Daily Post: Worst Case Scenario – Of all the awful possibilities, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you today? Now, what about the best?
Simple and sweet, my response to this prompt is:
The worst possible thing that could happen today would be to learn that another of my sons was diagnosed with cancer. The best possible thing that could happen today would be that I awakened and it would be March 17, 2015 again and I never received notification that one of my sons was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, that these past seven months have only been an horrific nightmare and all of my children were healthy and would live to see their own children grow to adulthood.
Beyond that, I shall move onward to a conversation I had with Grief this morning, January 9, 2016, the seven month anniversary of my son’s death.
Dawn slipped between the slats of closed window blinds, casting a vague illumination throughout my bedroom and danced upon my closed eyes, beckoning me to awaken. Drowsily, my heavy eyelids opened, glancing at the clock which displayed 7:00 a.m. ‘Looks like it’s gonna be a cloudy day, the sunlight isn’t as bright as it should be by now,’ was my first thought of the day.
I made the bed, dressed, fed the cat, fed the dog, administered the dog’s morning insulin while coffee was brewing and my mind slowly worked toward full consciousness (you see, my morning rituals are performed while still in a state of semi-conscious robotic habit.)
With the cat and dog tended to, it was my turn to purge the remaining sleepiness from my brain with a steaming cup of coffee. Two sips later, I realized I was not alone. I felt a familiar gloominess, the one I have learned to control and live with since my son’s death, its name is Grief.
‘What are you doing here?’ I asked.
‘You know why I am here. Think about it.’
We had survived Christmas, I wondered what was so special about today for Grief to envelope me as soon as my mind was fully conscious. And then it dawned on me, today was the ninth, the number nine, the numeric day of my son’s death. My subconscious reminds me of this particular day every month now.
‘It’s the ninth. It’s the seventh month since Mikey has been gone, dead.’
‘Yes, that’s right.’
‘How bad are you going to haunt me today? Will I be useless or useful?’
‘I do not haunt you, you call upon me and I answer your call.’
‘What the hell are you talking about? I don’t call upon you! I don’t want you. I hate you!’
‘You do call upon me with every memory of your son. You reach into your heart, the place where profound love lives, it’s a habit of every human when they reminisce good and bad times; that’s where you go to recall memories. That’s where I live, beside Joy, we are borne within Love.
‘When your son was living, your heart nourished memories, made new ones. That’s when you called upon Joy whenever you visited the place called memories. When your son died, there would be no more building of memories with him. Time was up.’
‘I like Joy better than you. I wish there was no such thing as you.’
‘Without me, without Grief, you would not know Joy.’
‘Like hell I wouldn’t! I know Joy! I love Joy! I wish there were only Joy!’
‘If there were only Joy, you would not be aware of it because that would be all that you knew of love. Without darkness, you would not know light. Humans think that Joy is the quantum of love – the deeper the love, the more Joy you experience. You know this is not true. You – know- this – is – not – true.’
My mind quieted, seemed empty for a time.
‘You also know,’ Grief spoke after giving time for me to digest what I instinctively knew was truth, ‘that I am the sovereign essence of your love. You said that I dug a huge hole in your heart where Mikey lived. What you were feeling was the expansion of love growing your heart to depths and widths of which you were not aware nor could imagine.
‘There are no gouges in your heart. Your heart is not broken. Your son still lives within your heart, he is a part of both, Joy and I, and forever shall be, as long as you live – and beyond, for love does not die.’
‘But I miss him. I miss his quiet demeanor, his patience, his voice, his laughter, his smile, his gorgeous eyes, his handsome face, his sense of humor. I think of him with every breath I take. I see him when I take a piece of bread from my breadbox, the same, exact style of breadbox he had, or when I cook on the stove, we had the exact same stove! We lived thousands of miles apart yet had so many familiar objects which we used every day of our lives, even the stupid lawnmower! There were so many things that we had, separately, which were the exact same in our different homes!
‘I still have hundreds of photographs of his childhood, the hockey cassette which he used to play for his teammates in the dressing room to hype up the team before a game! It’s more than memories, it’s physical memories too. It’s physically painful.
‘I loved the life we were able to give our children, they loved their childhoods and each have warm, happy memories of growing up.
‘My biggest fear is that I don’t know where Mikey is now, what he is now. I believe life continues after death and used to believe in some sort of spirit existence where loved ones watch over those of us who still live in this earth plane. But, I don’t know these things as authentic truth.
‘I want to hear from him! I want a dream of him, letting me know that he exists, that the love we shared still exists, that his pain is gone, that he is doing his job in the spirit world and that he will welcome me when it is my turn to cross over.
‘It sounds so stupid, I want to know that my dead son is alright. What an oxymoron, but it’s how I feel!
‘I want to know why I haven’t had any dream-visits from him! For years, I had dream-visits after his dad died! Dream-visits from friends and past family members, vivid, lucid, visitations, but, it’s going on seven months and nothing from Mikey. I worry that he may be lost. I worry that he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. Why won’t he visit me?’
‘You know why, but I will remind you. Remember when Elizabeth visited you? Remember the room you were in and when she had to leave, you wanted to follow her. She told you that you could not go with her, it was not your time.
‘The last dream-visit with your late-husband was similar, a vast boundary was set and you could not cross it. When your conversation ended, he smiled, and was able to move on. If that barrier were not there, you would have tried to follow him too. You know you would have. But, you still had work to do here, the most important of which was to raise your children.
‘With Mikey gone now, if he were to visit you, you would cross any boundary to be with him, even though it is not your time. Your connection with him is so intense, perhaps he cannot visit you until you accept that you must continue with your life’s work, no matter how insignificant you view your life-purpose. You are not finished yet.’
‘You mean it’s kind of like how I wanted to die when I got his diagnosis, his death-sentence?’
‘Yes, and you remember that feeling, you wailed into the pillow and fell to the floor. For a brief millisecond, you were between worlds and you knew it, you felt it. You thought you had died but something brought you back. That was a taste of death, you nearly willed yourself to die.
‘You remember some of the last words he spoke to you, that you (and his siblings) “…have to do what you have to do.” And you have been doing, living in his honor, trying not to waste whatever time you have left, regardless of how much you’d rather be where he is, with him. You are honoring his life through living yours.’
‘So, I just have to wait until my life is finished before I can see him again, can know that he is fine, can feel him and be near him.’
‘He is with you. He is your memories. He is in your heart. He is your Joy. He is your Grief. He knows your Love. He knows and is doing what he has to do. Now, answer this, will you be useless or useful today?’
‘I choose to be useful. I choose to do what I have to do today. I choose to live at peace with all the residents of my heart, especially those who are contained in the realm of Love.’