For as far back as I can recall, I have strove to be inclusive. I never want any one to feel left out, unloved or unwanted. I always want to bring people along. We all have our things and this is one of mine, for better or worse. In junior high it showed up as me introducing myself to every new kid at school and inviting them into my circle of friends. There were more than a few occasions when this turned into a minor disaster, though we can all laugh about it now. When I waited tables, my heart went out to the solitary diner, I wanted to make sure they were well taken care of and happy and I gave a lot of energy and attention to them even when they weren’t my table. When I started being interested in women’s spirituality and delving deep into the interior work of self awareness, I wanted to pass on every morsel of insight I came upon to my significant relationships, men women & children! I am a connector. This is a blessing and a curse and likely the result of Middle Child Syndrome. The term empath gets a lot of buzz these days and I’m not opposed to using it, I’m simply trying to explain what it means. See what I just did there?
As a massage therapist, these traits were beneficial to my clientele and to my practice. As a mother, woman, wife, friend, it can become a little taxing, for my own well being as much as those who love and support me. I had to really work on not letting myself feel too precious because of it~ I would take peoples “stuff” on and it would make me sick or sad or over involved. I had to create a barrier between myself and the world. This was unnatural for me so I really had to cultivate it mindfully so that I didn’t over compensate and end up on the other end of the spectrum, coming across as exclusivistic~ a delicate balance that gets rocked easily.
It can be very compelling to hear from others that I have helped them or my insight was directly responsible for a desired change. And that is my polite way of saying I get a fix from helping others on an emotional or dare I say, spiritual level. Again, we all have our things and this is one of mine. I have many.
I say all of this as if it were present tense. The truth is, I am looking backwards. I am taking an inventory. I am trying to glean from the harvest something I can take with me into the next sowing season. Because I am still at a loss where to focus the time and love and energy that was once spoken for, unequivocally. I have so much extra time and no idea where to put it, what to throw myself into now. And I cant help but notice that as time marches on, losing a child has made me feel inept at being inclusive.
One of the greatest challenges of my grief has been to take my time. I was always in a hurry and now I am at a standstill. I was always impulsive and now I am trying to be much more intentional. I was always doing and now I am simply being. This might sound like some kind of lesson I learned but truly, simply, grief has rendered me this way.
I am or rather, I have always been a passionate person. Whatever I was into at any given moment, I was ALL IN. Isaac was always on top of that list. I am wondering when I will feel on fire again for something beyond loss. I have a frequent sensation that life is passing me by. And sometimes this bothers me and other times I could care less.
I cannot help but think of my dad while trying to start a fire. He taught me about kindling and using good wood, yes. But he also kept going no matter what life brought him. He didn’t stop to think it through.The same can be said for my mom, my sisters, my husband…for so many people in my life. I wonder often what is wrong with me that I cannot seem to stop chasing my tail. Is it different losing a child? different still, losing them to suicide? Are these excuses I tell myself? Why cant I just put one foot in front of the next? And how come when i make a micromovement I feel like such a bad ass? And why does everyone support these notions?
I ask these questions and I also answer them. I consider what I would say to another woman, another mama, friend or stranger, if this were her experience. I know that I would urge her to be kind and gentle with herself, as most everyone in my life does. I might be too hard on myself~ or I might be a bum? I honestly don’t know anymore… I feel such a deep desire for something to inspire me or capture my attention. I don’t want to replace Isaac~ by any means, whatsoever~ but, will I always feel the all encompassing emptiness? That is what is shitty. That is what makes me ache for all the people everywhere who have lost someone close to them. I didn’t understand before, though I thought I did. The walking wounded. You all, each of you, give me something to believe in. Perhaps my passion will simply be to live a life that defies the logic of great loss. Maybe my big coup is the small step I take each day just to keep loving. And I can ask if that is enough even as I declare that is enough. I wanted more. I wanted so much more of a life with Isaac. But what I had was enough to fill my heart forever.
I have considered the parents who have lost children who went on to make new laws or movements. I’m starting to understand that better as I make small strides to bring the Isaac Julian Legacy Foundation to life. I am trying to muster the courage, confidence & tenacity to invest myself into the mission to save someone else’s Isaac. It feels overwhelming. But then I remember that I am not alone, I have a board. And in life, I have an army of love standing with me. And all of a sudden I can see my path, my passion, so clearly.
It is to love. It is what I was born to do.
*photo credit melody ross