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Sunday, July 13, 2014

After.

Dear Josie,

I've been fortunate since you left me. To most people, this sounds like an awful thing to say.  I used to be one of them. 

I have been to some scary places in recent months.  Really dark places, alleys you wouldn't dare explore next to four hundred pound bodyguards with machetes.  I've been in the car when the breaks give out, felt the parachute fail to open.  I've stood in the eye of the storm as it left me in a whirlwind.  All of it, in two seconds flat.

I've been to the places most keep their distance from, lovingly yelling from the sidelines as they throw me the flotation device.  They never dreamed they couldn't save me, missed the anchors in my shoes.

Simply put, there are places a mind would rather not explore.  These places do not easily co-exist with daily routines or conversations.  They are off-putting and offensive.  Some would deem these places hopeless.  Anti-climactic.  Draining.  But having lived there, I would disagree.

If you think I've never considered it, you'd be mistaken .  If I told you it never crossed my mind, I would be lying to you.  And I'm no liar.
 
There is an important distinction, though, when it comes to thoughts of death.  A significant difference between wanting to die in any given moment, and actually planning to end your life.   I find it completely normal to have welcomed death as I held you that morning.  I am not ashamed to admit that as I stared at your motionless fingers, for the very briefest of moments I doubted my abilities to walk away.  That emotion seems normal to me, healthy almost, because of its potential.

I read something recently.  "When your child dies, you find your life is forever divided into 'Before' and 'After'".  I couldn't agree more; however I feel that most would disagree with my interpretation of the photo. 



Many would attribute the colorful portion of the picture to"before" my life with you.  My life before the darkness, before this great loss.  My life before death.  The shadowy portion is the obvious "after".  Dreary and colorless, devoid of hope or joy.  A path no one wants to take.  A path some are forced, quite violently, down. 

But if I agreed with most, I would be saying that I am hopeless, forever doomed to meander through an existence of a million cautionary smiles, cringing and running from my most important lesson.  I would have to admit that a life after you means nothing, and I will never do that. 

No, I see things differently now, this picture is simply the perfect visual.  My "before" was a dense existence.  Before you, it was black and white.  Before you I was boring, I was sad, and I was blind. 

My "after" isn't always pretty, but it's nothing if not colorful.   You have complicated things.  Weaving the brightest of tapestries through each day, you are my biggest challenge.  A motivation I couldn't dull with a thousand lead tips.  I have been to that place, perused every aisle with my list of options.  Weighed them all ad nauseam.  You have shown me the worth of this life.  My every step is proof of something not everyone can say.  I want to be here. 

When you experience the darkness, you no longer have the choice to hide from it.  There is no awful unknown, no grip navigating your every step.   There is a looseness to this life, an incredibly freeing euphoria that eludes most.   Nothing matters as much as you.  Everything matters more because of you.

My life is no longer simple.  Because of you,  I can see the palette before me.  Call me crazy, but I am thankful for that.

Love,
Mom


2 comments:

  1. I love the way you interpreted that picture. I feel the same way about my boys. Even though their death has left me with grief, life seems better just because they were here, albeit shortly.

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  2. What a beautifully written letter to Josie. So heartfelt, so honest. This letter really moved me and helped me feel a little better, as I just hit another milestone since my little boy passed away. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, optimism and your beautiful little girl with us.

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