As we celebrate this national holiday called Labor Day, I am faced with the irony that this year it carries two deeply personal anniversaries for me. 30 years ago today was the date of the baby shower for my son Jarod. 9 years ago today was the date we lost him in a terrible accident. As a grieving parent, there are particular dates that bring with them a host of emotions. The anniversaries of the day your child's enters this world and the day they leave it are two of the most difficult.
I struggle daily with the warring sides of my mind. One side that is tasked with holding on to precious memories and the other grasping at how to let go of all that is beyond my control. Grief is a lifelong journey full of unexpected lessons. Today, in my small way of honoring my son, I decided to write about what I call "Intentional Grieving". It's something I've discovered along the way that others traveling this road might find helpful as well.
In the early days of loss, I fought to fill every moment of my day with activity in an attempt to drown out the pain. Each day I went from work to the gym for at least an hour long workout, headphones blaring music to avoid any quiet contemplation. From there it was home to make dinner, sweep and mop the floors compulsively, do laundry, shower and then straight to bed with the tv on. Any quiet time in my day would bring on the waves of pain I could not control and frankly, the act of weeping was utterly exhausting. I avoided it at all costs and believe me....not allowing myself to grieve in my own time cost me more than I realized. I was sleepwalking my way through life and missing out on all the meaningful things that were happening all around me. I was emotionally "checked-out" and as I look back now, I realize that I was not there for my daughter as I should have been. Our relationship has never been the same since. Where we were once so close, she was forced to learn to be independent of me and I just can't find a way back to what we once shared. There is still much love there but it is accompanied by a kind of distance through which I cannot fully reach her. In some way, it's as though I lost both of my children that day.
9 years later I finally understand that what you run from....controls you. You can't outrun grief. It's a part of your life now so you better get on with learning how to manage it somehow. "You've got to give the Devil his due", so to speak. The idea behind intentional grieving is to set aside time for yourself to let your feelings flow through you and to spend time "honoring the pain". A weird notion....no??? I set aside Jarod's birth and death dates as days to allow myself to sort of dwell on the memories, cry as much as I need to, write poems and whatever those feelings lead me to. You've got to occasionally let a little air out of the balloon or it will explode at the least convenient time. It's a simple concept but for me, it helps. I like to say that "a love that deep is worthy of that kind of grief".
So for today.....I will cry, write, plant some flowers and choose a spot in my yard to plant a tree in my son's memory. Am I all better now because of intentional grieving? No...not by a long shot but it's a tool that helps me to cope. I hope someone out there can find a little healing in this too.
I wear your memory wrapped tightly around me as a shroud;
The constancy of both its warmth and its pain are endlessly intertwined within the deepest folds of who I have become.
You were knitted in the depths of me, just below my heart.
I am in you, you are in me…..
An eternal truth neither time nor death can separate.
Just as birth brought you from within me,
So your death did place you back inside….
Back to that part of me where you will forever reside,
Just beneath my beating heart.
Written by his mom
I love levi's and flannel shirts with the sleeves rolled up. I love every opportunity to create unique furniture whether it's simply a repaint or a custom build project.
345 Fairmount Road Statesville NC 28625
Interstate 77 to exit 59 go East on Tomlin Mill Road 8 tenths of a mile, turn right on Fairmount Road, We are 1 mile on the Right.