Everything about losing my son hurt, bad. All that he felt to get to the point of needing to leave must have been excruciating for him. He saw no other way out of his pain, so he left, but he didn’t say “goodbye”.
Maybe there is a reason he didn’t say “goodbye”. Just maybe at some level, he knew he didn’t need to?
The abruptness of losing my son was the worst thing I’ve ever had to encounter in my life. My heart exploded, my mind ripped open. The agony of the void was all-consuming.
Little by little as I was working through my grief, I caught myself doing something that was giving me some comfort. I found myself talking to my son. Sometimes I would talk out loud, other times the words didn’t pass my lips but just remained as thoughts. There are times as I’m starting my day that I talk to him and tell him of my plans for the day. Heading into the gym, I find myself saying “Come on, Jason, let’s do this thing.”
I have a few of my son’s cooking pots, bowls, and utensils. Every opportunity I have to use some of his kitchen tools I find some comfort in handling things that had belonged to him. My grandsons play with some of his old Matchbox cars. This past weekend my seven-year-old grandson and I played with Jason’s old Battleship game. Sharing their Uncle’s old toys provides me the opportunity to gently interject little tidbits of information about their Uncle, keeping his memory alive.
I’ve read to my grandsons the book The Invisible String by Patrice Karst. It’s a lovely children’s book about how we are all connected to the ones we love by invisible strings. One of the children in the story asks his mom, “Can my String reach all the way to Uncle Brian in Heaven?” The mom replies, “Yes…even there.”
There is another children’s book that I came across as we were planning my son’s gravesite service to lay his ashes to rest. I was looking for a book to share with the young children in our family, something soothing that they might understand. That day as I sat on a quilt next to my son’s grave, I shared with the children another gentle book that carried a large message, Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You, by Nancy Tillman. The book speaks to the ever-present love between parent and child. One of the passages regarding our love really resounds with my heart, “It never gets lost, never fades, never ends…..”
Maybe we don’t need to say “goodbye”. Possibly our challenge is in finding new ways to say “hello”.