A Changing Story

This morning I was going over chapters of my memoir, written before Andrew died.

“I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t paid to have their future read to them at some point,” are the opening lines of one chapter. “Or at the very least wondered what might lie ahead. When I look back at the last fourteen years of my life, I think that it is just as well that we can’t see into the future. For starting when Alexander died in 1995, and Hugh lost his job nine years ago, I had no idea that what lay ahead of us would be years and years of increasing hardship and change that would test us all to breaking point…”

Reading the above paragraph, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, for when I wrote it, in May of 2009, Andrew was still alive. What I didn’t know then, and in my wildest dreams, or I should say, nightmares, I would never have imagined, was that the clock was ominously ticking.
Andrew was close to the finishing line. Five and a half months left on his clock, and he would be gone!

There was a time when I’d say or think things like: ” It can’t get any worse than this.” I even remember thinking once, not long ago actually, that we had hit rock bottom.
That way of thinking has gone out the window now. When Andrew died, I had started and stopped writing my book many times as a result of changes in my life. After his death it occurred to me that I should just keep writing and call my memoir: A CHANGING STORY.

More and more, as I reflect on life, my life, and what goes on in the world, I realize how futile living in anything other than present, really is.
Life only happens in the present. But even Alexander died, thinking that the worse that could possibly happen to us had happened; I took so many moments with Andrew and with the rest of my family, for granted.
Were I able to turn back the clocks, I would do many things differently.
And of course, I would be standing at the entrance of Bobst, and stop him from entering.
And then we would talk about it all. But I had never had the chance. And now he’s gone.


6 thoughts on “A Changing Story

  1. The unexpected death of my child by suicide led to a similar awareness– to live in each moment fully with love and peace in your heart, to foster to the best of my ability loving relationships especially with my family, and to follow the positive direction of my heart.  

    I say positive direction of my heart because that was something unique I experienced during the moment I learned my child had died until the day following the funeral two weeks later. I knew at the time the experience was a gift that would only last for a short while. Psychologists who study greiving would probably classify the experience as the Shock Phase.  But I would disagree.  I seemed to have a sense of knowing where to be and what to do, somehow being spiritually guided during those days. I was kinder and more gentle and patient with myself and others.  Being at peace and giving and receiving love was where the positive direction of my heart guided me.  I am sure this is not everyone’s experience. But it was mine. And when I go back to remember that frame of mind and spirit, that way of being, I have a reference point to judge where I’m at now.  I ask myself how am I being? Am I following the positive direction of my heart?

    I see I’ve written a lot and this is “your” blog.  I couldn’t write during those first month’s but I had the presence of mind to jot down at least bullet points capturing main thoughts or events of the day written on mostly blank pages so I could come back later and elaborate.  The pages are still mostly blank. But through the convergence of multiple factors, one of them being your blog, I’ve found my writer’s voice again.  Thank you for writing. It’s both sad and healing at the same time.

    If I were to give a book title to the days forming the year after my child’s death, I would call that year–Year of Tears. The nature and quality of this second year is different. I don’t have a book title for it yet after only 4 months.  Interesting that I now mark time not from January 1 but from the date of my child’s death.

    Aloha Esmeralda.  Please keep writing because good is coming from it.    

    • First of all, as far as I am concerned you can write as much as you like, I welcome it. In fact if you’d like you can write a whole piece and I’ll post it. Yes, it is my blog, but it our voice, yours and mine and anyone else who wants to join in.

      You’ve reminded me of how I felt ten days or so after Andrew’s death. There was shock, horror, incredulity, multidimensional pain; and there was piece too. In those first few days I could feel my son’s heart connect with mine. I could look at his picture from my bed and smile. I could close my eyes and sense his freedom, his Peace his lack of pain. I thought that whatever demon, dragon he had fought, it had been slain and he, my Andrew, now rested in Peace. I wish I still felt like that. Now I am filled with pain, with loss, with sadness beyond description and to make matters worse, i can’t feel him. But I tell myself that in time he’ll come. And of course there’ll come a time when we shall al be reunited.
      Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing. Did you read the LONG comment someone left in yesterday’s posting, The Right Emotional Outlet?

  2. Esmeralda, thank you for directing my attention to Mark’s comment on yesterday’s post. Thank you for the license to write without inhibition with regards to length while keeping in mind the intent of your blog.

    The intensity of the pain will ebb and flow. Treasure the gift of that experience of peace. It was real and can still give you peace as you revisit it. And of course you will experience his nearness again in some way, perhaps when you least expect it.

    I am a reader. The first year after my son died I read about mental illnesses, suicide, being a survivor of suicide, grief, especially parent’s grief until all of my questions were answered to my satisfaction. But I am just a
    mom; no expert! The pain is very real and you will find ways to deal with it constructively (most days–none of us is perfect!). Hugs!

  3. Aloha, I just came across this website: http://www.tcfmarin.org/. If you scroll down you will find “Special Newsletter on Suicide”. I have only read 4 of the contributions to the newsletter and found them helpful. I assume the rest of the newsletter is just as helpful in understanding suicide and bringing it into the light.

  4. I have been following this website for some time and am heartbroken for your loss. Your family has shown enormous strength and dignity during this unimaginable time and I am always in awe of how you remain so articulate and giving at a time when no one would think less of you being introverted and selfish. As someone who struggles enormously every day with depression and is often teetering on the edge of suicide, I want you to know that I think Andrew knew he was loved and there is likely nothing you did or didn’t do that could have saved him. No one is to blame. I understand your instinct as a mother wants to have protected him in every way you know how, but my personal experience is that the feeling of wanting to end it all is akin to being in a bubble that no one can permeate. You and your family are an inspiration and I sense that your goal to get more people talking about suicide is coming to fruition; what a positive outcome from something so horrific. I think of you often.

    • Thank you for following this journey and for taking the time to comment, i appreciate it.
      I am sorry to hear of your struggles. I do understand what you mean when you say “a bubble that no one can permeate.” When I’ve been depressed, in an effort to explain what it felt like; I’ve described it as: “Like being a fish in a bowl. Where you see but you can’t hear, where if you speak you can’t be heard. Where this see-through barrier is impenetrable.”
      Dear friend, I do hope that if you feel vulnerable you’ll seek help. Please promise that you will. On the home page, under depression resource there is an 800 number you can call. Love, Esmeralda

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