People ask if I need anything. And I don’t really know. I think things are good.
People offer you help. They say that whatever I need, just ask. And then I ask…. really it isn’t always going to happen. Life can’t really stop for you or me. And the biggest thing I need… would be time. I had to get a doctor’s note so they wouldn’t dock me $400 when I call in sick. Since I am out of sick days… they can charge me for the sub at $115 per day or for the total contract amount if I don’t have a “real” reason. And yet I think that life is good. Marquita couldn’t get off work on the anniversary of her son’s death? So much for “whatever you need.”
Some months before Ethan died, I watched the movie Happy. I watched it several times. And there was a bit of researched information about a “set point” that I had not only heard before, but we had actually used in team building seminars… that studies of lottery winners and paraplegics show that after some time that people return to some pre set level of happiness or misery– that it really isn’t about situations or material possession…
Before Ethan died. Life was good. I was worried about an $800 monthly deficit, since Marquita had been laid off and Justin hadn’t been able to find a job. Eventually the saving would evaporate and bad things would happen. I was loosing weight. I was exercising. My job was good. And even when I look at those struggles, I think I knew they were temporary.
Now, Marquita is back at work and Justin has found a job. And without Ethan’s rent, insurance, monthly supplies, and cell phone bills those extra bills, we can actually make ends meet.
I read stories from grieving parents… about ending up hospitalized… about being paralyzed and not being able to lose the house… about failed marriages, about addictions, about thoughts of suicide. I read one mother recounting how she planned to kill her husband so her girls who had died would not be alone.
I think the very first hurdle I had to overcome when Ethan took his life was that crisis of faith… not so much to find some purpose or deeper message, it was more about discovering how to relate to God, how to love Him, to find my way back to grace about seeing if the faith I had built up and depended on for decades could sustain me… It wasn’t about doubt, it was more about anger and the bigger question about if God could really rescue me, If He could save me… and if He really was good.
So I can see something off in the distance. A bit of blue sky. An end to the storm. My guess is that some of this weight will never be lifted. I think I will always be a little sad. That grief will be a part of my life. But that same bit of worried happiness I had will return. I love my wife. I love my job. My faith is something solid I can build on… so on the balance, although a bit sadder, life is good.