Dear family and friends,
For those that so much wanted to be there for me but I did not let you in I am sorry. I did not mean to shut you out. It is what I needed to do. I did not have the strength to grieve with you. I needed all of my strength for myself and my family. Please forgive me. We do what we need to do to survive.
It has been long time getting from here to there. I am now in a place where this will be my last posting to this blog. All of you have been so honest in your listening and caring. I am a better man for it because you have shown me what to do with my own pain, to be patient and forgiving of myself.
How do I know I am finally there?
There is no road sign telling you that you are leaving one state and entering the next.
Maybe it is not a final destination but a realization that this pain is here to stay, it is a part of me, it is who I am. Maybe that is the destination, the end so to speak. I have tried to hold it in my hands, twisted and turned it, tried to understand it, put purpose behind it. Maybe I should have just let it flow through me? Hell if I know. I do know that my son’s death is the end of a lifetime but it is not the end of my relationship with him.
My letters to my son have given me a safe place to feel the wisdom of the heart, to release the toxic energy of my anger. It was important for me to share all of the energy of this pain, to learn and grow, to find a purpose for this pain and maybe a purpose for my son’s death, to give more meaning to his life and others. I suppose, in the end, it all depends on how well I live my remaining years, how well I honor this life that I have been given.
I have often defined this journey as a life and death struggle, trapped, waiting and hoping for it to end not knowing when the waves will crash down upon you, drag you under and tumble you against the rocks, not knowing if you will even survive. But, just as your energy to fight leaves you, it releases you as if to say, “You won that round. I will be back. You can count on that.” And when that happens you take a deep breath knowing that it will be back but for now, this day, this moment, you can catch your breath. You fear it’s entrance and are relieved when it exits.
There is a time in this journey that you finally realize that you have to stand up and say, “That’s it! I get it now! You will never go away. I accept that. You are a part of me, part of my soul. It is the love I have for my son that brings you and for that I have to accept you.” You realize that these tears will always flow, that they are now who I am. It is at that time that you feel the burden, that heavy lonely emptiness of deep loss, lift from your shoulders. It is that time.
It is the time that you slowly start to let go but not completely because you can never replace that loss and the hopes and dreams of that loss. It is not possible. You hope that you do not forget, that you do not make the same mistakes again, that you live through your heart and soul.
What has my sons death taught me?
I have learned that the dirty palm print on the wall is more than just dirt. It is someone’s life. It is the living history of joyful curiosity and hard work. Those palm prints are now long gone, covered over by paint. Will you be able to remove those dirty palm prints without regrets?
I have learned how to touch the edges and curves of baked clay and feel the soul of my son, to feel the joy of creation in his eyes. But, I know that I am missing more than that because I did not take the time to breath, to feel the heartbeat of my son, to see the joy of creation in his eyes. That baked clay sits on the shelf in my garage accumulating nuts and bolts. What will you do? Live with a regret or slow down and feel that heartbeat?
I have learned that you must accept your grief and not hide from it. It shows you life. It shows you how to honor and live within her. If you do not accept her, anger can settle into your soul and from within that darkness, hate can grow. Are you going to let anger settle in your soul?
I have learned that the heart beats for the moment, not the past or the future, but for today, the present, where life is felt and should be lived. That is where love and beauty are found and felt, in the beat of ones heart. What great wisdom is your heart beating to?
I have learned that happiness is found within ourselves. It is an inside job. It grows in our own garden, not the garden of others. It is a choice. Spend to much time traveling in the past or future and it will sneak in an open door past you. Will you let it sneak past you?
I have learned the real power of hope. That without hope to nourish courage you cannot survive and for that hope to flourish you need the strength and beauty of caring hands. Hope is what helps shove you out the door every morning. Who do you nourish with the beauty of your soul and the strength of your hands?
And finally, I have learned that a candle is not diminished when used to light another. It is that simple truth that brings me to the question. The question of how do I honor the son and life that have been given to me, one taken and the other for me to decide how to live within her?
For me it is simple. You light as many candles with hope as you can, listen to the wisdom and beat of your heart and the heart of others, accept what you have been dealt, and the next time you have to wipe that dirty palm print from the wall do not see it as a burden but as a gift of the living, of life.
It has been a long time getting from here to there. With the gentle souls and kind hearts of others I would not have made it, but, I did. I am not going to live in the past, wait for the future or have contempt for the present. I do not have enough energy for all three. I will use my energy to walk through that open door and light the candles of others. That is my choice
Why now? Because, I no longer fear “it’s” entrance but rather accept “it” as a gift to remind me to honor the life that Robert cannot live. I have realized that getting from here to there is not a destination but rather acceptance that what I have lost is now what I am and will be.
That acceptance is the destination. A destination that was not to be. A rythymn of life that was not asked for, that was not suppose to be but is.
And to you, my dear Robert, who in your writings said “I have many goals in life. But they all add up to one big simple one: live happily.” I will give it my best shot my dear Robert. I will give it my best shot.
From the heart