I am very blessed to live in a community that has a place called Lost & Found Grief Center. I don’t know where to begin, I love this place, their staff & volunteers, and the people I have met. The ladies in my parenting group, some have become like a second family to me. I love my L&F ladies and I carry them with me wherever I go. I don’t see them often or even speak to them a lot outside of group but it’s a special bond we all share. I truly love them, it’s not a generic, overused “love ya”. I really love them! I’m reminded constantly to stop and pray for them or I think about their person, I take just a minute to remember their person, as I would see them through stories told at group.
I have been working on this entry for a while, among others, but this one was too important to just put out there. This morning I experienced a perfect example of the power of their support, of grief support. A couple of weeks ago at our last group meeting, my son, for the first time since we lost Luke, over 2 years ago, expressed that he felt like he stopped playing with his toys after Luke died. I knew there was one video game in particular that he stopped playing because it made him too sad but I didn’t associate his loss of interest in Legos to losing Luke.
All this time, I just assumed he outgrew them, or simply lost interest organically, maybe I just hadn’t even really thought about it, but when I heard the words come of his mouth my heart shattered. I felt horrible, I was shocked, mad at myself as his Mom for not noticing and sad, so sad that my son had lost pieces of himself through this loss, just like I had. How did I miss this piece?
I thought back to a few weeks prior, we were reorganizing his room to make space for a new desk & book shelf. I found several unopened Lego sets tucked away in his closet and under his bed. I scolded him for not appreciating the gifts he had received from friends and family, that if he didn’t want them, I would give them to his cousins or donate them. I went on, and on; Legos are expensive, why aren’t you playing with these, there are so many kids who don’t have any toys..all of the above and with a bit of annoyance in my tone. If ever I could go back in time, I would make a stop to this day to hug him, to smile and silently put those sets in a place where he could get them out and put them together, when he was ready.
I talked to Jack on the way home from group that night and I apologized for not understanding, for being upset with him for hiding Lego sets and not using them. I asked him why he never told me and he reminded me of an awful memory that occurred shortly after we lost Luke. I was cooking dinner and somehow a Lego tractor Jackson & Luke built together fell on the floor and all of its pieces went flying. Jack was devastated. He didn’t frequently display his grief as people think of grief, outbursts and tears, but when that Lego tractor hit the floor, I saw his heart-break along with it. I offered to help him put it back together and he told me no, he just wanted a bag to put the pieces in. I got him a bag and as we filled it with broken pieces of his tractor, we sat on the floor of our kitchen, both of us crying. I Just kept saying I was sorry, begging him to let me help him put it back together but he declined. He took the bag and put it in his room. We still have this bag, it is still filled with loose Lego pieces that may never get put back together, but he has the pieces and for him, that seems to be enough. It’s still his and Luke’s. It all made sense.
Luke has been gone for just over two years, I feel like I’m in a good place in my grief. I have moments, they are fewer and more time passes between “episodes” but this morning I woke up very early, 5:00 am on a Saturday, wide awake. I thought I might take advantage of the time, get chores done, work out, but first I would write a little and drink my coffee. I made my coffee, grabbed my laptop and climbed back into bed. It was still dark, of course, and as I got settled, positioning my laptop on pillows, I heard birds. Right outside of my bedroom window, birds singing. Birds have always been significant to me, I even keep a ceramic bird on Luke’s headstone, so I closed my laptop and just listened to them sing for a while. I thought about Luke and had to smile when I thought of how annoyed he would get with me when I would sing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to him. He was a bit of a worry wart and I would always sing “every little thing is gonna be alright”. He acted annoyed but secretly loved my reassurance, he’s not here to say otherwise so we’ll just go with that. Sorry, Luke. : )
I penned a quick poem to mark this memory for myself, being thankful I felt a connection to him and went on with my day. Jack woke up around 7:00, I was in my room sorting laundry, he came in to tell me good morning. I asked how he slept and he told me he slept great, I think his exact words were “so soundly, all night”. He’s 10 going on 47. I told him I would finish sorting the laundry and then I would be in to make us breakfast. My house wasn’t as in order as I like it to be, my nephews had been over the night before and they love Legos! A box of Legos hadn’t made its way back to its place yet and I’m so, so thankful I left them out. I walked into the living room this morning to see Jack playing with his Legos. I looked at him and asked the obvious “you’re playing with your Legos”. He nodded his head yes and continued to build.
I walked into the kitchen because I could feel the cry lump and my ugly cry face developing involuntarily. Jack is a well-adjusted kid, he’s happy, he’s sweet, he’s so smart, he’s everything and this morning I realized he’s also healing, in his own way, in his own time, just like me. We’re okay. We’re making it. Everything little thing is gonna be alright.
Another why for this entry? Lately, I have been getting a lot of feedback and questions and while I value your feedback, I am not a licensed professional. I can’t and won’t give therapeutic advice. I am simply not an expert on grief, I know only of my own experience and that is what I speak to. I will share my experiences, what worked best for us but my advice is, as an individual, a writer, and not a grief expert. The writer in me believes our souls, our hearts know how to mend themselves…we just have to silence our thoughts. Coming from a chronic over-thinker, I rolled my own eyes as I typed that.
That is my biggest wish, most important prayer for myself, always, be still. I want to let life, its circumstances wash over me with grace and acceptance. This is difficult but I tell myself daily “be still”. I have to trust that what is meant for me will come and stay, what is not, won’t. I don’t believe, not for a single second, I would be where I am today without the support of Lost & Found. Maybe Jack would still be avoiding Legos and I wouldn’t know. Who did I message this morning when I saw Jack playing with his Legos, Jack’s facilitator, who is so incredible and the volunteer facilitator for my grief group, who has become one of my best friends. She’s an entirely different entry. Truly, our friendship is a God thing.
To Chris & Kim, thank you. ❤