Hello, from sunny New Hampshire. It went by in a blink, picture perfect, brilliantly sunny, breezy, warm and luscious! 4th of July celebration and our annual trip to the lake. You see, this trip, we all knew, would be our last trip to this lakehouse. They have sold their beautiful lakefront home and are moving on! So, for over a decade, we have gathered and bonded and watched fireworks ignite. For over a decade, we made memories, and sought refuge and healing at this lake. For over a decade, we brought our families together to “make memories”. I photographed every single one. I took too many pics and annoyed the kids to no end. I thought the house held magic and hope and sunshine. For many, many years it did. Sadly, last year, my son’s last breath was taken there, at the lakehouse. It now holds precious memories and tremendous grief. I guess, perhaps, it really does give them reason to move on. So, the house was sold to a lovely blended family. They call it their summer house, the new owners. They will move in in a few weeks. They will now make their own memories there. Another testimony that life, goes, on. No matter what!
So, I knew this year would be different. This would be hard, scary in some ways. I knew, I am not the same woman who sat by that lake for years, dreaming, laughing, celebrating, living and loving. I also knew I had to sit in my grief and acknowledge that my son died there on Christmas Eve. There is no avoiding this horrible reality or not fully acknowledging it was very traumatic, devastating. This, sadly isn’t my first rodeo, I mean in experiencing or surviving sudden death, but, he is my first born child. You simply do not recover, you adapt. Any time I am asked or I feel forced to “let go”, to release him, I cry and feel sadness. Maternally, I instinctively want to protect him, hold him, save him. Letting go makes me feel like I abandon my baby, my beautiful son. My Reiki master suggested that I do a guided meditation when I arrive there. She gently encouraged me to find one on Forgiveness. Hmmmmm, I pondered that. She said to me. Forgive what happened there that night. Forgive him, forgive yourself. When you are able to let go and forgive him, he will then be able to forgive himself. You will release him, and you will be able to move forward. I had never truly thought of it that way. I was so focused on the pain and trauma in my heart. Then she said this. Instead of grieving and carrying all that anxiety and pain, why don’t you have a little ceremony. A celebration of his life! Honestly, I hadn’t thought of that either. Bring some of his ashes and sprinkle them in the lake. Tell stories of fun memories and send his lanterns up to the sky and think of him. Remember the person he always was, his whole life.
That moved me. It helped me re focus and gave me a purpose. It made my son shine in my heart and I was not consumed with his final moments there. I decided I could do that, hold a small, intimate ceremony with a few family members. His Dad was ok with it too. For me, I carry this boy in my heart, 24/7. It felt right to honor him with his family. I felt a surge of courage to climb the stairs to the guest room. A tiny part of me felt he was lingering there waiting for me.
I slowly walk upstairs. Me and Mike, we go to sit and grieve our son. We go where he took his last breath. We were not present. We were not there to say goodbye or hold him. The room is illuminated in the most beautiful hue of sunlight. So golden, it takes my breath away for a moment. I see his picture, it always takes my breath away too….
The breeze by the rocking chair is strong, cool and I swear it feels like heaven. I forgot how beautiful that room is. I forgot how the sun sets deeply there, warming the entire floor. I rock and stare at the picture his Grandmother displays. The little angel candle is next to him that I gave her to hold. He is so beautiful physically, I could stare at his face all day. I sit and rock, and the meditation plays softly. We both listen and cry and honor our child. It is peaceful. I can’t explain why, it just is so peaceful and serene. I feel love in that room. I feel the sun, the cool breeze. I feel him. The love he had for everyone. The struggle he silently suffered, trying so very hard to beat addiction. Forgiveness…..for me, it is hard, it is a constant struggle. We have no control over anyone, yet, as a parent, we must let go and forgive. Complicated, a day by day battle internally. What really impressed me was his Dad. He tells me, he forgives him, and he is passionate about that forgiveness. to me, he didn’t even seem to struggle with it at all. Simply, Amazing really. We sit and cry there for awhile. We mourn him so deeply, but love him even more than grief. He was a lighthearted, loving, caring soul. We miss him …. more than words.
That evening….the stars are sparkly, the fireworks are magical. A beautiful night on the lake, we feel blessed. We are surrounded by love and family. That is how we make it through.
So, we send up the lanterns, they soar up to the stars, we watch until we can’t even see the orange glow. Magnificient & they were beautiful. But, then again, so was he. They soared so high, into heaven, & I loved thinking about him and wondered if he saw them too. We sprinkled some ashes over the lake and I read a poem that I found and framed for his Dad & I love to believe that one day, we will embrace this:
~ What moves through us is a silence, a sadness,
a longing for one more day, word, touch and we may not understand
~ why you left us,
but, little by little, We begin to remember not that you are gone
but that you LIVED and that your life gave us
~Memories too beautiful to forget.
in loving memory of Michael Anthony.
I cried a lot today. It happens now, I noticed immediately after I return from vacations, when I come back to reality, & I return to my “new” life and to this house, the grief swells and overwhelms my heart. It is always painful, coming home and not seeing his smile and sparkly blue eyes waiting for us. He is loved, he is missed, every single day, I live with that now. So… I fully accept and share with people, how I survive each day. I tell them; This grief, longing, mourning…for my child,this is what I live now inside, I accept it fully. I don’t expect it to change, not as long as I live on this earth without my child. I walk straight into the storm of grief everyday. Some days, are softer than others. I am living day to day, trying my very best. I am grateful for any support and love I receive. Not many people will talk to me about my son or his death. I accept that now too. Some will never be able to comfort me or console me. I gravitate and seek out healers, survivors, other mommies that lost a child, anyone who can guide me on my path to healing. I am lucky to have found a few amazing women in my life. I truly believe, because of them, I have been able to continue breathing for 6 months. Thank you all. Each one of you is unique, special, appreciated, valued and validated. I am truly blessed to have a Mother in law who is an angel on earth. She is a true testimony of survival. She lost 2 of her 6 children. I have hope when I sit and talk with her. She comforts me and validates me and tries her best to help me accept and honor my son, her Grandson who she adores.
So memories, they come and go, but they remain forever inside us. Comforting to know, they never leave us…leelee Moments are just like that too. We embrace what we see. We let go alittle bit each day. I was never good at goodbyes. I get attached easily. I glanced one last time from the porch at the sparkling, pristine view of the lake and thanked her for her natural beauty, for all the happy moments, for the clear fresh water, for providing a place we all gathered together, family, friends, children, animals, fire pit, fireworks, amusement park, we had it All! & many generations gathered together, 14 years of memories there. I thanked her for all the moments we healed together on this lake and even witnessed our beautiful niece marry there last fall. The sun setting behind her and her husband. A moment, etched in time, I will never forget how beautiful that day was. We shared so much there, the very best, and ironically, the very worst, but we all held each other up. We all showed up and celebrated LIFE. I am pretty sure that is how my son lived his life. Certainly on his own terms, doing his own thing and being silly, happy and crazy. He loved his family tremendously. I was so proud when he sauntered into a room. He always lit it up. He kissed everyone and smelled like a rose. He was special, beautiful, genuine. He was good. Of course, he was abit mischievious and was the goofball, silly, a bit daring, and very cherished by his family and cousins. I am pretty sure he demands that we all continue to celebrate, love and make more memories…and celebrate him some way too. Maybe, we can find another lake to reunite at? I continue to ask him to guide me. To show me tiny little signs that he is with us, guiding us and watching over us all. I continue to find Heart rocks everywhere I go, thank you. I stare at butterflies, dragonflies and hear the turtle doves coo and I think about you, always.
Cheers to the lake house and all the love and sunshine it gave to us all. It’s beauty etched into our minds and hearts forevermore.
Love & Light