September morn….

Well, here I am. Once again, awakening wayyyy to early, but, also relishing in the quiet stillness of pre dawn. It wasn’t the lonely dove that woke me. It wasn’t a hot flash (oh aren’t they something!) It was you…surrounding my thoughts, my heart, swirling around in my head. I toss and turn and whisper I miss you so much, like I often do when I wake up to another day. Another day, the tears flow @ the mere realization that you are not next to us. You are far away, somewhere, where it is still so difficult for me to picture you safe and sound. Oh, my Michael, I yearn for you always….When I think about my quote I wrote to you yesterday… ~tu me manques~ which translates to, I miss you in English. I discovered the French translation is “You are missing from me”. That is what a grieving mother feels deeply, every single day. I am not fully at peace because of your physical absence. I wish I could fully understand Heaven, death. But, I don’t. Maybe, I don’t truly want too. I know one thing for sure, I will forever miss you here with me. I will forever awake and think.. is this a dream? Did my beautiful son really die? Last night, we had a vigil at the ocean. August 31st,- is now labeled National Overdose Awareness Day. I woke up yesterday and thought, is this really me now? It is. It’s 21 months since my son died. The reality stabs me over and over again. The grieving mother would do anything to turn back the clock. After all, we still sadly digress, and our mind sometimes wanders back & we go over & over & over in our minds, dissecting all the insanity and trauma of addiction. It’s a vicious cycle. Your brain says, You did everything possible to help him. The grieving mother feels differently. Truly, there is no solace. He is missing from me…that is what my heart screams silently. Yet!, I aspire to believe and embrace fully that a Heaven exists! & I wholeheartedly pray it does, I will see him again. Somehow, that tiny bit of faith, keeps me going. That thought of him hearing and watching us gives me a bit of comfort. The brave souls I have met and come to lean on and love, my support group, my beading sisters, that give the best hugs, and make me laugh and teach me how to celebrate life again and find my JOY again & above all, connect and honor our child, heals me daily. I am surrounding myself with other Mommies, who get it, without explaining anything. Last night, at our ceremony on the ocean, we floated messages into the ocean, we proudly held our child’s photo and cried and hugged a whole bunch. Music played all night, Linda delivered her heart and her purpose and message of hope and strength and LOVE. The whole night, All I felt was you. I brought the hydrangea flowers he bought for me on Mother’s day, and butterflies and a Rose from my Mom’s garden with us. Yes, of oourse, we all had tears of sorrow for the life lost. I also embraced for a moment that I felt a touch of gratitude that God blessed us with you. They all commented about how handsome you are. I reply, when he walked into a room, he lit up the entire room. I miss that, your charisma, your essence, your silliness and handsomeness… I miss it all. This morning, I said to myself. You seem to avoid spending long amounts of time, alone in your grief. Nowadays, you volunteer, you work, run around, and keep super busy and productive. I don’t often allow myself to write anymore, to sit in my grief or sadness. I figure, if I keep moving, keep active and busy, I don’t think as much. It won’t hurt as much. The truth is…time helps soften the sharpness of a sudden traumatic death. Time, gives us space to heal the heart. Our brain insulates us, and somehow we learn again how to live. I didn’t think I would feel “anything” when you died. Now, I feel everything. A mother’s loss is a very lonely, dark, desperate place. Many people tell me “I can’t even imagine”. I want to say, yeah, I once felt that way too. They don’t mean harm, they are just afraid to reach out or support me. That is what I need, support, love, a hug, a card. Say his name, remind me of a funny memory, instead, society has stupid rules and patented inappropriate & silly phrases that don’t really help. Many many family and friends have faded from my life now. Hiding from my loss, or rather their deep fear of loss.

So, I learned, many years ago, to Plant my own seeds and water my own Garden. I am a Survivor. I had to learn and often force myself to take the steps to help me get through a traumatic loss. My Faith in God, a few good safe support groups, a qualified good therapist. Surround yourself with people that allow your feelings to surface. They just listen, that is all you really need. Just that LOVE….& COMPASSION…that I found, is how you make it. The other option? I think, and have witnessed sadly..some choose to drink or drug yourself to death and avoid all feelings and emotion. I have witnessed addiction and lived watching many people succumb and die because of it. Perhaps that is why it is so very difficult for me to fully accept that he could not overcome his addiction. No matter what I, or “we” did to help him. It was his addiction, and I wanted to will it out of him! Slay it for him. I simply could not. Sigh…I carry that around a lot. A mother’s cross to bear. Today, I acknowledge that I need to share these feelings, not bottle them up or suppress them down. Funny, when he was sick and suffering, I penned and journalled my thoughts daily. I filled volumes of journals with my pain and his pain and our suffering and fears. My greatest fear was that he would die from an overdose. He did. I hate that I carried that for so long. I admit, I spoke to him many times and begged him, desperate for him to recover. I read him every article about the epidemic of Heroin, then the lethal, deadly doses of Fentaynol . My son and I, We talked a lot, I cried to him. I wrote him volumes of letters.. anything to penetrate his sick brain. My sweet, beautiful boy, He assured me, reassured me & promised me that he knew how not to die. Sick isn’t it? I lived in constant fear and anxiety. Here’s the thing; I think about him. He just turned 31 years old, the month before he overdosed. So young.. my heart breaks, shatters at how young he left us all. Yet…I seldom acknowledge this very important reality…My brave, sick son… He tried 1000 times to regain his life back. I watched him struggle and fail and relapse. His shame, guilt, left him empty and desperate. BUT! I never say it enough. My son, tried over and over again, for 2 years to find peace and recovery. I guess he didn’t get lucky. Even with his stunning, sparkly Irish blue eyes. Ya know, Statistically, sadly, only a few percent recover. He told me, I want my old life back…I understood his wish and supported him the best I could. When he relapsed and died on Christmas Eve, he left so much here. His pain was so great, he succumbed and I was gutted. People often comment to me that “you’ve been through so much!”. Yeah, my world was shattered. Don’t be sorry, just know I hurt every day. I still smile and feel love & joy. I’m still me, just an altered version of who I once was….

So now…almost 2 years later…and every single week since then, we get another call that someone else has died from overdose. We grieve right along side them. Addiction is flattening. It is destroying many innocent children, adults, unborn babies…this epidemic is so big, so out of control, I am frankly overwhelmed how it will ever stop or end? I lost my son, I carry that loss and trauma every day. Now, I stand with other parents who lost their child. Together, we realized we can still live. We can carry a message or hug a family who recently lost their child. That is our purpose, & now I make beads for families. We honor their child & give them the beads and whisper. We are here if and when you are ready, we are here to Love you and support you. I tell them, we too, have sadly suffered the very same loss. It helps, I am witness to that. They brought me beads and they saved my life and my heart….The only way to get by, & to survive is finding your tribe! Reach out and make the call. Show up, Cry, and share your heart and Love. Then watch the miracles unfold.

I’m no expert here, I have a story to tell. It’s about losing someone you love and learning to cope. The road is long, the climb is steep and exhausting. I don’t sugar coat that. It for sure changes you, pain often does. This journey of grief (sucks) but I was already brave and nutured and loved. I believe those things have carried me on my most darkest days. I quote something I read the other day…We don’t get over a loss, certainly not the loss of your child…it just needs to be carried ~….God, how heartwrenchingly true that is! It’s freeing, saying, No, I won’t get over this! I’m not supposed too!, our loved ones and friends really can’t relate to that, but that’s ok! me reciting to myself, ~we just need to learn how to carry it~. I like that, because I am constantly learning. There is no pressure or time stamp or stage of grief or graduation! Here is what I know now…My son, Michael, He remains deeply embedded, and the love grows and continues to grow, I call that a gift from your child. Eternal love <3. He is my anchor, we are forever connected.

Oh, most importantly… I only do this shit like…
One day at a time~ that's all I can do.

Peace & Love to you ~

leelee