My son, Carmen, died in a car accident in 2008. He was just 20 years old. I have spent the last four years digging myself out from under the shock, trauma, and grief that accompanied his passing. In order to do this I realized that I needed to create a new life because the one I had when he was alive did not exist anymore. He was gone, the relationship severed tragically and instantly when his car hit that tree in Middleboro, MA. I have begun a music career, moved to a new town to start over, taken new jobs, began new relationships, analyzed and reflected, and basically picked/packed myself up and moved on. These changes have been good ones for me. I have learned to smile again and to be joyful again, and I appreciate everything in my life. I really don’t cry as much as I used to now that the reality of acceptance has set in. I’m okay……..usually.
And then a holiday or an anniversary or his birthday occurs and I am thrown back into my despair and grief. This happened yesterday. Carmen’s birthday is Tuesday (tomorrow). This would have been his 25th birthday. Yesterday was awful. I got up and started crying. I was so upset and crying so hard that I had to call my sister to talk me through getting ready for work. Birthday’s are especially difficult because I know I carried a child who is supposed to have a birthday, but then the day will arrive and there will be no child. It will be an empty day. Oh sure, I know maybe some people say I should just remember the good times, but I can’t just remember the good times without also having to remember that he is dead. I am still processing the fact that he is gone, never mind thinking about the good times. His passing is the most traumatic memory in my entire life.
So yesterday I kept crying. I was angry too, so angry that he’s not here. Angry about the stupid car accident. Angry he was driving too fast. I went to work though, but my eyes were so puffy from crying and I couldn’t concentrate. I thought I was going to explode into a pathetic, slobbering, emotional wreck. I could feel the tears and the emotion welling up in me so I decided to just clock out a few hours early. I started crying as soon as I got into my truck. I could barely drive. I was supposed to be going home, but ended up at the beach instead staring out at the ocean. I was going to just sit there till it got dark but I was getting cold and I couldn’t run the truck because I was almost out of gas. I started the truck and went home. A very good friend of mine came over to keep me company. He made me a sandwich and we talked and listened to music together. He didn’t want me to be alone. He went home about 10:30. I started crying again. Then, right before I went to sleep I was still thinking about my son, but all of a sudden I was able to understand something I’d never thought of. It was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I had to write down what I was thinking.
This is what I was thinking:
I thought to myself how I had just spent the entire day crying. Then I thought, well, when I am at the end of my life I will view this day along with all the other ones and I will probably regret the fact that I did not spend it helping someone else nor did I really bring joy to the world. I spent it on myself, crying, and I thought about the future “me” who would be reviewing this and how disappointed she would be right before she passed on into infinity. She would have to carry the memory of this day with her. Then I had like a burst of clarity and I thought: My thoughts and actions in my life are defining the infinity I will exist in. It is my responsibility in this life to create and manifest how I will spend eternity, and this will be defined by the choices I make in my life.
It’s not just about now, this particular life we are living. This is actually a preparation for our eternity. This lifetime is kind of like being in the kitchen mixing the ingredients for how we want to spend our eternity. Our lifetime is the recipe for creating our eternity.
This bit of enlightenment opened up my mind as if a bright light were turned on. I could see my future self reviewing my life and then passing into eternity. I wouldn’t be punished or rewarded, however this life I’m living right now will determine whether or not I lead a joyful or miserable eternity because who I am and the decisions I make will determine my outlook.
So then, I could sense my son wanted to say something so I wrote:
“Mum, please don’t cry again tomorrow. Let today be enough tears. You don’t know how many days you have left and I don’t want you to spend even one more of your days in tears. You’ll regret it big time later on because each and every day is a gift and remember those days you spent crying and grieving, well those were days you could have spent smiling and being joyful. Like, say you only have another 30 years left, Mum, do you really want to look back and see all the days you spent crying? Is that what you want to see? Enjoy your life, Mum. When you look back over your life I want you to see happiness and joy, not sadness and grief. ” I’m thinking that Carmen might be right on with this, and he certainly does have a perspective now that gives him wisdom I don’t have yet.
Imagine an eternity of misery because I spent so many days crying or being miserable in this lifetime. NO THANK YOU! I own my eternity, same as I own my life. These are mine. My future, throughout all of eternity, belongs to me.
I get it. I friggin get it!! Amen
Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.