When I was growing up, I remember when my Mom would mention whenever the anniversary of the death of her parents would come around each year. I wondered why she would even remember those dates when it had been such a long time since they had died...how little I understood when I was young...
May 8th for me always brings with it such sorrow. It sounds like such a nice day to me--a spring day filled with the hope that spring brings with it. But 23 years ago today, my Dad died. He took his own life. That memory is so engraved into the core of my memory, that whenever I hear that date, I find myself back in 1986 standing outside of our house trying to comprehend what had just happened.
They told us at the funeral home that springtime brings an usually high amount of suicides. Their theory was that those who are struggling with depression hang on thinking that spring will bring the "new beginning" feeling up hope that they are so desperately needing. And when it doesn't, they give up.. I don't know if this is true or not, but yet it is another thing that is so stuck in my memory from that time in my life.
I so wish I could replace the memories I have of that day with something better. I wish that each time I hear "May 8th" that I didn't get a sick feeling in my stomach. I wish that things would have been different.
And now, I find myself parenting a child who has memories that he too would like to have erased. Memories that he can not even recall consciously but are nonetheless real. I can see in his face, the pain he carries. The first year he was with us, I tried to get him to tell me what it was that was bothering him. But, of course, he was not able to recall the memories that are so deep within his memory. And yet, he still feels the sadness and the unsettled feeling that I feel every May 8th.
I am learning to use the difficult memories that I carry with me to find the compassion and understanding that I need to help my son deal with his difficult days. On those days, when I feel as if I am walking around in some crazy fog--having one foot in "1986" and one foot in "today," wishing I could tell everyone that I am hurting but not having the energy to do that...those are the moments I want to remember...so that I can walk alongside my son when he finds himself in that fog..
"Being thankful in all circumstances"...I think I am getting it..