I was originally going to use Long for my word and then I thought of Loss, Love, and Link. Deciding to use them all around a central idea below is my musing on the long loss of love and the link to life.
“I wasn’t always the best mother to you. I know that and I am sorry.” I said late that night in early May. “I am so very proud of you. I love you and long for you to find the life you want.” With tears in my eyes hidden by my downward glance I spoke strong yet gently to my 21 year old son. His response of forgiveness, strength, and determination made my heart leap with joy.
Our lives had not always been easy. I was a single mom for his first 18 months, then marriage to his father for 18 months, a stint of single motherhood for 5 years, another marriage of 13 years dotted with emotional abuse and neglect, and finally another 5 years of single family hood that brought us both to a deeper understanding of the love between us. My son having just returned from 18 months in the Army joined me in running & building a B&B in Montana and embarking on a new life. Grateful for having woken to the understanding of who we were and what life truly held for everyone we worked side by side.
In a short 8 months my world would disappear.
The call came around 10am that warm May morning. Deep down inside I knew something definitive was meant by the man’s message of “Your son and his friend have been in an accident. They have been taken to the hospital in town.” Here was a stranger delivering words no one ever wants to hear. I watched my life merge into a muddy pace as I called out to my business partner to take me to the hospital 15 minutes away in town. The ache slowly edged its way past the fear settling my mind and bringing a surreal clarity as we drove the miles. In the distance I glimpsed flashing lights gasping for air I steeled myself as the knowingness from earlier inched closer to my consciousness. Coming upon the accident I leapt from the van calling to the Universe, “Please not my son, P-L-E-A-S-E! The trooper turned jockeying his indecision to stop me as a fleeting moment of human love lingered on his face only to be replaced by the robotic role he had been called to play. My heart shattered. The essence of love dive bombed past any recognition of my life leaving me numb and lost.
Fifteen years is a long time to find your way back by some estimates. The first week after my son’s death I determined and gave myself permission to take as Long as I needed to heal from the Loss of the Love of my son and find a new way to Link myself to Life.
To give myself permission to explore, heal, build and discover a deeper understanding of life and love was the most courageous gift I could have every imagined. It wasn’t always easy. Many days and nights I had to deal with all my guilt. My anger at the world, myself, my son was given permission to have its turn at the podium. Time spent realizing that no one could help me heal through this except myself gave me a deeper understanding of life. In those years after his death, I discovered how truly precious were my friends and family. Mostly I began to embody how through tragedy and joy we find ourselves and what we think we have lost is still present deep within. Nothing can truly be lost but sometimes it takes us a long time to realize this truth.
Life is linked to love through loss and the long, deep willingness to feel everything. Every moment holds love & life in a delicate balance waiting for us to open our eyes and see, feel, hear its call. You don’t have to experience a loss such as mine to know love and life. You only need to be open. Be willing to allow those times of loss to caress you and bring you to a new link, a deeper link to a life and love still waiting.