Today I am theoretically covering all mirrors and clocks. Today I am living a wish fulfilled. A wish I have longed for since May 17th 2013, the day the hand of the Lord reached out to my son and offered him peace. A wish for silence, a wish for life to stop, a wish for rest. Today, I am respiting. And I am thankful.
I have no plans. I have no need to shower. I have no need to speak. I have no need to change out of my pajamas. Today I am quiet.
Today I have time to ponder ridiculous notions such as, “I wonder when the next earthquake will hit?” Or, “Why so many spiders?” Today, I even considered picking up a book and reading. I even feel inclined to read an email from a friend, who back in June, sent me her reflections, A Story of Cole, which up to this point I haven’t had the strength to read. …today is nice.
I have been given the gift of a four-day weekend. Esther is at work, Brian at the Rose Bowl, and me at home alone with no thoughts of having to begin my work week tomorrow. Yay.
Yesterday I had to attend a baby shower. I was part of the cooking crew and therefore had to get things done. Coincidentally, the shower was held in the same location as that of my son’s funeral reception. That was a tough assignment, but navigated with the concentrated focus on the mother-to-be and her happy occasion, her growing boy inside. The hired assistants were a mother and daughter team. They were part of our clean up crew, and very warm and hospitable women. Unbeknownst to them, they shared with me the last time they were hired to help clean up after a “party.” They explained to me it was for a funeral, and the flowers were beautiful. This conversation came toward the end of the baby shower, when we had been working alongside eachother for a few hours. I said to them, that funeral was for my son. The gracious mother began to cry and hugged me, explaining that she had seen a photo of the young man with beautiful eyes, not realizing he was my son.
And then, she explained her own loss of her first born, her one and only son. He was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 19 and died one month later. That was 6 years ago. She explained how her lovely daughter had lost her best friend, her older brother. And they both were sad for me, for the newness of my loss, for Esther, and for us–us being, all women who have lost a child, all families who have lost a significant member. A club neither of us wishes to be a part of.
She praised me, this lovely woman whom I would have never known was my kindred, for my ability to smile…
I have gotten used to having to put on the mask of ‘whatever the occassion requires’. I have gotten used to life forcing me to live and put one step in front of the other. I have gotten used to smiling for the purpose of spreading joy and allowing joy to be fulfilled. And so it was, at the baby shower, that I was able to focus on the blessing of the birth and mask my sorrow further.
Oh Esther and I did shed some tears, out on the street, away from the festivities. And I did receive the comforting condolences of the new found friend with tears in my eyes. But I quickly blotted my cheeks and resumed.
But today…I don’t have to pretend. Today, I am given the gift of pause. I like today. I can also appreciate better my gift as I have next weekend to look forward to. Next weekend I go away for my annual ‘girlfriend weekend’. A tradition my long time friend and I began when our children were young. We are both in a place of transition and that will make our weekend together a blessing. A time for us both to just be. We don’t have to pretend with eachother, and that will be good. Ironically, even our destination will be different. Change is the theme of this year! Two weeks ago we received a call from our hotel alerting us that they have been sold and will be under renovation. So after a good 10 years of staying in the same place, in the same room, we are being forced to explore a new adventure. And in years past this would have thrown us for an emotional loop. But not this time. This new direction, given our circumstances, just seems par for the course (I can’t believe I am borrowing a term from a sport I loathe–golf. Oh well, so be it.).
Today I reflect on many things…
My aunt who lost her husband the month before Cole had surgery. I understand her rejections of offer to travel. Home feels right, home is a comfort. My cousins neighbor, who lost her fiance in the attacks of 9/11. I understand her emmigration to California from New York, her need to escape the pain of her loss and I understand that though she has just welcomed her second baby into her California family, her love for her fallen remains. I think of the family whose young freshman daughter collapsed and died while running cross country for her high school, this time of year back in 2007. I understand that though it has been a few years since the tragic loss, the sorrow that results takes years to adjust to. I reflect upon the rippling that ensues upon a family unit as result. I know all too well my own rippling.
And yet, it is my aunt from whom I draw strength. For while in her sorrow, she has remained available–even hospitable. Strength from the hired help, whose warm presence would never have given their own loss away. Strength from the neighbor whose courage is reflected in her new life. Strength from so many who suffer and who do not allow sufferings touch to define all that they are.
Most days, I am surviving. But today, as I am given a respite from the ‘having to’, I can thrive just a little bit. My “covered mirrors and clocks” are gifting me the pause I have been longing for. Today is ok. Today, I am ok.
Today I am thankful.