I once read that the stone which covered the entry to Jesus’ tomb would have weighed 1-2 tons. Let’s be cautious – let’s err on the light side and imagine it was just under one ton. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say it only weighed 1,750 pounds.
One thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds.
The effect of addiction on me, on my children, on my whole family…
on your child, on you, on your whole family…
this is the weight of a stone that we cannot roll away in our own strength.
Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. 29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. 30
For my yoke is easy
and my burden is
A friend’s son committed suicide today. I heard about it through a facebook message from my mother. The lady is not a close friend; she is an acquaintance from childhood. But our boys are … were … the same age and when they were little, we stumble upon each other unexpectedly at a park in another state and we caught up while the boys played. We are friends on facebook and I sent her a note saying how very, very sorry I am.
Facebook and death – maybe it’s an appropriate thesis topic for some of the random dynamics we now have due to the proliferation of social media.
The point is, I got to thinking about how quickly people hear news – no matter how personal; so much more quickly than before. And then we respond. I thought out my response – really feel the message I sent was appropriate and that a fb message – in the context of this relationship – was also alright and would be sincerely accepted when the time comes that she checks in and reads it.
Then I got to thinking about how often we see posts: “R.I.P. [fill in the blank].” What empty words those would be to me if I was the mother of one who has passed. At least at first. They are resting – but the mother, right now? Rest? Peace? Really?
I don’t know. I’m not sure what point I’m making. I just got to thinking about my boys and how close I’ve been to losing both of them. And how close some of you out there are to this. I’m indulging in a little sadness.
Honestly, despite everything I’ve seen in life, I mostly consider life a joyful and blessed experience every day. But not all day, every day. So for this moment, my heartfelt tears extend to this friend and her family and any of you who have said goodbye to your child too soon. We will be reunited. But for now, a moment of grief for the loss.
Rest in Peace …
Posted in Grief
Tagged R.I.P, suicide
In response to the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, there’s been debate over whether addiction is selfish or, perhaps, guiltless. Today I came across a poem I wrote years ago with that title, “Guiltless.” I thought I’d post it. I’m not sure if it’s relevant, but I’ll share and let you decide.
On that night when my heart hurts —
when I can’t think of anything to say,
the world moves forward outside my window
where the mesa stands strong and the people look
content and carefree in my thoughtless and empty sight…
On that night the stars still shine
and the moon still sets its glow over the city
while I worry about the words I said to you.
I wish I was the leaf.
I wish I was the river.
I wish was a field of purple aster
or a dangling bat wrapped safe in the cape
of my own wings.
The fox and the cat wander the same midnight road.
They pounce. They screech.
One eats, lies down and sleeps
full and deep.
Last week I was feeling so happy and filled with gratitude that my boys had birthdays and are doing well. How is it that a week later, I’m feeling despondent? I’m filled with grief. Stress. Worry. I don’t expect it to last. But at this moment, as I’m writing, I’m deep in it. I miss my boys so much. In a way, I still feel like I’ve lost them.
They are at the age when it’s right for young men to move on from their parents and make their own lives. That’s not quite how it happened though, is it? They didn’t graduate high school and go to college and get a job out of town. I want to go back two years and erase it all and re-write the script and replay it the way it was supposed to be.
I feel selfish even writing this. There are parents out there who’s children are on the street or in hospitals or who have died. My boys are in recovery and they send me birthday cards, give me a call now and then.
I miss them. I miss them so much. And I miss being able to hug my daughter who is right here in this house with me but stopped letting me hug her after the whole addiction mess played out. So the boys are now 20 and 22, and my daughter went to prom last night and will graduate high school in a couple of months and won’t let me hug her. And here I am.
I guess I can be sad and grieving and grateful and blessed all at the same time. That’s it then. That’s what I am right now – all of those things. Figuring out how to be “One Mom Talking” all on my own. But, oh yes, you all are here. Thanks for that. Thanks for listening. God bless you.
I only have a few minutes, but I did want to write about this: I had a knock-down, drag-’em-out, screamfest with my daughter two nights ago. I mean a cussing, yelling, door slamming, and crying kind of thing.
Finally, she opened up a bit. It hurt, but it was healthy. She told me, point blank, how I dropped the parenting-ball during the years when my boys were starting to party. She said that me and her dad both turned a blind eye to what was happening in our own homes – and in doing so, we failed her as parents. And we failed the boys too. She said that she raised herself during the years when it was worse. And then she said, “So check it out, Mom — this is me leaving the nest!!”
In the end though – like the story of grief I posted a couple of days ago – when it was all said and heard and understood – things were a little better. She gave me a real hug for the first time in a year. And we both agreed that if this type of interaction is necessary now and then for us to communicate honestly with each other about hard things, then it is. And we’ll get through it.
I’m sad for her, and for me, and for us. We’ve all lost a lot. And the truth is, she is right about what she’s saying. But she also has things to learn … about forgiveness, and the choice of love, and how families can heal. So we keep on walking.
One Mom Talking – signing off for today. Make it a good one!
This is a tough picture, huh?
I chose it because, to me, this is a picture of grieving. All the others I found were so … quiet. Calm. Thoughtful. A single teardrop falling from dark eyelashes. Two hands entwined in shared loss. A solitary person sitting on a mountain or beside a gravestone.
Sure, these all count. They are all responses to grief. But this picture — I think this picture is the real, raw, taking-back-my-freedom kind of grieving that we, in our feel-good culture have ignored for far too long. I believe our obsession with looking young and looking beautiful … our obsession with owning more and more and more … and our efforts to legislate ourselves into a safe little box – well, I believe they all stem from our inability to truly grieve loss.
We have lost the value of grieving. We are trying to live without it. Pretending we don’t need it. Or that the loss that triggers this grief can be controlled. The Bible talks about people wailing and tearing at their clothes in grief. That’s this picture.
I think perhaps our struggle with forgiveness is also connected to our incomprehension of grief. Sometimes hanging onto an injustice is actually all we know how to do — or it’s easier, maybe, than accepting the loss of something we thought we deserved.
I have allowed myself to grieve like this picture over the loss of my family, the loss of my dreams for how my children would grow up and what they would do, my helplessness to change the tragedies that have befallen us. And those times of grieving have been both painful and healing. All that energy would still be stored somewhere inside me if I didn’t let it out. All that energy would be stored inside me if I feared looking like this woman … letting happen on the outside what lied within.
No. Hiding and avoiding grief is not the answer. Letting it out is the answer.Because then it has no hold on us. Grief is a process and the outward act of grieving is the release of the energy of grief.
The result is a new peace, healing, and rest. Maybe I’m a little crazy. But maybe a little crazy grieving can go a long way. God bless!