Saturday, April 15, 2017

Three Questions After the Fourth Death Anniversary

Psychologist John Schneider advises those confronting any type of grief to consider three questions: What is lost? What is left? What is possible? The answers for me keep changing with each passing year after Noah’s suicide. Surely some things are possible now that I couldn’t imagine before. The loss itself takes up less space in my thoughts and daily life. But so, too, has the loss deepened and solidified, a stone lodged in my heart.
A partial list of answers to the three questions @ 4 years:
What is lost? Our precious boy – his many gifts and how he inspired and teased and amazed and worried and exasperated us. The things he would have done and places he would have gone and people he would have met. The endless list of all that was contained in a life, obliterated, never to be recovered. But most of all: the exchange of love. A family of four. The chance for reconciliation and a return to our lifelong conversation. The chance to see him grown and happy. A normal life.
What is left? A stone in a cemetery. A stone in a park. A small box of artifacts in a closet.
Doubt. Guilt. Regret. Questions. Tears.
The embers and tatters of memory.
The photos he made. The people whose lives he touched.
A living son, far from home.
Our puppies and spring garden and contented chickens.
Those who understand and share our pain, whether we’ve known them for years or just met them at a survivors’ gathering.
The beauty and wonder of the world.
What is possible? Remembering. Forgetting. Seeking wholeness. Opening the heart.
Continuing to try to understand.
Moments of happiness.
Helping others on this path.
Being grateful for 21 years.
Bearing unbearable loss.
To my fellow survivors: So many questions will never be answered after suicide. But we can try to answer for ourselves: What is lost? What is left? What is possible? How do these questions and their answers sit with you today?

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