Alive

3/16/17

Dear Isaac,

I had a short day at work today, which gave me time to drive downtown and pick up your death certificate. I didn’t know what to do after that. Mommy had taken the kids to a grief workshop and I had several hours before they would be home. I never know quite what to do when I don’t have my kids…and the whole dynamic is different without you here. Logistically, things are much simpler, but I’d take complicated if I could hold you again. So I drove in the general direction of home, drove past home and headed to the cemetery. I used the time in the car between the office, the funeral home, and the cemetery, to make calls to clients and see if I could help move life in the right direction for them. If they only knew…

I never quite know what to do at the grave site. I mostly just stare at the ground, thinking I should get going…or maybe just stay a little longer. You’re buried next to a 17 year old boy who died just a month before you. I finally left and decided to use a Starbucks gift card to sit in the sun and drink iced coffee where I’m not likely to run into anyone I know…’cause it’s Starbucks… I don’t know quite how to go about this whole losing you thing. I decided to look over the death certificate, in the sun, sipping iced coffee. I looked for the words, they were hard to find, but I needed to find them. And there they were, in about 8 font print on the lower third of the page, “submerged in bathwater…cardiac and respiratory arrest…seizure…” After that, they seemed to fill the whole page. I faced the window and no one could see my tears…though, I don’t care if they do anymore.

I put the certificate back in the manila envelope and decided to reach out to a friend who I knew could use some outside perspective on his situation. I felt very alive as my heart opened to creatively walk with a friend through something I’d waded through a couple years ago. I felt alive reading the death certificate and letting the words sting like alcohol in a wound. I felt alive working with clients through their challenges. Helping others doesn’t cause me to forget the pain of losing you, it just reminds me life was, is, and always will bigger than my brokenness…the irony is that brokenness is required see the depths of our struggle, and the height of our victory.

So I don’t fool you into thinking I’m just conquering the world with selfless love, I must admit I’ve been very fearful lately. Stressed, overwhelmed, short-tempered, and impatient. I’ve related to certain people from a place of fear, and not of love (what I would call “stuck on the dark side”, where the same actions can have opposite effects). So I accepted an invitation to get some pastoral care tomorrow. I don’t what to expect, or what I’m hoping for, I just know I don’t like being stuck and relating to others from “stuckness.”

I watched Collateral Beauty tonight. I must be a glutton for punishment. It was truly a beautiful movie, but I didn’t realize it was about a guy losing child. Again, the pain helped me feel alive. Hurting is not a bad thing if you embrace it and hold your heart open to God’s love. If I fear it, it will destroy me.

A bit of rambling tonight, but I wanted to share my heart before going to bed. Thank you for teaching me that all of life is a choice to love or fear. I chose love.

Good night my son,

Dad.

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