I only start to think of it consciously after the 10th of each month, once the calendar turns double digits... it's like a shadow that hovers overhead, not darkening into a menacing thunderhead, not dissipating to fade away, just lingering, just there... in a corner, down a hallway, in the painting that looks down on our kitchen, in a pair of hardly used running shoes in our hall closet. Reminders are everywhere. The anniversary date is starting to creep closer. The 15th, forever changed and loaded with meaning for me and everyone in my family. The 15th, the day a phone call exploded our normal. The 15th, the day my oldest son Dylan died.
This has been a month of decisions. Both Justin and Eden have been doing a lot of soul searching regarding some very big life decisions they need to make in the near future. Justin, which career to pursue and Eden, where to apply to school and which focus to take. Interestingly, they both came to some very big life decisions just days ago which I won't write about here as that's their business but which came about for them in part because of a thought I had when I was sick in bed with a flu and fever, unable to sleep. In my half-sleep, I was fretting about them both as I suppose all mothers do, wondering how to help them when I had a flash of insight and so I texted Eden this message at 4:30 in the morning:
"I had a profound thought in my half-sleep at 4:00 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep until I wrote it down for you. You are wondering where your heart and gifts lie and what you should do with your life... Take a look at the two big life events that have happened in the last 6 months. One tragic, one joyful. What did you do? Your instinctive contribution at every one of the serivces to honour Dylan was to sing and it was powerful. When people comment about our wedding, YOUR songs are among the very top things they remember. Eden, your voice is a gift and it's important that in your quest for meaning and direction in life that this is not minimized or forgotten. Very few people can do what you do... move people with music. I love you."
We spoke about it that morning when she was getting ready for school and she agreed it was a valid point and something she would think about. Later that day, she texted me from school that she had had an epiphany. It make me happy to hear her so hopeful.
I could have written the very same message to Justin about the same two life events. For both, his contribution was to paint. The night after Dylan died, Justin painted a portrait of him for people to sign at the funeral in Ontario and then at the memorial service held here in Kelowna a month later. This painting now hangs in our kitchen above our bookshelf. It is a treasure. For our wedding, he painted a big Maui sunset so people could take pictures in front of it - like a photo booth. Both paintings are treasures for us and beautiful pieces of art. Again, I reiterated to Justin that not everyone can do what he does, that it is a gift and he should use and celebrate it.
As for me, life has gotten very busy and perhaps this sickness (my first in almost 3 years) was a sign that I need to slow things down a notch and make sure to have quiet hours to just BE. I have started taking saunas again as we have one in our bedroom and rather than sit and be distracted by the computer, I have used this time to just sit and breathe. Sometimes I allow my mind to think about Dylan and just let the thought of him surround me. I try to remember his laugh, what his hair smelled like when he was little, different expressions that were uniquely his, experiences we shared. I remember good things and if dark thought start to surface, I observe them but I don't let them lead. It feels good and peaceful to be in that allowing place.
I had another dream about him the other night and again, we were just sitting and talking - much like if he walked in through our door right now. He was giving me some advice on supplements. When I woke up, I was peaceful. I had just had a nice little visit with my boy. It helps.