When I left my last blog and started writing here, my goal was to capture the little moments of grief and survival, the moments that are gone in an instant, like individual drops of water caught in the torrent that is Niagara Falls. So I write a lot about grief. I write about the hard moments, the sad moments, the life-changing moments. Occasionally I capture the astonishing beauty of my life, the incredible love and joy that goes hand in hand with breathing. I wonder how this reads to people who do not know me outside of the words on their computer screen. I wonder if I seem a sad mess. A comment every now and again will surprise me and I’ll think, I’m okay – don’t you know I’m really okay?
Most of the time.
The moments of devastation are fewer and farther between. The tears come but not as often. He’s been dead longer than he lived inside me and I’m growing used to the world without him.
The grief does not end. It shifts and moves, dancing through me in ways that make the world brighter one moment and more gray the next. Grief is the door that opened and launched me into a new way of being. Grief is the teacher and my life is forever changed.
I am grateful.
Not that my son died, but that his death has propelled my growth. That I am a happier person now than I’ve ever been. That I feel myself coming into greater alignment with the little girl who wrote stories, danced, and dreamed of horses and oceans. That I fight less and allow more.
A former therapist asked me what I was battling and I couldn’t answer. It’s like you’re standing in the middle of a field in a storm, trying to fight off thunder clouds with a lightning rod. He asked me what I’d done so terribly wrong that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I didn’t know.
Because there was no one thing.
I look at my daughter, whose inner light still shines like the sun, and I think, we all come into life that way. We are born with an internal brilliance and our parents, and/or our peers, and/or our schools, and/or our churches, and/or the world somehow convince us that we are not as beautiful or as good or as worthy as we
thought. Even with two parents who are doing their conscious best to not dim her light, I can see little moments of unintended shame, or expectation, or the sadness of our household affect her. It shakes me to my core.
The dimming is inescapable. Adult society doesn’t know what to do with a child’s inner shine. We all cut off parts of ourselves in order to be acceptable, to be loved, to be liked. What changes is the degree of the breaking apart and how quickly we return to ourselves.
Ben’s death is bringing me back to myself. This is – and always has been – my journey. I’ve stolen the words from my last blog and brought them here. Because I imagine here is where I will stay. But if I happen to move, these words will follow me. They are what I write about – the journey toward wholeness.