Thursday, December 3, 2015



I’ve been thinking a lot lately Matthew, about how you may look in Spirit. I came across this GIF file the other day and it made my heart skip a beat. I believe this may be you. Fly free, fly high, soar my Sweetheart—you’re not earthbound anymore! I hear, I read that death is nothing more than a transformation of energy to a different dimension—Heaven. Look at the transformations this bird goes through! Infinite orbs of golden light—shining, twinkling, changing shape and size. Are these your memories, your personality and character traits? Are you held together by Love? Consciousness, the soul does not have a physical body, yet I can see you, through you, around you. You are here, then there. Are you everywhere—a thought, a breath, a scent, a vision of beauty, a sound? Looks as though you are spreading light? Is this how we feel you—does your Love leave a trail of laughter and joy, are you filling our hearts with comfort, our souls with peace? Your energy appears forceful, strong, determined. You are Light you are Love—you continue to live in our hearts, our souls, in the Beyond. We are connected, we are One.

Eleven months. Thinking it, saying it out loud, seeing the number in print—the numbness is returning. Waking up in the dark is different than waking up to dawn. The dark is gloomy. Cold winter weather is gloomy. Dawn and light represent hope. I need to find something positive that represents the dark and cold. I woke up before Dad this morning. I lay in bed, immobilized for a few minutes. I heard Dad stir. Silence and then an audible, long sigh—that moment you are reminded—another day without Matthew. I could hear words in that sigh. Men and women grieve so differently. That sigh was heartbreaking. His grieving carries a lot of silence. I asked him the other day what he misses about you and his answer was the furthest possible from mine. He misses the animated discussions, the passion, the escalating voices, the varying points of view, your uncoachable ways! I didn’t ask him why, I was so stunned. My mother’s heart would get overwhelmed at those times. I’m not one for rowdy conversation. Quiet and polite suits me better. I know all the words to Kumbaya. I bet Dad could see you most alive when you were trying to share your point of view. He loved the way your mind worked. Me, I miss the hugs, the phone calls, the visits. I miss you being alive, here with me. I miss our complete family unit. Could be the holidays—they are difficult?  We made it through Thanksgiving. Tough day for me, as you and I connected in a special way through cooking. I made sure the mashed potatoes had no tears mixed in with the butter and the milk. We put quite a few sides on hold until next year when Jason, Beth and the girls will join us for Thanksgiving. I missed your turkey day production schedule, your timed sides, your kitchen voice when joining in the conversation. Your football game noises were absent. The only men in the house—Dad and Bear and he’s too young to do the speedy two-hand touchdown clapping cheer that you and Jason have mastered to a T.

I came across an expression recently that hits a high note in my grief journey—"the saddest joy"*  an example that grief lives in me forever. Even though time has shown me that I can make peace with sadness, it also teaches me that my emotions are felt so differently since grief has taken up residence; sharing every emotion from the bittersweet to the joyous. It is a full way of feeling on the inside. It’s a halfway show of feeling on the outside—half of the emotion gets suppressed, hidden like a dirty secret. Another reason why Grief needs to be better understood. Feelings, emotions and expressions become contradicting corroborations; sometimes both sides felt at once, other times side by side. Have you ever experienced angry pleasure, helpless strength, guilty freedom, anxious serenity, lonely love, fearful courage, uncertain security, confused organization, bitter sweetness, irritable calm, painful relief the very saddest joy? Is this how you felt when Andrew died? When you wrestled with your Grief? . . . And the words I have associated with Grief: wrestled, tussled, grappled, friend, enemy, teacher, joy, ache, sadness, sorrow. From one end of the spectrum to the other; I have never met a more complicated process.

At nine months I was trying to decipher the normal in Grief. With thoughts racing and perhaps over-thinking; was I creating an obsession, was I stuck in the past? I asked myself:

 “Is it normal to continually look at my cell phone screen photo and ask WHY when I know that question is not going to be answered in a manner that will make my heart stop bleeding? Is it normal to touch that photo, push back that stray strand of hair away from your eyes? Is it normal to stroke your cheeks remembering all the kisses planted softly? Is it normal to be doing this daily after nine months have passed? Is it normal to not notice the tears until the photo blurs? Is it normal to yearn for more than the memories? ” What is normal is to experience a love so strong, so deep, so unconditional and to know it will never die. I miss you so much Matthew.

At eleven months I am still searching but have learned to surrender. I’m holding onto that photo. I still kiss your cheek. Yes, this act of Love is very normal—a normal expression of grief. It is my anxious/tranquil moment. Will the ability to perceive you as other than your physical self move me a step forward? Another question that will remain unanswered for now. And so I continue to live in that place with the joy and the ache . . .

A prayer, Matthew—
Remove the fingerprints from my lenses
Let me see with clarity
Feel without contradiction
Hold my hand in the dark
Continue to apply balm to my heart
As you feed peace to my soul
Walk with me through fear and loneliness
Give me a glimpse of the changed, new me.

Love you Forever and Always,

*facebook comment Carol Leonard Death Expo Public Group Page



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