Saturday, May 13, 2017
For Thor - 84 - Grace on the Wing
Good morning, Thor. My heart is so full that my chest is tight and my throat feels closed today. The well of my heart has not been still, it bubbles up from the deepest places where love and grief and joy and sorrow abide and demands my attention. I have been able, lately, to allow grief to coexist with my living, loving, laughing, working self. Grief and I had found an amicable balance where I would talk to you and keep my heart open for signs and to feel love always. I would cry sometimes, but not all the time. I discovered that I can still laugh and really mean it. The sun kept coming up, the stars turned in the night sky and gradually life began to be lived through me, again. The chapter of me living as a refugee ended, I turned the page and was transformed into a survivor. But my journey doesn't end there.
Over the past couple of weeks that balance has shifted by degrees, this shift was so subtle I didn't notice a deep unrest building inside of me. I thought I was just tired or worried about work or the details of establishing our farm or the new house addition or the event we are planning in your memory. But it's none of those external things. I find myself in a new place on this journey. I am at yet another level of grief, and this one is tough. You see, the shock has worn off. The newness of a world without you in it has aged and become bizarrely familiar. We are not strangers to facing the days and nights with the specter of your sudden and far too soon death hanging over us. It is here, with eyes wide open, that I see the intractable, bare metal truth of your gone-ness from this life. Some people say it's reality setting in, that it takes this long to realize that you're indeed not coming back in my front door. I thought I had been embracing the truth of it all along, but there is more your death will teach me. There is more I have left to see, to learn, to embrace, to grow through and release.
I have to have faith that I have the strength to stay open through this new agony. I'm walking around with a huge hole in my heart, just the same as if someone blasted me with a shotgun right in the chest. That's how it feels, all the time.
And still, I walk on. Grace swoops in and guides me along, step by bloody step forward, toward love. Sometimes I am a willing participant, letting Grace show me new love and new dimensions of the human heart. Sometimes I dig in my heels and let my broken mama heart wail…Why the hell did my son die? Can't we have a do over? My arms feel empty and long to hold him. Surely in the vast possibilities of the entire Universe, there's a chance for me to embrace him again? Sometimes I get so pissed off I want to smash something. I imagine hitting a huge glass window and having it shatter under the force of my rage. I want to break this fucking world…fuck any reality in which it's allowable for you to be dead! And then I burst into tears, and the uprising of pain and anger reminds me of just how much I miss you, Thor. I miss you so terribly. I am stricken with choking sorrow in these moments, and I fight to find my footing.
Recovery comes more quickly than it used to. I can pull back from the edge to answer a question from a coworker or to listen to your dad and brothers tell me something about their day. I can leave the altar in my heart where still hold vigil for you and know that it's okay for me to step away for a while and immerse myself in other things. I've come to understand that leaving the constant mourning state is okay. I haven't abandoned you or forgotten you or let your memory fade when I choose to focus on something or someone else.
If I pause a moment to look back, I have come a long way. Last year at this time I had no capacity to allow the pain and sorrow to exist side by side with the joy and beauty in a moment. I couldn't pull myself away from the thought of your death and engage with the day to day patterns that call one to get up and go to work each day. Last year at this time I was a shattered vessel, an empty shell with the wind of grief howling through the chambers of my heart and drowning out everything else. When the first Mothers Day after your death dawned, I mourned you amid the flowers and cards that were sent to comfort and uplift me. Your dad and brothers took me camping, we went out in nature and let the bigness of the sky and the lake and the woods embrace me.
We've come a long way, Bubby and you've been by my side every step on this terrible path. I'm still breathing so that means we aren't done. Grieving a dead child is a life sentence, you know. Only when my earth walk is over will this journey through pain, sorrow and suffering into expanded awareness, unconditional love and total joy be truly over. But I'm not in any particular hurry because this is our new relationship, Thor. You are my guiding star helping me unfurl and blossom into a state of being that is the goal of all humankind. The suffering and the sorrow shake us up to remind us of what is real and what is an illusion. The Love we share is the love that carries us to a better shore and binds us to each other. Each moment has its truth, its lesson is an opportunity for us to feel what is happening now. Feel it and release it. I have learned that I can't think my way past the expression of sorrow, that kind of denial only intensifies sorrow's power like holding a lit firecracker tight in your palm will blow off your fingers. Better to stay open and let the explosion go off in the expanse of open air. Observe it. Acknowledge it. Let it go.
No word that can express the love I have for you, boyo. But you know that already, don't you?
Thanks for sending the hawk to play with me the other day. What a Mothers Day gift that was! I smiled through tears and laughed out loud at this proud bird playing peek-a-boo with me. Truly, it was Grace on the Wing delivered straight to my heart.
I love you,