What does a family do when it’s all over? When you’ve just gone through one of the saddest and most dreaded experiences of a lifetime?
Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you think that all you want to do is take these dried up, brittle and broken bones and go crawl in a hole somewhere to hide.
Actually, all I wanted to do was go home. Get in our car and drive those almost one thousand miles back to Georgia.
I almost did that. Almost didn’t go back to that funeral home where they had a restaurant cater Texas Barbecue.
But I guess I thought I didn’t want to be rude. And I didn’t want to miss seeing my grandchildren again. I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye and hugging them tight and kissing their faces
So, that’s what I did. I gathered myself together, and tried to be as social as I could.
It was a bit hard because there were people there I had not seen in years. Years and years.
It felt like some kind of warped family reunion of sorts.
We all piled our plates and found our places and sat down to dig in.
Here is where I saw it.
It hit me square in the face…right between the eyes. When I saw all the familiars clustering together at their tables like people always do. Humming and buzzing like bees in their own hives.
It’s funny to me how everyone sticks to their comfortable circles. Even when there are new people to meet or older people to catch up with. We still hover around those we see from day to day. The comfortable. It’s best to keep segregated into clans. Swarm together.
And that’s sad.
But most of all…
I looked around at the families and the people and the food, and it’s here when I began to realize…
Life goes on.
Brutally and often with such great insensitivity.
Something like this could bring everyone closer together. Make all of us keenly aware of the brevity of life. The power of family. But that doesn’t always happen.
The world still spins just like it does any old day.
We’ll all go back to our own private hives, spin round and round in our own colonies. Focus in on our own spaces, doing what we believe needs to be done for our survival. Allowing the smoke of day to day living cloud us and slow us down…blind us. Nearly paralyze us.
I must be honest that I am horribly afraid that this will all be forgotten. I don’t want my son to be forgotten. I don’t want the hours and days and months and years go by and we might remember him fondly for a few minutes…talk about him for a few sentences. Remember him on the anniversary date of his death every year.
Make my son some kind of memory.
Oh, in my mind I do know that this is healthy. It’s what most will tell me to do. They will tell me that Michael would want that.
Yes, move forward.
Right now I cannot wrap my brain around that. I want to somehow stand still in time. Feel the raw and allow this love to be fierce and unforgettable. I want my son to always be just under the surface of my skin. As alive as I can possibly keep him.
I want to forever feel this sting.
But I know it will happen. It inevitably will. I’ll have to go on with life.
I know I will move forward.
I will have to heal this sting of death.
But I want more than that. So much more.
I want to find a way to do more than simply
I’ll find a way to take any pollen I’ve gleaned. I’ll gather it all up. Collect the memories and the love and find a way to use my son’s life as cherished nectar.
Ruminate on it. Chew it round and round. Spit it out on pages.
Yes, I’ll use the life my son lived and this experience of his death. I will allow it to do its work in me. Allow it to become a sweet and precious elixir. It’s the only way I can make my way in this life now without him.
The only way to heal this broken heart of mine.
I have no doubt about it. I know what I will do.
I’ll turn this heartache into sweet, sweet honeycomb.
Yes, sweet, nourishing honey.
Sweet for my soul.
Healing to my bones.