I was painting a dragon holding the earth…. with the TV on for background noise this morning. And in a new story a woman had just lost her son. It was a local story and the reporter was trying to get some kind of response and the mother really couldn’t put anything together… she just lost it and started sobbing. I though, I know what that is like. I wish I didn’t. It is hard to remember what it was like not to know. You have a long journey ahead, lady. I pray you have the strength.
And really, I just want to paint this dragon… to get it right on the canvas. I don’t want to have to stop because Coldplay’s Fix You is playing… and now I am just staring. I’m sensitive. Sometimes sad… sometimes angry… sometimes numb. There is nothing wrong with being sad. I have a good reason to be sad. Grief, I am told, is the price we pay for love. And I will always love my son. And more and more, I think I’m okay.
I keep thinking,
this isn’t me… this isn’t how I am… it’s not who I am…
It’s tough to remember a year ago before this all began… Part of me know that although life wasn’t perfect, that I was very very happy. And when I think about what I’ve learned and what I’m learning, to live without Ethan, to live with pain and sadness… and to look out upon that bit of bit of emptiness onside… on a future that somehow seems long and empty. And I catch myself at moments:
Okay, God, that is enough… fix it… make it the way it was…
In the background behind the dragon and the earth is the milky way… which I guess they get through long exposures by cameras that follow the sky as it rotates. So you would never see it like you do in the pictures I found online. But somehow in my mind, that is how it is supposed to look. And I think of the elements from Chinese philosophy… Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, Wood… and what the colors symbolize. Since this is going in the new dojo… or at least I hope it is… There is water and earth, fire, wood and metal… Symbolic of all creation- that moment when everything came into being… sort of like the big bang with a dragon.
I think this is it. I am going to let it sit and see how it looks in the morning.
The fight of my life… recovering from the death of a child. Yearning for some kind of peace. Dealing with emotions… intense, confusing, jumbled… and it really does feel like life has shattered. And it is about life. The struggle it seems isn’t just picking up the pieces, it is also to keep from losing more- losing relationships- losing the flavors and colors and joy of life- losing myself… and still what doesn’t seem to change is that at the end of it, your child is still gone forever, and your life, no matter how much you can pick up and try to put back together- it isn’t right, it isn’t close to right and it will never, ever be the same. All the while, I just want to do something else. Read a book. Paint a canvas. Play a song. Go to the movies. Or curl up in a ball on the floor.
I am afraid. I hold Marquita. I try to let her in… and not hide this from her. I’m showing her what is inside… those hidden things I am afraid of… thoughts that I don’t want to give shape to or put into words… and those dark figures in the corner. She will understand. She’s fighting for her life as well. The only way we can make it is together.
My son, Justin is amazing. He’s working. He’s looking confident and healthy… and really beginning to find his way in the world. He knows what he likes and what he wants… and I will be there for him.
I’m okay. I can do this.
So I guess there is something about moving on or closure or some other meaningless psycho babble. Somehow after five days given for bereavement at work, I’m just supposed to be fine and do my job. I put on a brave face every day. I go to work. I really do enjoy life most days. Some days I just do what I need to do to get through it. But I look forward to tomorrow even if it isn’t like it used to be… even if it isn’t right. . And I don’t know if it is getting better- I think it is. I certainly isn’t getting worse.
I can’t do this any more. I don’t want to.
But I can’t quit. Where do I run? I can’t hide from this… I can’t numb it out. I can’t wish it away. I pick up the pen and a scrap of paper and I write a few lines down, but the words don’t work and this isn’t helping. I don’t want people to read this. To see this. I don’t know what I want. I write and edit… and pretty soon I have lines that don’t flow… bits and pieces, scattered thoughts- and I try to pick them up and put it together into something that makes sense. Maybe someone will understand.
People hold me. People pray. And I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the people that have kept me and loved me.
Really, I’m fine. I’m okay.
Life is amazing and beautiful. I know it takes focus. It takes work, and the discipline to let go, and to let it be. Life is breathing and walking and I believe it is good.
God is good. I will always remember that. I will always hold onto that.
A soul is a delicate thing. And a soul needs to be nurtured and fed. And when I walk through this world I will remember to look after my soul… to look for those deep fault lines that can fracture, or those specks of darkness that can drag it down.
I remember moments. Sometimes I can feel them. I can hear Ethan’s laugh. I can see his smile. Sometime I think I can feel his bear hugs. I try to hold these memories. His rhythms and patterns. Sight or sound or smell… to grip it, grasp them and hold them to my chest… to press them against my face and breathe them in, like the breath of a newborn.
I will carry on. I will speak his name. And I will live life the way it is meant to be lived… I will not let darkness win.