Saturday, May 09, 2009
April Wasn’t My Best Month
Coming into April 2009, I had no idea what I would be facing, or I would have dug my heels in and did my best to stop the clock. Not that that would have been possible. We field the ball as it’s hit to us and truth be known, if I would have been warned it would be a bad month, I most likely would have girded myself up and took it on the chin; my usual modus operandi.
I see myself as a realist who accepts the world as it literally is and deals with it accordingly. So, all things considered I have to accept April 2009 for what it is both good and bad, sad and happy, awful in it’s wounding of spirit and soul, but beautiful in the incredible support, compassion and love shown to me and mine in this desperate time of mourning and loss over our son’s untimely demise.
Coming to grips with the loss of Nicholas has been the hardest mountain I’ve ever climbed, but climb I must. My own survival depends on it and the lanyard that dangles from my harness allows my bride, daughter, brothers, and sister, Mom and Dad, along with many friends and loved ones to get a grip and the traction they need to make the climb with me.
I am “the Dad” and by definition must lead, regardless of the amount of hardship inflicted upon my family. I am allowed and encouraged to mourn and the incredible volume of loving support has been beyond my deepest imagination, but in the end I must climb and climb I will.
There are many more beautiful sights up this mountain path for us to see and enjoy and I aim to see them with my friends and family at my side. Nick had many friends, many of which are estranged from their parent(s), or missing one or both through like tragedies. I want to be there to help guide them when they need someone.
In April 2009 I became painfully aware of how many people are silently suffering due to personal loss. Many friends and yes, strangers told me stories of loved ones passing and I then realized how common it is for people to carry this awful weight on their shoulders.
When personal loss intrudes into our life, the thought will cross your mind that it is peculiar to you and yours and those immediately impacted – alone, but this is so far from the truth, I can’t even comprehend it. “No man is an island…” is part of a quote by John Donne, an English clergyman back in the 1500’s and one I often quoted to my Army son, who incidentally silently and privately suffered from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the combat he was involved in, in Iraq.
I didn’t understand his aversion to crowds and often attempted to get him to mingle. I would tell him he owed it to everyone to share his life, but he would withdraw and often disappear from gatherings and I would shake my head. It wasn’t until after his death that I realized it was a behavior pattern he had learned from me.
I should have been preaching to myself, as I was actually the guilty party. When over 600 people came to his funeral I saw for the first time how truly important people are and how we are all part of something greater than ourselves. No one is an island and our friends and family reflect everything we do and say and when they hurt from personal loss, their friends and family hurt also. It starts a rippling effect that can last for years and often does.
No, April 2009 wasn’t all bad and I reckon as time moves on, I’ll see it as more of a spiritual awakening and blessing than I can realize while I’m in its wake.
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