "I am."

Is it possible to have a deeper understanding of who I am, really? Is the 'me' that feels all this pain the real me, the only me? Perhaps I AM is all there is, really. I AM, the same I AM that came to Moses, is so much bigger than this pain, this loss --this weather. I AM wholly encompasses everything; all the hurt, all the stories, all the drama, all the human foibles, all the potential, all the love. Everything. I AM is Peace - at all times.

When stillness settles in, even if the weather is blowing all around, I feel you, Thor. The love that is exposed and expressed so strongly since you died carries and sustains. It is here in the bosom of I AM and surrendered at the feet of God that the mother's heart will heal and shine again, bigger than before and brighter than the sun. Thought by thought, minute by minute, the only way to do this is to sit in the weather, tethered with Lifelines of Love, and pray for Grace to part the clouds.

I love you,

Thursday, February 4, 2016

For Thor - 18 - Bridge

Yesterday we were visited by your VDOT Bridge Crew, they guys you went out into the field with every day. They came here bearing gifts borne upon the love and respect they have for you, Thor. They stood in the entry just out of the pouring rain, since removing all those big muddy boots would take a long time and they weren't about to make me have to get out the mop.

I was presented with a large bag which has all the gear from your locker including two pairs of your own big muddy boots, in addition to rain gear, cold-weather gear, socks, gloves and hard hats. They shared a story of how you stepped out under a bridge one day and the water came up over the top of our boot, so you stopped at the Dollar General to buy some new, dry socks. They came in a two-pair pack. Only needing one sock to replace the soggy one, we now have the remaining three. I told them that keeping your feet dry was a constant dilemma for me as you grew, but I was glad that you came to realize the value of it. It was a good moment to laugh.

The next thing they gave me was a brand new road cone that is signed by the whole Bridge Crew, the Residencies, and several folks in Lynchburg, too. This personal expression of their appreciation for you is truly heart warming. And as an added benefit I get to have my own traffic cone in the living room. This will come in handy when we have parties here and I need to keep folks moving in the right direction. Another good moment to laugh. I could see in all their faces how much they miss you.

Then I received a Virginia State Flag which was flown over the Capitol in your name, sweetheart. It has a certificate with your name on it from the Department of General Services. This made me cry with pride and sorrow, both.

And finally, there was a hand-written letter from the District Engineer, Chris Winstead. His beautiful observations about you, your life, and the rich value you brought to everyone who you met have me thinking deeply about bridges. Here are a few of his words that have touched me so. "…[Virginia's] bridges do much more than carry loads using concrete and steel. Bridges connect people. Bridges connect people to a better life. As I sat in Thor's funeral listening to the positive difference he made in the lives of others I was honored he chose to join us on the Dillwyn Bridge Crew as a VDOT employee. I also realized he had mastered the art of connecting people long before VDOT employment. Bridge building came naturally to him." More tears of pride and sorrow.

This is so very true of you, darling son. Your whole life it seems, short as it was, was rooted in connecting with people. All people. Age, race, and socio-economics bore no weight with you when it came to making friends and lending help. It has me thinking about this aspect of the legacy of your life and how we can learn from it. How can I establish better connections with others to help them cross over turbulent waters? Each day, I can choose to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Each day, I can consciously add another small stone of positivity to span the gulf of divisiveness and help pierce the illusion that we are separate from each other.

I am moving in a new direction, one that your life, and death, have set me on. Each day, I seek out the bridge that keeps me connected to you and helps me cross over these turbulent waters. Dawn by dawn and sometimes hour by hour, I move forward a little more. One step at a time, I find a little more footing across this treacherous terrain of grief. It's good to know there is a bridge and that I can access it. This heartens me and gives me the strength to not be afraid of the pain and confusion in this fall-out zone. It will come and it hurts like shit, but I am not afraid of it. It won't drown me. It won't kill me. It won't ruin my life.

There is a bridge…and it's name is, Love.

I love you,

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

For Thor - 17 - Wolf

Moonstruck is one of my favorite movies for many reasons, not the least of which is that love always wins. I also adore the part where Nick Cage's character, Ronnie Cammareri, laments about his ruined life because his fingers got cut off in a slicer after which his fiancé left him. He blamed his brother, Johnny, for this for years since Johnny was there talking to Ronnie when it happened. Cher's character, Loretta Castorini, has a heart to heart with Ronnie to try to convince him to forgive "the bad blood" and come to the wedding - her wedding - to Johnny. She points out to Ronnie that he actually sliced off his own fingers. Like a wolf caught in a trap, he chewed off his own foot to escape the trap of marrying the wrong woman. She points out that the part of him that is a wolf is not afraid to do what is needed to keep him from falling into the wrong life situation. He has to live with knowing that a big part of him is a wolf that could do that. He's lived in fear, cowering before his own strength, knowing and potential for years. Happily, love awakens him.

Thoughts, even those silent, subconscious thoughts, create our reality. I'm supposed to be living a purpose-driven life. Instead, I stalled out in a twilit land living a quasi-life. I've set-up housekeeping here, put up drapes and dusted the nik-naks. This is not how to live up to the highest calling. I've been asleep at the switch and on cruise, denying a host of signs and invitations to move to higher understanding. I've consciously avoided or minimized change, purpose and growth in favor of busyness. I lost the drive and fearlessness for living authentically in favor of living comfortably. I've strayed far from the path of auspiciousness and truth and have caused pain to others along the way in my cowardice and apathy.

It was going to take something really big to blow this interior castle of bullshit to smithereens and then demand of me…what the fuck are you doing here? Remember! I have been given the wake-up call to trump all wake-up calls…my son is dead. And on some cosmic level, because I don't believe that Life just happens to any of us - I am integral to this storyline.

I could take this assessment and sink into a good long bout of abject self-loathing. That would probably feel better, and certainly easier, than what I'm being awakened to do. I can't change the past, worrying over that is just a waste of time. I need to find forgiveness within myself for myself for having fallen into this trap built of my own short-comings. We are only given that which is of ultimate benefit to us - that which will bring us closer to each other, closer to God. That is the whole purpose of life here, everything that occurs does so to return us to that awareness. It is all purposeful, even if it is painful. The most painful things may be the most purposeful of all, actually. If I am willing to lean into this pain to seek the truth and express it in my life then I can merge into that purpose.

All of us who love you, Thor, have been hit by dynamite and a big-ass wrecking ball. The castle walls are down. They lay in rubble all around. All the demons that lived in the castle are running wild and wreaking havoc. I am hurt, bleeding and bewildered in this fall-out, as are your dad and brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. I'm still in triage, nursing the acute agony of my wounds. But even now, my heart is scanning this interior landscape for clues on what's to be done to regain the right road - The Road to Truth. I'll not be rebuilding the walls with these same stones in this same place.

Each day since you died, I pray for Grace to intercede and make bearable that which cannot be borne. Today I am adding a prayer for courage and empathy; courage to face what has been and what must be and empathy to move with kind awareness of my fellow travelers on this horrific road. We are all being called to change and grow. This is scary as shit. We are already nerve-wracked and tired, but we Cant. Stay. Here. There is nothing left of the old life, the old me, the old us that was here before you died. It's gone. We have to pick up the only pieces that matter - our love for each other - and move along. We have to leave the rest behind.

I love you,

Monday, February 1, 2016

For Thor - 16 - Render

I find myself very serious, thoughtful and emotive these days. There is little or no room for joy. The emotions that encumber my attention are heavy like wet leaves. The words that used to come to help me articulate what is happening are choked because the feelings that emerge are so damned suffocating. I don't want to admit the harshness of how I am feeling even to myself, anymore. I've been depressed with anxiety before…this feels way too much like that and it scares the shit out of me. My little boat won't stay afloat. It slips beneath the waterline and hovers there beneath the surface. I am bailing like crazy with daily prayer and a healthy routine, writing, photography and movies…a lot of movies. Will I find my way back to peace again? Will I emerge from this cocoon with new wings and a new ability to fly? Doubt has gained a little toehold. What to do about that?

We had weekend featuring ever more chatter and busyness. All the activity plunged me deeper into this hole. I am trying to figure out why this happens. What about Life moving on around me causes this hyper-angst and sucking sadness? Laughter physically hurts and often turns to tears.

At the end of a noisy day, I lay down to go to sleep and that is when I am engulfed in the heaviness. The movie theater of memory plays the night you died over and over. The eyes of friends and family reflect back to me the horror, the truth; the one that my mind is still trying to absorb and can't, quite. If it's a good night, I hear your voice and remember your smile and I can conjure your confident swaggering walk and your great sense of humor. But often the memory movie dwells on how you were thrown forcefully out of that truck, hit your head and died right then and there on the ground. How I wish I could have protected you from your own volition, your own brash cockiness, your own date with fate. Then the movie moves on to that horrible moment when I saw you laid out in a casket. I held your hand and it gutted me that it was so cold. All I wanted to do was warm you up. I wanted to transfer every bit of life energy and warmth from my body to yours. I would give all of what I am to see you released from this terrible new story line.

We say, and I know this to be true, that the body is merely a vehicle for spirit to walk about and experience Life. Like a coat, the body is shed when it is no longer usable and the spirit moves on. I just have to say that I really, really liked this coat, Thor. Like a lot. And I really, really liked you walking around wearing it, sweet boy. So the physical Mom's heart is ripped to shreds and still bleeds freely. The spiritual MA, the one that is so connected to the Real You, expands and grows toward that Divine Love with each day and knows that any story of this plane is limited and subject to change.

I can't reconcile what is happening around me with what is happening inside me with what is happening at the soul level. I don't know how to move, how to talk, how to walk, how to think, how to laugh, how to work, now. The gulf is so wide and deep that I wonder if I can ever pull these pieces back together.

I've been reading some pretty deep stuff lately to help me come to grips with you dying and how to greet each day that passes. There is solace in spiritual texts, memoirs from others who have traveled this road and even some of the very wise social media memes that pepper my content feeds daily. These gems of wisdom invite me to take heart and seek the immortal spirit where you are whole and hale. While others remind me to be gentle with this earthly mother's heart. They remind me that grief is a process that will slow and ease into something bearable - given time. I have some advice on how to ride the waves that rise up to capsize me. There are many offerings to remind me that you are with me every moment as a bright, shining angel and that you will walk with me as long as I am on this road. I have been told I will never get over it, nor through it.

It's too much. I am overwhelmed with everything, and yet I need everything that is being offered just so I can get by. This is grief work and it fucking sucks. No wonder my little boat is willing to simply slip away quietly into a gray and numb place. Depression offers the illusion of rest for a weary heart. It is not rest, it is a life-sucking energy vampire that lays in wait for me. I have to keep paddling, bailing, striving for --- something. I don't even know where I am going anymore. I thought I had a some coordinates to guide me on this journey. I thought that the discovery of Divine Love would help me find you and would offer an answer and maybe it will whenever I eventually get there. Right now that seems a far off destination when I am in the middle of these ripping gale force winds and crushing currents.

The truth is, this is not answerable. This is not solvable. We are different now. More different than I ever imagined we would be. We are on new headings to places I never imagined existed inside the human heart. I'm gonna get the crap kicked out of me on this road. In this crucible I'll be purified, but not until I've melted and softened in the fire. On this raging sea, I will have to learn to sail and sometimes swim for shore. It's exhausting and consuming to be on this journey of spirit, fire, water, blood and bone.

I fervently pray for Grace to intercede and help me endure what is not endurable. I pray that I can render unto God what is God's; You and me - all of us, really. This surrendered state will offer real rest if I can do it. Render unto God what is God's…

Gah! Like I said, Thor, these are heavy, heavy thoughts. I need a break. Movie, anyone?

I love you,