A few days ago, while perusing a book in search of a passage that might keep me sane and centered, I stumbled upon these words written by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It made me remember a turbulent time in our family’s life, when everything was fading to black and I pleaded to a therapist, “I WANT MY LIFE BACK.” She replied very matter-of-factly, “THIS IS YOUR LIFE.”
I realize that each of us is at a different stage and time on this grief walk. For many, the freshness and foreignness of it all knocks the wind out of you; you are walking into walls, constantly teetering and tormenting yourselves with the what ifs and why nots. Even after 8 years, I play out different scenarios, wondering if there might be one single action that might have changed the outcome, the course of our lives, any one thing that might have saved my son’s life and prevented us from crash-landing in Griefland.
At this juncture, it’s fair to say we all take turns beating ourselves up, somehow feeling responsible, especially if we lost a child. After all, we are (or is it were) their parents. As a new month begins, I beg us all to stop long enough to find a few moments of serenity in our daily endeavors. Find a simple ritual that brings you some semblance of peace. Nancy walks her dog, Elsa. I drown myself in the New York Times, sip a second cup of coffee in bed, pretend I’m luxuriating in some grand hotel room far away from reality. Find something (or someone) that helps you get lost in the moment. Reality always returns, but every one of us needs an occasional time out.
Today I’ve promised myself to power down from all the technology, stand outside in the early morning sun, breathe in fresh air, then take a few steps and feel my feet movng forward. Surviving the unthinkable is hard, gritty work. Thank you each and every one of you, for meeting up with us here to share your stories, your hearts, your hurts. In our book, Griefland, Nancy and I created a fictitious cafe, open 24 hours a day, with a benevolent waiter who brings us warm bread, a glass of rich Cabernet, and stands guard over us so we can breathe, melt down, and eventually rise up again. This month, we transport all of you to this serene place, hoping it provides you respite. We toast you and lift our glasses to the beautiful loved ones missing from our lives. Knowing we carry them forever in our hearts, is worth noting – especially this month – February. As always, we invite you to share and recite their names on these pages.