Saturday, September 27, 2008

Remembering a Life - Missing a Son - The Baby Steps of Grief

I've been posting simple, happy memories of Leif and our lives in Japan the past few days, but ignoring the feelings building up. Recovering from a death like this happens in tiny baby steps, maybe two steps forward and one step back. There are days when I feel like singing, temporarily, until his loss hits me again when I try a song I remember singing to him as a child. Days when I enjoy something and then remember doing that with him. Although I treasure those memories, it is so hard to know I'll never share those things, or anything else, with him again.

I cannot go anywhere in my house that isn't filled with things and memories of Leif. He helped choose this house, helped us move into it, hung the paintings on the walls, chose the phones, helped with the yard, put together my office furniture, lived here for a year.

But beyond that, there are the phone calls and text messages that no longer come, the fact that he's not there to discuss the presidential debates, that he won't see the new James Bond movie, that I'll never see his smile or hold a child of his.

You'd think, or at least I thought, it would be a little easier at nearly six months since his death, but I still am in tears daily, often several times a day. I don't cry long. I get a hold of myself, because I have to.

I am trying to move on in the ways that I can. I'm getting ready to try to sell his motorcycle. Every day I see it in the garage and it is painful. How I wish he were riding up the driveway on it! It's gut-wrenching to remember how much he loved it and at the same time to know that the accident he had in July 2007 began the decline into depression and death that ultimately caused him to end his life.

I have to sell his bass guitar, too, and other things I can't keep or use. We bought that guitar for him as a gift when he was in high school. I don't know whether he has played it in years, but there it is, almost pristine, in its case. I remember him playing it with the band in Puerto Rico.

So many memories, so much lost, so many tears. Some days, I have a small revelation when I'm working in the yard or on our daily bike ride. I'll realize that the sky is beautiful, that death is part of life and we all have to deal with it, that I have to choose to live my life, and I am making that choice, but it doesn't make the process easier or quicker.

I talk to Leif, every day. I doubt that he can hear me. If there is anything after death, the "veil" between worlds is probably just as impenetrable from that side as from this one. I, a writer of ghost stories, have not seen or felt the ghost of my son, but I continue to talk to him, because even if he can't hear me, I need to tell him, and if he can, he will know he is loved.

This photo is a composite of Leif's life which Darlene, Peter Anthony's wife, made for us.

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