The Road to Recovery

Looking back on the time of grieving the loss of my son, I feel gratitude for the experience. There will always be times of sadness, but the gains are immeasurable.

On the first day of knowing my son was gone forever, when I took to my bed with a broken heart, certain truths rose from within: Only good can come from love. Chris will be with me always. There is meaning and purpose behind his death. In the months that followed, I held onto the insights of that first day. They became my guide, my faith, my eventual resurrection.

The Road to Recovery

Grief, in those first unbearable months would come in waves. In moments of relief, I could feel Chris’s loving presence. He didn’t exist in our time anymore, but as a spirit in eternal time. Though I didn’t know if that sense could last, it was a revelation—the saving grace. I learned that my two states of awareness, that of Chris’s absence and his presence, could not exist side by side, but only in succession. Surrendering wholeheartedly to the pain of loss, allowing it passage, opened a door into God’s realm.

About 4 months after Chris died, I decided to write a book to honor his memory—the brave soul he had been on Earth. In addition to my own memories, I collected stories from his friends. Through the hearts of others, Chris came to life in ways I could not have known him otherwise, enriching me own memories. I wrote the stories down and drew upon them to write my book. Freedom to Fall grew in its own way, becoming not only a story about Chris but about my journey through loss, an intertwining of our two worlds.

Little by little, in addition to my work as a storyteller, I found ways to step back into the world. I volunteered at a rehabilitation hospital for patients with spinal cord or brain injury due to accident. I fed home cooked meals to the homeless outside a shelter in downtown Denver—folks with whom I shared a raw vulnerability. Most especially, I decided to go into the world with an open heart, not hiding my grief. That willingness helped bridge a gap and brought unexpected gifts of compassion. However, for a long time those steps remained tentative. Over the span of a few years, I spent precious hours at home, simplifying my life, convalescing, relishing the quiet and the repose.

Sensing that there had been purpose behind Chris’s death helped me accept his passing. It is my faith that everything happens for a reason. And though there were times of doubt,  invariably I would return to the sense that he was needed on a higher plane. As I wrote, “…I would see with fresh eyes that Chris’s death had been purposeful. He was always going home, so close to God he was, and I would just feel so happy for him, imagining his joy….”

The way I responded to devastating loss that first year established my approach in the following years. With God’s help, I laid a solid foundation, choosing not to just leave healing to the passage of time. I knew there was so much more I could bring to the situation. I felt I owed it to Chris to let go of the past, where he no longer was, to make my peace with his death, and move on.

There will always be times for crying, when I am reminded of the dear person I lost, but each year has brought more wholeness and a return to a good life. This can be mainly attributed to the blessings that came on the first day. Indeed, only good can come from love! I have cultivated through faith and persistence my connection with Chris—our love—which becomes more golden through the years.

For those who struggle with loss, I offer these words of encouragement: Keep the faith; you will make it through. There is a passageway towards light. If you allow God to be your guide, letting go of the past in order to be led, you will open yourself to healing and to a deeper truth. That truth will become your redemption.

Excerpt from Freedom to Fall:

“Nurturance is the bedrock that allows the soul to thrive. To nurture myself now is to be light with myself, joke with myself, laugh gently at my gravity. To nurture myself is to take care of my needs in the best way possible—to rest, take walks in the mountains, soothe this rawness, and become creative again.

To nurture myself I only need to receive whatever comes my way, accepting that life just goes on. Witness this life. See that it is but a single stop in the journey of the soul. Be in relationship with others.

There is no need to block experience. Don’t hide from the things that cause pain, for they are tools for healing—sunlight, children playing, the patter of rain, the smell of pine. Receive fully my life this moment, and I will be carried forth. Lay bare my wound and allow it to bleed. Go forward with the sense that things are as they should be, and my loss will be transformed.”

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4 Responses to The Road to Recovery

  1. molly diane petrie says:

    I had difficulty understanding the part where you state “I learned that the two statesspiritual awareness of Chriss presence and the physical awareness of absencecould not exist simultaneously, but in succession, one following on the heels of the other.” wow!xo Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 17:22:37 +0000 To: molly_diane_petrie@hotmail.com

  2. I enjoyed your post about your acceptance and moving forward. As an astrologer, following my own astrological chart with the three deaths these past two years, I understood that they would occur. When they did, they were people who had fulfilling lives, but, for the living, the only way we can move forward is to be released. It was a great relief. Mourning of course, but because I understood before hand, that that is how the universal consciousness works, it made it easier for me. I’m a very youthful 66, my husband is a not so youthful 67, I look like his daughter, that is what he has come to realize. He went into cardiac arrest 7 months ago, and just kept pounding on his chest. He revived, has has many injuries because of falls, they finally put a pacemaker in. I read your story, for I understand that I just may become a widow sooner than I’d like. I’ve been married for 48 yrs, to a very sweet, kind fellow, so if he does go much sooner, though I understand that the particular timing in Divine, I too will have to cope with a very great loss!!!! Thank you for your inspiration!!!!!

    • Hello La Vern. Thanks so much for your comment. I am touched that my post could be received in a helpful way! It seems that our approach is similar. Great love is the inspiration for healing, and when and if your husband dies, that love will be your strength – to keep your bond alive.

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