With the 8th anniversary of Noah’s death this week, I’m reminded that one of his friends called him “a Bunsen burner of joy.” His wacky wit, zest for adventure, and big heart brought joy to a lot of people and certainly to us, his family. I’m so proud of him for touching the world in that way before joy deserted him near the end of his life.
My husband and I never spent much time in the living room until this pandemic year. It’s the most pleasant place in the house for Zoom meetings and events. Wherever I sit, images of Noah hover over my shoulder as I speak, sing, learn, pray, meditate, or catch up with friends and family. Noah still takes up a lot of room in our lives and in our living room--photos of him as a teen and young man; the big painted portrait by his cousin; two enlarged black and white photos that he created in college; and a shrine with the scrapbook I made of his life for what would have been his 22nd birthday.
I wish that memories of Noah took up similar space in my daily thoughts but to my regret, that space diminishes with each passing year. So I welcome the revival of memories around his death anniversary (or his birthday or holidays or travels) that open up that space again in heart and mind. Each passing year since the devastation of Noah’s suicide has opened up more living room in my life, more space to breathe fully and seek joy.
How I wish Noah had found a path to affirmation mantras from yoga and meditation like “I am the light of my soul” and “I am enough.” Surely he knew that along with his brother Ben, he was the light of our lives. And more than enough.
To my fellow survivors: What kind of space does your lost one take up in your life these days? How much living room do you allow yourself as time moves on past the suicide?