As I look back at the time of “the greatest trauma of my life” I cannot help but see the changes in me that have been created by the loss of my man-child days before he could attend his driving test. I have changed. My family has changed. Life is different now and continues to reshape itself in unexpected ways. I can see the patterns of grief and growth, the painful gut wrenching road of self development which has been fast tracked to bring me to depths of understanding that could not otherwise have occurred.
To my surprise I find myself eerily pleased with my changes. I am a better person following “the greatest trauma of my life”. Although my heart aches for the loss of my son who would be 24 by now, and tears can appear at any unexpected moment brought about by a sense of my family incomplete and me no longer whole…and yet.. my inner, real self is a softer, kinder self. I reflect on my new priorities which are less time driven and less materialistic. I listen to others with a sense of interest in their words and feel an understanding where once I was too rushed to hear.
I cannot help but like myself better than I did before as the mother of five teenagers and recall myself as controlling and needlessly firm without a sense of humour! How is it that I can watch the death of my teenage son from his bedside and be here now living my life with more joy and laughter than I have ever experienced before?? I am quieter and more settled and find peace in my own company.
These realizations have been gradual but astonishing. I begin to see the beauty of the gift that my son has given to me. Finally the rays of love and sunshine he shoots down upon me from his new room in God’s house warm me. I have learned to laugh. I have grown to know gratitude. Then there is that tricky painful aspect of self called humility. How many times have I berated myself since my son left us with my own perspective of bad parenting and guilt. That too has been left behind along the pathway of acceptance and gift hunting. I do not remember a moment when I chose between bitterness or positive living. However knowing that a loving and cheeky personality was here on earth and born of my body, I refused to allow the world to pass him by. He deserves to be celebrated and remembered. So I celebrate and remember….which requires laughter, warmth and forgiveness..and hunting deeply beneath the heartache for the gifts of his life.
The gifts of losing a loved one are many. Certainly death is a painful way to discover the secrets of gifts and yet a worthy one. My son, our Chosen one to return for Home duties has given me the gift of change. I hope he has found me a worthy recipient. It is a wonderful gift that I can return to him one day as I learn my role of better person. I muse that “change’ is a good thing, a powerful and positive thing if I keep looking for the gifts. The ebb and flow of change is a constant and I wonder with excitement what lies ahead. More little parcels of growth and laughter no doubt..and perhaps a bit of wisdom (hopefully!). The grief lifts and life continues. I choose to find the joy. I know he wants this for me.