The Shape of My Grief at 5 Years:
“For Here Now, I Stay”
For Here Now I Stay
And so where from here?
For here now, I stay
For here now, I breathe your love
For here now, I am with you always
So many days, so much time having passed and yet, and yet, still as it has been still these past 5 years.
It is sometimes, Dylan, as if I am in some kind of fog, a thick can’t see clear kind of fog, a fog where I don’t know if what I am and what I see is real.
Were you? Are you? Where are you?
5 Years Out: The Shape of My Grief
I am five years, 1 month, and 14 days into this journey that though, not chosen, has become the construct of my life.
Five Years, 1 Month, and 14 Days
My life is a paradox. I live in time that marches obediently along in increments of seconds, minutes, hours, and days, calendar years. I know it is 2017, late summer in the midwest, and a perfectly temperate day; and yet, and yet, all of me is not, in fact, here. I live undone and yet somehow caught still living, the ache between my limbs, my joints, tissues, and fibers where yet still, I am Dylan’s mom.
But it is through a haze, a blurring of what is and what is not, of what is here and what is not, a sense and grounding of what is tangible and what is not, that I now navigate. I know, I know. . .I should be writing about hope, that my life has been redeemed, reclaimed, re-invented, renewed, re-invigorated, resilient. but just for today, I don’t feel resilient.
And so I wonder, where from now this? For here now, I stay, linger, and yet to what cause? I have passed through so much. And I am utterly depressed.
The Shape of My Grief at 5 Years
“For Here Now, I Stay”
For Here Now I Stay
I do not know why time passes this quickly now. Yes, when we are young, the world is ours, old people are static and staid, our moms and dads are just that—moms and dads. I think with familiarity we miss the gradual stripping away of our youth years, and frankly, in youth, we are so inward-turned that it’s difficult if not impossible to usher forth compassion and awareness towards others, especially those from whom we see ourselves as being most far apart.
Change is inevitable. Death comes. Tragedy besets us. And really, and this I only realize in the hindsight of the wake of Dylan’s suicide, our lives are much more about sorrow and our response to enormous loss and impossible circumstances than our capacity and ability to feel and to cultivate joy.
How easy it is, in the moment, to feel exhilarated and high on wings of flight that sail only blue skies drenched in sun. But storms come what will, torrents of rain, ice, and hail pelt us from all angles, and skies black as nights without stars cover us with a darkness whose duration we cannot know. There is no presumed joy, though those around us want to garner false belief in this when we travel such dark skies.
How’s it go? The deeper the sorrow, the greater the love. Yes, but love stripped violently from our hands, touch, hearts, bodies, lives always casts shadows that will forever travel with us. Our bleakest nights do not bring greater capacity to feel joy, to feel the warmth of the sun, to see in color.
These dark, incessant droning on of days, months, years, and most sadly of all, a lifetime, more so carve in us (should we choose and choose we must, for grief is not so clearly delineated in its outcome), a strange capacity to integrate both a lesser joy and a deep sorrow.
Losing Dylan has changed everything. Yes, I am to the point of feeling the highs of life again, though never so sweetly as to silence the ache of my heart that beats still for my son.
How to Offer Grief Support When a Child Has Died by Suicide Suicide can leave the survivors with anger, confusion and guilt, and even well-intentioned words can cause pain. By Gayle Brandeis, “What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Grieving a Suicide” New York Times, May 8, 2019 “There are no words” As…Continue reading
A Collection of Poetry Featuring the Best Poems of Love, Loss, and Losing a ChildContinue reading
The following resources, book lists, narratives from parents who have lost a child to suicide, support groups, and more are meant to be a resource bank. Many have helped me keep on keeping on these past nine years of grieving.Continue reading
Suicide is not a blot on anyone’s name; it is a tragedy -Kay Redfield Jamison My Forever Son-My Beloved Dylan Suicide Shocks and Shatters Suicide changes everything. Immediately. Suddenly. Completely. Shattering everything. All is outside the natural order of the circle of life. And when a young person dies by suicide? When a young man…Continue reading
A Lullaby for My Son, “As I Tuck You In”Continue reading
A Lullaby for My Son I wrote and recorded this song, “My Child Above (In Heaven’s Care) for my son Dylan. I’ve written 18 songs altogether about losing my son to suicide. Each song is born from a grief too deep for expression in any language save music. “My Child Above (In Heaven’s Care” is…Continue reading
Self-Blame and Guilt: I Couldn’t Save My Son I can’t stop thinking about how much he suffered—and my own inability to save him. Lori Gottlieb, “I Blame Myself for My Son’s Death,” The Atlantic, September 7, 2020 It’s been nearly 10 years since I lost my only son to suicide. Had someone suggested in my…Continue reading
I Will Seek Until I Find You I Will Seek Until I Find YouAnd where will you run when arms reach (but you’re not mine)When I can feel still so strongly (holding you still in my arms) From here frantic I search wildly (but cannot ever now find)Little one in pictures (trying hard for one…Continue reading
That All of Love (Could Sweep Time Back) That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, If I’d only come to see, That might I future forward live To see all eternity. That I might know when and where somehow, And here and now then see, To erase the dark and stay…Continue reading
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