Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matt moments

Our son-in-law gave the following heartfelt writing to me after a family vacation on the lake.  I offer it for its sensitive message of unbroken connections. . . . for its proof that life lives on in us even though physical, tangible presence is gone. 

“B’s feet slap the wet deck as he springs a flip into the lake
And just like that Matt comes rushing over me
I sit for a while and think about what he would be doing . . . would be saying
And then it occurs to me . . . not “would be” – IS
And with that small shift I have secretly, selfishly had him with me all weekend

When the kayak lady asked who among us would be the guide and you all looked at me, I thought of Matt with a knowing smile because there is no question we’d all have been looking at him

He was right here when Stephen I were cooking up our new iphone app, eating up every minute of it and throwing in his wittiest turns

He was with Amphai when she added a little more spice to the Pad Thai and when she stood in the background squirreling away her Mason time

And you damn well know he was there as Nathaniel rose up onto the kneeboard for the very first time and of course he was in the ribbing of John when he ran out of gas. But he was also in the way the older cousins time and time again made the younger ones feel like giants.

And in these ways I have secretly, selfishly had him with me all weekend. Except it isn’t really so secret after all is it?

These are the moments of Matt. So many pieces of him that we all carry around every day and when we come together . . . they rub up against each other . . . and they spark

Monday, October 21, 2013

"grief journeys are not about closure"

A good friend recently sent me a beautiful article written by a bereaved parent, David Roberts. He lost his adult daughter to cancer in 2002 and writes about what his grief over her death has taught him.  It is a heartfelt story, wisely compassionate and sensitively told.  His closing comment is below and touches on a part of child loss that is significant to all of us.  We are often encouraged by those who mean well to “get past this” or “move on” or “to just put this behind us and get on with life”.  
David J. Roberts ( LMSW, CASAC) writes:

“Our grief journeys are not about closure. They are about adjustment and staying connected. My adjustment to Jeannine’s physical absence has been made easier by the understanding that she continues to guide me in my redefined world. I have also discovered that not everyone will support our continued connections to our children because of their perceptions that grief is a time-limited process. Instead of becoming frustrated, I find individuals and groups who are willing to support my journey.
What I have discovered today is that my grief journey has evolved into this wondrous mix of love, joy, pain, and challenges. Our ability to be totally present in those joyful moments, give and accept love, and learn from the pain and challenges, will determine the quality of our life after loss.”

In my own words . . .
We don’t get past it . . .
we learn to embrace it with our whole heart.

We don’t move on . . .
we are carried by all the love around us.

We don’t get stuck . . .
 we simply pause because this part is harder to absorb.

We don’t put it behind us . . .
we allow it to become part of who we are –
softening us into strength.

We don’t forget . . .
we remember . . .
cherishing the deep gift of this child.

(Please find more of Roberts’ writings at www.bootsy&angel,com)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

making our way

photograph by Ashley Unbehagen

To make our way on Earth
by the light coming from our heart
this is what you've taught us.

from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo