After the disbelief, the silent hysteria and anger, there comes a time to find a quiet place and give way to the reality that the ones we loved so much have moved on. This takes courage, but it is a path we must take if we are to honor the ones we yearn for, the ones who will always live deep within all that we are.
My second son died several years ago. Mark was born with juvenile diabetes, and severe asthma, and from the very beginning, he was so ill, in and out of the hospital, his activities restricted at home and at school. But despite all this, he loved life and he was determined to be like other kids. And he was, but he was too young to leave us, only 49, and although he fought a courageous battle, he simply could not hold on.
I thought I could not go on. I would sit in the dark and tremble, refusing to play life’s game. But you do go on. It’s not easy, but you do.
I turned to writing, and soon my desk was covered with bits of paper; scribbled thoughts and remembrances that eventually came together as an anthology called: Come Hear the Whisper of Time.
Last year, my oldest son, just 56, lost his battle with a rare type of cancer. Unlike Mark, Guy had never been ill, never. Guy also fought until the very end, and continued to think of others and not his own pain and suffering, agreeing to donate living tissue for a research project his Oncologist was conducting just days before his final journey. He knew it would not help him, but it might help others. That was Guy, the White Knight, a man who lived his life with honor and dignity.
And again, I sat in the dark, lost and trembling, but this time, also wrapped in a mantle of humility for I realized how blessed I was. My relationship with my sons goes way beyond incredible. I would re-play the years of laughter and tears, of silly times and serious times, of praying I would always find the right words of encouragement when their road toward adulthood got too rough. So many times during our travels we stumbled but held on tight and continued to take one day at a time. During their illness, these terrible times, we held on, tighter, we fought the battles, praying each day to God for His grace and strength to guide us.
One of the greatest gifts I have ever been given was simply the privilege of being their mom. As I have written, I am Cherokee and Seneca, and I believe that when it is time to cross over the serene song of the blackbird gathers together the spirits from the past. They come with compassion and understanding to walk beside our loved ones, to comfort and dispel any fears that might lurk about, lighting the path that must be traveled with radiance so pure that only joy and peace are allowed to join the procession.
I miss my sons more than I can say, but I know that they are at peace because I believe Mark and Guy heard the blackbird sing. I believe they were not alone; that the spirits were there during those final moments to surround them with a gathering of love and all that is good to walk with them on their last journey. And it is through this belief that I find the courage to smile, to remember, and move forward.
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