I'm shocked and saddened, as we all are, by the destruction and devastation created by the recent fires. Thousands of people displaced because their homes have burned down.The death count continues to rise. Many people are still searching for their loved ones, who are missing, as the fires continue to rage in many areas of our state.
We haven't even been able to wrap our minds and resources around the horrific hurricanes and floods which have killed many and demolished thousands of homes and businesses in several states and countries. Next, the deadly shooting in Las Vegas where many more innocent people lost their lives, and now the raging fires all around us. Our hearts ache.
We are all just one phone call from our knees. I heard that lyric in a song recently, and it resonated with me to my core. That one phone call, for me, was on the evening of September 1st, 2008 at approximately 8:30 PM. Within seconds our lives were changed forever.
My son, Matt had been shot in the back of his head. He would not recover. Matt was kept breathing on a machine for as long as needed to donate seven of his organs to people who would surely die without them. Matthew gave life to many others as we watched his life fade.
I can’t explain to you, in words, how the murder of my child has affected my life. I can tell you that I became a different person; our family became different people from that day forward.
Because I would much rather be positive than negative, I will begin there. My heart has opened in a way I never expected. I am filled with compassion and empathy as I had never had before, even though I “thought” I did. Every moment of life means another opportunity to reach out my hand, give a smile, and help someone.
At this moment, many people need help. Many have received the one phone call. Many are suffering the loss of a loved one. Many are without a home due to hurricanes, floods, and fires. We have a purpose today to collectively come together and help those who are in need.
Today, I’m not allowing the pain, sadness, grief, and devastation to keep me isolated from the world. I'm aware of this extraordinary gift of compassion and empathy. For these, I am eternally grateful.
Having a grateful and open heart does not mean that I deny my grief, sadness, anger, and pain. I feel my feelings today. I talk and write about them often. What does happen for me is when I allow all of my feelings to come and move through me, I’m also letting the love, compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude to move through me too.
I used to think that the grief would swallow me alive. It felt like it was going to literally kill me. I had to ask for help. I had to realize that I would not survive this horrific life experience unscathed.
My world would forever look different now. It was also up to me as to how “different” I wanted it to look. I can make my new world hostile, scary, angry, and sad all the time. Or, I can choose to see all those things along with also seeing how beautiful and loving people are when negative things happen.
Every day is new and different. I don’t want to carry all the anger, sadness, grief, and pain into each new day. Trust me; all of those feelings have not left me. They are still here, lurking behind quiet spaces in my mind. They are waiting for the perfect moment, the moments when I’m tired/frustrated, to latch and hold on for dear life.
For me, it’s about balance; something I have never been great at doing. It’s about not denying but allowing my feelings. I have to practice allowing “ALL” of them to come and move through me with ease and non-resistance.
It’s in my nature to want to push away, shove, eat, and smoke or whatever, the feelings that I don’t want to feel. I had to realize that if I don’t practice and learn how to allow them here with me, I will have a more difficult time allowing those “Good” feelings to come. That’s the Balance!
I am by no means an expert at grief nor feeling my feelings. I had an urge to write about my experience thus far. I have had nine years to practice using these tools that were shared with me by various professionals, and other grieving people that I have met along this long winding road. Thank you all <3
Dear God, Clear my mind and heal my heart. Guide my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the words to speak. Amen