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My Loss, His Gain

21 Aug

In putting my best foot forward to be present with the living, I am sacrificing the energy needed to write from an emotionally connected place. Shoot, in truth to be present with the living, I have to daily deny the connection to my heartbreak. For me it is a one or the other. Connected to my loss I exist on a superficial level with everything else, consequently (as I have previously written) my ability to recall events and conversations suffers. Connected to my today and being present with a purpose, I give up my right to mourn. Though I have thought of many blog posts to write since spring, when it comes down to it, I “don’t want to go there!” The “there” is so painful and anguish filled for me. I still can’t believe this is our Bent reality–I don’t want this reality thus in partnership with the Kübler-Ross model, I’m lingering in the stage of denial. It’s safe here. He’ll come back. He’s not buried in Miramar National Cemetery. We are the Bent 4, not the Bent 3. His suffering did not exist. We are not hurting.

Yet, this summer…

I have been keenly aware of Cole’s suffering as result of his brain tumor and the surgery to remove it. And in allowing myself to consider, no understand and feel, the degree to which he suffered I can fully comprehend that my loss is truly Cole’s gain.

…happiness is a choice I make daily, that’s all.

 

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my Jameson

29 Sep

I am not a drinker of alcohol.  I drink water regularly and enjoy my two carefully measured cups of coffee each day.  But alcohol, including wine, is something I’m just not a fan of.  And yet…

The week my Coley passed away, I could not sleep at all.  Now the one alcohol I knew would help the insomnia was whiskey.  I have not had trouble with whiskey in the past.  Primarily because one shot is all it takes to put me down.  Down as in, to sleep.  So one of my dear friends brought me over some whiskey, in a plastic water bottle.  I had a shot and sure enough went right to sleep.  But awoke at 1:30a.m. with the same despair as before, only with a slight tinge of a headache.

A headache from whiskey?  Not something I was accustomed to.  But the whiskey was a lower end product (I am honestly unable to remember the brand right now) and I attributed the slight ache to the cheap brew.  Yes, my body is particular to quality.  My palate? No.  For any and all brands taste the same to me–like junk!  I really have no pleasure in the flavor of any type of alcohol, whiskey included.

So I gave the “water” bottle back to my friend to replenish her supply.  And then off to Europe we went.  And then off to Japan.

While in Japan my sister and brother in law came to stay with our daughter for a few days.  And knowing my struggle with sleep, and the nightmares that were keeping me up (even the nightmares while awake) my brother-in-law bought a bottle of good whiskey for me to have on hand…Jameson.

That bottle is still unopened in my kitchen cabinet.  I have decided that now is not a safe time to open it.  Why?  Why wouldn’t an opened bottle be safe in my house?  Especially when I do not like the taste?  Because life right now is hard.  Facing each day from a mourners perspective is fragile.  And because the sorrow of our loss is so great, so prevalent still, and because the call of the spirit-filled elixir is upon me, I’ve decided the bottle remains closed.

My filled-to-the-top and ready to serve, Jameson, will wait its turn.  And when it’s opened, perhaps it will be amongst friends and family who will help partake in a small portion causing no harm to themselves or me.  Right now it reminds me that healing is not yet mine.  Healing from the loss, healing from cancer’s touch, healing from the hardship as result of Cole’s brain tumor.  Not mine, not yet.  And neither is the whiskey.

Now I can, on occasion, have a sip or two while at a friend’s house or family member (my other brother-in-law happens to love Jameson).  That is a different scenario.  But in my house, the bottle will remain closed.  The road that its opening beckons me to is not a safe one.  Is not a road I wish to, now at 43 years of age, traipse upon.  I miss my son too much.

So what do I do, in the meantime?  Well as soon as I post this note, I will go to my kitchen (my laboratory) and create something out of almond meal, lemons, strawberries, and some good cinnamon-sugared pecans.

Now cake I can handle! 😉

mourning

Cole’s empty room

mourning

Missing my son, a look inside

 

France in mourning

28 Jun

It is tough for me to explain, the juxtaposition of circumstance in which we (Brian, Esther, and I) have just lived.  For upon finishing up the memorial/burial services for our beloved, Cole, we had to continue on, “being strong”, to fulfill a commitment made prior to our loss.  This commitment just happened to be in France.

It was very strange to have such heartache within us, while engaging in new adventures with new relations…very kind and loving people.  At best, we remained “distracted” from our pain.  But every so often (daily in fact), our loss was inescapable.

For instance…

While touring the streets of Toulouse a man with a limp and a cane walked by.  I was instantly flooded with sympathy for my son, and hurt for the hardship he faced after his braintumor surgery.  My heart ached so horribly in that moment as I faced his bravery and HIS physical challenges, as seen empathetically through his eyes by way of the disabled man doing his best to navigate his physical impairment.

In another moment, while visiting Spain, I (metaphorically) stepped into the shoes of my siblings and felt the pain of their loss…the loss of their beloved nephew.  And in another town, I hurt for my mother who I knew was keeping my house (and pets) in order while we were away, yet was daily facing the undeniable reality of Cole’s empty room–her first grandchild, her angel.  And during the couple of times I was able to have a quiet walk on my own, I stepped into the shoes of the friend.  The impact of their struggle in learning how to be a friend to a fragile Cole (after his surgery), and the impact of his being gone that leaves its profound mark upon their young souls.

And of course there was (is) my own pain that is unavoidable and ever so ready in its reminder that I cannot “wake up” from this nightmare of a reality.  And then there is the pain of the sister, my beautiful Esther Rose, and the father, my ‘darlin,’ Brian.  If I could, for a moment, get away from my own mourning, theirs was present, visible, and in need of consoling.

It is a tough case, this loss.  For me, it hasn’t lessened my faith in G-d the almighty, but it has impacted my ‘faith’ in ways I cannot truly explain.  Just impacted, that is all…

After Cole’s surgery, though I ached (alongside him) for his physical, spiritual, and emotional struggles, I held on–so tightly–to the hope of his future, and I encouraged him often to see it for himself.  The scripture from Jeremiah 29, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”, I believed with all my being in relationship to my son.  I could almost taste, touch, smell, and see the prosperous future of Cole…his dreams of a wife and children fulfilled.  His gifts and strengths being of benefit to others for years to come.  His generous heart beating full strength ahead for years and years after the statistics of his type of cancer suggested.  His touch upon this earth not hindered in the least because of his physical impairments.  …I could see it all, and my faith was fully present within my hope.

So while I remain fully comitted to my faith in G-d, his word, his promises, and the hope we are offered in this life and the life beyond, I am just a bit impacted, so to say, from not only the loss of my son, but from the loss of hope I had been clinging to in relationship to Cole’s future.  …hard to explain.  Just as being in France, while in mourning, is difficult to describe.  But I feel a bit like a disappointment.  Like one of the stories in the bible, such as Job, that no-one wants to relate to.  That we all, at some point or another, would like to believe is more myth than reality.  I mean I had such hope…such positivity, such faith–and yet, here I am–we are, all of us, hurting from this story that none of us wishes were ours to tell.  I don’t want to be a modern day Job.  I just don’t.  I don’t even like his story of intense loss, complete faithfulness to our Heavenly father, and a bounty of new blessing bestowed upon him.  It just brings up too many questions of, “why?”

Oh dear, I am rambling…the result of horrific tales of travel (delays, crowded planes, flight cancellations, loss of luggage and sleep, etc.).  I apologize, though not enough to delete this post.  😉

Next up, Japan.  Brian and I leave on Monday.  But for today, though our luggage has yet to arrive, we are home–safe.  And I write while sitting in my son’s room–as close to him as I can be…for now.

Biarritz France

Musician and daughter (Brian and Esther), walking to the ‘gig’ in Biarritz, France

bbandrivkabiarritz1

France, in mourning. Brian and Rivka

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