The days and weeks immediately following isaacs death were surreal– theres a visual acuity i seem to have retained but a block of time that has also kind of evaporated. What i can tell u is that the love i was able to receive from others changed my life as much as the ache of losing isaac has.
As ive mentioned in previous posts, all of isaacs life i believed whole heartedly that if anything ever happened to him, that i would be “gifted” with death– that my heart would simply cease to find its rhythm.
I have considered this many times and have concluded that this was accurate, just differently than I imagined. That morning, on the side of the highway, having come up from the valley where we searched for Isaaac, called out his name and made our calling sound we always used when we were separated in a crowd, after we heard the sound I prayed was a lawn mower backfiring, after we realized that Isaac left us as we were approaching his spot in the trees, that he heard us calling, he heard us nearing him, that he left us anyway– after i peed my pants because i heard my hopeful husband scream out in terror– after i ran as fast as i could in clogs over a stream and through the bracken, after climbing over the guardrail and watching emergency personell arrive and wondering why they werent hurrying– after screaming for josh to go get phil, standing there alone and confused but also utterly aware, i begged the off duty officer, a family friend who stayed by my side to tell me if Isaac was going to be ok, and then begging if he was sure he wouldnt be, once he said so, after standing with people ive known my entire adult life, friends of phils who became my own family, but not recognizing any of them, of thinking they all looked like different people or like caricatures of themselves, of keening an writhing and lying on the shoulder of the highway, of thinking my heart and my brain were going to explode, after looking back and forth at my car and the ambulance and trying to figure out which one i was going to leave in; not to be with Isaac, but because i was losing my mind– and then suddenly knowing with absolute clarity that i must gather my wits and go tell my parents myself, in this moment it is clear to me that my certainty that i would die, was true. Who i had been died that morning, wailing for my beautiful boy. Who i was is gone.
In her place, someone i am just beginning to discover. Her preferences, priorities, her mystery is unfolding. Her motives, her center– and perhaps especially beguiling; her grace strength and humility. These were not qualities the me i was could have acknowledged; too insecure, too full of self doubt, in some ways it seems that who i was never truly grew beyond a 20 yr old girl who chose to have a baby. She was never certain and this lack of certainty haunted her; she never felt as though she was enough. She was whim oriented, she knew she lacked conviction but was not trusting enough in her capacity to cultivate conviction– she had really only begun to dip her toes in the waters of truth, still unsteady with wings she had only recently discovered, after a hard year of lessons.
Who i am now is still being written, excavated, revealed but I can see the unalterable truth of her spirit shining on. And i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she, that i, am a survivor. What that looks like is coming to light everyday– 2 steps forward, 2 steps backward, 2 steps sideways… But in motion. In rhythm with a new stride i barely recognize as my own, and yet– and yet– sure footed, intentional even as i step in directions I am uncertain of, trusting an inner compass, self directed, following my intuition. Following my intuition; something I used to ignore, minimize, diminish.
The journey of grief, my journey through grief, informs me. I believe in its wisdom– when despair arrives with it, i listen to it, but do not find my home there. When joy arrives, i welcome it like a dear friend ive missed greatly, and embrace fully knowing that I may not see again for awhile. It is a slow dance with a full dance card; every one of my emotions wants a turn, but i do not emesh myself with each partner; i do not release myself fully into any one place, yet i am not always the leader– this in itself confirms the validity of change within me; never trusting, before, i always found surrender impossible, clumsy, and out of sync. My lack of certainty made control a requirement of navigation.
Allowing myself to be loved and comforted so fiercely by others, as well as by my own spirit, has changed me– losing the one true thing i believed in more than God, has humbled me. I stand both prostrate and tall in the shadow and the light. I am learning to shine on.