It’s here. It’s coming. Two days and one year ago, I fell to the ground, wailing with foreborn grief upon learning of your impending death.
You asked that no one contact you for 24 hours after receiving the news. You and your family needed some time to digest the news.
I couldn’t have contacted you. I would not have made any sense. I aimlessly paced the hallways of my home, clutching a pillow with which to cry into, muffling the screams of my sorrow. My husband could not understand me when I phoned him in distress. He came home — to be at my side.
What he saw, was how a heart bleeds, how a mother looses her son.
What I saw, after boarding the plane to be with you and your family, was a child — my child — die a slow and painful death from pancreatic cancer. I watched you literally starve to death.
Your brother, Joe, has PTSD from all the years of active duty in the Military, watching best buddies getting their heads blown off right next to him… and worse.
Can a mother have PTSD from watching her child die a painful death?
I’m getting through this year without you, Mike. My Mikey, your beautiful name, “Michael.” I never called you “Michael” unless you were in trouble, otherwise, you were “Mikey.” And, you tolerated that name, even when you were grown up. You never corrected me.
In a few days, I will be leaving to visit one of your other brothers for a long-overdue visit. It will be within days (to the year) of when I flew out to be with you and your family for the last time.
I cannot sleep tonight.
I am devoured by exhaustion, and don’t know why.
I crawled into bed, closed my eyes, saw a kaleidoscope of incongruent puzzle pieces, triangular in shape, nothing would fit together, nothing would make sense.
I pulled my body from bed, told my husband that I can’t sleep, “I need to write.” He asked, “Why?”
I told him that it’s approaching the anniversary of losing you. He then asked if there was anything he could do. I told him that he already did all that he could do while I was gone.
And here I am now. No kaleidoscope images, just my computer screen and my thoughts and feelings.
I have been strong. I have “carried on.” I have been productive. But, for crying out loud, sometimes a soul must cry… must release that which is within, that which is bursting to escape, or water the gardens of Heaven.
A friend sent me a note wherein Dr. Phil told a woman who could not be consoled about a loved one’s death, something to the effect that, “…if your loved one is in Heaven and lights a candle, your tears put that candle out…”
I wrote to my friend that, “…no, my tears are watering my son’s garden in Heaven…” I prefer the more positive aspect of tears which I let build up until they are ready to pour, like rain clouds build up. It’s natural. There is nothing abnormal about tears, nor grief. It comes like the weather and it passes, and it surely will come again. It is a cycle for the rest of one’s life who has lost a child.
Yes, I have happy days. Yes, I have laughed and delight in the things I see of this earth. I loved being greeted by a family of baby birds, when I came back from Canada. They were just learning to fly. I heard the song of the Mockingbird more clearly than ever before.
This time of year, the birds are mating and singing like an endless chorus of melodic, curative, harmony. I take delight in them. I am more aware of all life-forms with which I come in contact.
Last week, on a cold day, I saw a worm, or maybe it was a caterpillar, struggling on the cold concrete of our back patio. I picked it up and placed it into the flower bed, in an effort to help it survive. It was struggling for life.
I don’t know if that creature will survive. It may survive and eat up all of my flowers. But, that’s okay. There is a purpose to everything… To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.
Can I go to sleep now? I don’t know. What I do know is that, Linda Feinberg said it best in her book’s title, I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can.
Meanwhile, I leave you with the Byrd’s song, Turn! Turn! Turn!