Joe died on June 2nd, and Cole and I “got” different. My thirteen-year-old now judges how bad things really are against June 2nd, 2009. When faced with a disappointment, he says, “It’s really not that big a deal,” knowing it really isn’t. An odd moment for me was this realization: As parents, we know the worst thing we can ever possibly imagine is losing our child. Well, what’s the worst thing a child could ever imagine? Yep. It sucks.
Looking back at old pictures, I notice how happy Joe and I were. There were no pictures reflecting the reality of living with the world’s messiest man, (no contest here) and the “to do” list checked off with empty promises. Knowing what I know now, I wonder if I would care about the messes or the “to do” list. Probably. It’s just how I’m wired. The difference would be that in those moments, I would also realize, “Hey, I’m happy and content AND, damn it, I want the beer can in the trash.”
It amazes me now how much time we spend trying to control our life and the lives around us. My fear these days is not about “what could happen,” but the absolute knowing that I cannot stop what will happen. Grief and fear have a lot in common. My solution has been to care less about what could happen and care more about what is happening. Maybe our best chance is not giving up control, but controlling the choices we make right now and right now and right now.
Remember before you had kids, how you knew everything about rearing them? Or wait … Do you remember thinking your mom or dad should handle their relationships differently? Maybe your mom was not “strong enough” or maybe your dad “did not get it.” We were Dr. Phil before Dr Phil. We were never going to DO IT THAT WAY. Another example might be becoming a parent and realizing, “Oh My God, my life will never ever be the same.” Do you remember? This is my other-side-of-the-fence-experience, compliments of Joe’s death. I now look at the present moment in an entirely different way because I experienced my whole life changing in a moment.
Would it be okay to share to share a “June 2nd” AH HA with you? It’s a little embarrassing that this AH HA did not come while sipping green tea with a Buddhist Monk, or after a pilgrimage to a mountain or pond, spending time in a sweat lodge or even on a walk around the block. Gratefully, it also did not come to me while sitting on the toilet. I was AH HAed while reading a status update on Facebook. I had the urge to comment, “Living in the present moment is not an option . . . we just pretend it is.” The next time someone reminds you to “appreciate the moment” or “live in the moment” or “be grateful for the moment,” feel free to respond, “I am,” and notice you are.
Joe, I miss you like crazy … and everyone knows how much I miss crazy. Thanks for keeping in touch by sending us the “crazy signs,” and yep … I make sure Cole knows every single day, you love him from heaven to earth … for no reason at all.
By the way, I may be different but we can still complain about our spouses (I have plenty of complaining left to do), kids, the weather, and about who did what to whom. It matters, darn it, just in a different, odd sort of. Being Odd together is just more fun.
Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!