April 5, 2012
The sun rose slowly, one infinitesimal inch at a time. I stared at the horizon imagining light, imagining the faintest glow, wondering if it was all in my mind. Was I making it up? I turned away and turned back. No, there was a faint light, a slight easing of the dark. Gradually the sun rose. It was hard to see its movement but by measuring it against a stationary object, I could see it rise.
My healing happened in this manner also—hardly noticed in my daily existence but edging ever onward.
Clouds formed in the sky and temporarily blotted out the sun, yet it still rose behind the mist.
In my life, there were setbacks—anniversaries, birthdays, seeing a healthy young man who reminded me of Jeremy or a freckle-faced young boy. Then I retreated and mourned as if his death had happened yesterday—my breath taken away with the power of it. But I rose again, back to the present.
I remembered a jazz concert. I was riveted, listening to the saxophone answer the guitar, so soft, almost a whisper…it pulled me down into my heart. How could I be here, because I was at the hospital taking care of Jeremy. No one in the theater knew my son had died. I sat like everyone else, listening. But I had a secret—I had come from another world, the world of children who weren’t home safe in bed. The guitar understood, the sax blew; yes we understand. Yes, yes, let us take you up, up, let us rock you. Yes, you are here. He is not, not, so sorry, sorry.
The tears came silent and hot, running down my cheeks in the darkened theater.
Like the sun, I continued to climb past the dark clouds and the storms. A deep part of me moved forward. Living it, I couldn’t see where I had come to. Only when I stepped back from my life did I have a glimpse of the grieving mother and realized I had survived. One day I passed a cash machine near 34th Street where a younger me, mother of a dying child, had sobbed, unable to press the buttons of the ATM machine.
I still grieved but now there were small periods of time where the great weight lifted. Maybe later that day it happened again—small holes in the dark clouds enclosing me, letting in light. I began to believe I might actually come back to life. How could I have survived when he didn’t?
I wasn’t the old me; I was different. Part of this process was getting to know who I had become, to meet the one who walked through the dark. A phrase from Albert Camus, “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer” gave me hope.