Sunday, June 11, 2006

The note

The card was beautiful. A light blue...with a baby blue ribbon...and lily-of-the-valley on it. Exactly the card one might expect to send as congratulations on the birth of a baby boy. This one came upon the death AND birth of a much-wanted baby boy. And the note inside haunts me because it is exactly the sentiment I have been trying to figure out how to express.

We are so sorry about Travis' death. His life brought meaning and hope in a very difficult time and it is almost impossible to understand what his death might mean, why it happened, and what on earth could possibly follow all of this pain. Please accept our sincere condoloences, our empathy, and our love.

I dealt with each of these three things following Alex's death. (1) What does his death mean? (2) Why did it happen? (3) What follows all this pain?

But with Travis' death I almost feel like I can fast forward over those and focus on that first part of the note...His life brought meaning and hope.

You see, I HAVE learned to accept that I will never know what his death means...why it happened...what is to come. I don't like it...and I will still rant at God/fate/the universe as a means to vent my emotions. But I don't need to do the work of questioning it all again because I already know that NO answers will alleviate that anger, my fear, my sadness. I have accepted it as a part of something I will deal with and hopefully put to rest some day.

But I still have the meaning and the hope...right alongside that anger, fear, and sadness. I can still hear that little voice in the back of my brain, in the deepest recesses of my heart, telling me that this is not the end...that there is something out there that will bring happiness again. I don't know what it is just yet...the voice is still too small to be heard above the anger, fear, and sadness. But for now, just knowing it's there is enough. I know that no matter what the answers to the "three big questions," I still can choose to create meaning out of tragedy...I still can choose to hope for a better tomorrow. [I know it sounds like I've been drinking...but I haven't (not yet).]

I don't know if there is a God. I don't know the answers to the, "big questions" (and I will probably never know the answers to the big questions). But the meaning and the hope...they didn't all die with Travis. They're still here. They may be very different than they were. But then again, I'm different than I was. There may never be more children for us. The hope and meaning may be a work in progress in my life...changing and shifting focus with every breath. But that's ok. That just means I'm still alive. I still miss my boys with every ounce of my being and I may have to "settle" with some other happiness. But I'm still alive. So that's something.

Thanks for sending the note, my friend. It meant more to me than I can possibly explain to you. But somehow, I think you'll "get it." :o)


Sarah said...

It's hard to realize that this is just who I am now, this is what happened to me and my family and my daughter, this is what will always be. And even when I'm ok with accepting these things it doesn't mean I'm feeling whole or happy. So i think what you said about settling with other happiness makes sense.

Thanks for sharing the card, it's beautiful.

Holley said...

Big hugs.

You sound very wise. And not the kind of wise that sounds good after a few drinks but horrible in the morning after.

You're a terrific person.

Love you.

Sherry (Hallesmom) said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful card. Thank you for sharing it.