Yesterday, I read this short inspirational thing about one kid meeting another who was carrying a pile of books home on a Friday… and they become best friends. The boy discovers during the other kid’s valedictorian speech that on that he had intended to kill himself that day and was clearing out his locker so his mother didn’t have to…
And even though I have read that story a dozen times or more… I wept.
On my way to work, a song made me cry… and then the next… and one after that. So I stopped at Circle K to buy unhealthy snacks and compose myself. Let it out. Let it go. And always breathe. Lots of things bring tears. Sometimes nothing… no trigger… no memory- I just let my guard down, I just relax and let it go.
And this morning we finally have heavy rain. And something inside is happy to hear it hitting the roof. I watched this story of an old father and his adult son on a bench… the one with the sparrow… and I wept. But the rain? The cat looks up when the wind brings a louder rush of drops…
For a year I have mourned through mostly gloriously beautiful days… A beautiful spring and cloudless summer followed by a warm winter…and this winter I have been audience to magnificent displays of color in day after day of sunsets and sunrises. I have mourned for a year without displays of black bunting on the rail… but rather white Christmas lights. I have not dressed in black from head to toe… or remained sullen and quiet. And every time I have collapsed into grief on the couch, I have gotten up and walked back into life. It has been a hard year… sad… very sad. The most difficult year of my life. But it hasn’t been a year of darkened, paralyzed, numbing sadness. Thought this year it has been light and warm and I have in a very real sense, been loved and cared for every day through this. Every moment that numbness or anger or overwhelming darkness took was relatively brief and there always seemed to be someone there to share it with me and to move with me to some other place of grief and mourning.
I spoke online to a mother who spent two years mostly in a hospital after losing her husband and two children in a house fire. She made two attempt to end her life and spent weeks in a medicated haze… And after a few months of what they call “residential” care, she returned to what remained of her life… moved in with her sister… saw the rebuilt house where she lived and lost her family, and went to the storage unit to see what her family had salvaged from the house… her kids, furniture, her books, their dishes, all of the clothes… the smell of smoke, the photographs. And over the months she has gone back and rebuilt her practice, and sorted through that unit- rescuing all the pictures and a few precious items… and sold the house, preferring to stay with her sister. She has adopted several dogs. And I wonder how she does it.
It has been a year of trying to take care of myself. Of accepting loss, accepting help… of being child like. Of being thankful for the people who care… who are watching and listening with real concern. And all their words and gestures, and hugs and food… whatever time they have given us- I am extremely grateful.
And remembering. I think in someways how you remember… what you choose to dwell on– you not only relive that moment, but change it, reframe it, refocus… and re-remember it. I remember things with great care. And with Ethan, I think of hugs. Of smelling his hair. Of him squeezing my ribs and lifting my feet off the floor. I can see him sitting in that chair with one knee raised almost to his chest. Or hear him “cooking” in this kitchen… and banging pans and slamming doors. His memory is here… and I hear it in the cadence of the rain- like sticks on a practice pad- flam-a diddles and paradiddles. These things I remember fondly… and there are no tears, maybe the sky cries for me. And so I like the rain.