Cathartic: producing a feeling of being purified emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically as a result of an intense emotional experience or therapeutic technique.
That is why I write.
I’ll admit when I first started writing it was to inform family and friends about Dermot’s health and hospital stays so I didn’t have to repeat painful information over and over, but at some point my blog morphed into a vehicle to process my thought and feelings.
Yesterday I went to the funeral of a friend’s eight year old boy. He died suddenly and quite tragically. Yesterday I posted my heartfelt experience of his funeral and the happenings that occurred at the funeral. As with most people this was the most difficult event I’ve ever experienced. First because he’s eight years old and we knew him. We saw him often and our families have a connection. I know I don’t need to explain the relationship we have with the family, but because of some criticism I received over yesterday’s post I feel that I must. Secondly, I know with some certainty that I will be in the same position as my friend someday. Because my son has profound disabilities, I am glaringly aware that I will most likely out live my son.
I’ve been in the ambulance with my son, rushing to Children’s hospital. I’ve run through the automatic doors close behind the EMT’s while they rolled Dermot into the ER. I watched helpless in the corner holding his clothes while at least ten medical professionals tried different options to try and stop his two and a half hour seizure. I’ve looked into the eyes of a trained professional while listening to him tell me that they are doing everything they can to help my son. I know that terror; I live with that every day. But the big difference being, I got to bring my baby boy home, alive.
So I don’t know the terror of watching the life slip away from my son’s body. I don’t know the gut wrenching pain of sitting next to his coffin while every single person he and I have ever known comes to say good bye to him forever.
But I imagine it. I imagine what music will be played. I imagine who will be at his funeral. I imagine the numbness of the days and weeks after. I pray that I’ll have the strength to get out of bed each morning for my other boys. I worry about how it will affect their lives. I wonder who will show up to support me and my family, because I know it will likely be people I never expected.
That is why yesterday, I was watching every detail. I had my eight year old count every green balloon on the way to the church. I watched how the oldest brother’s hockey team showed up and stood tall. I watched all the little children cry one minute and play with their friends the next. I watched the all the parents touch one another and talk. I took note of the beautiful creative program that the little boy contributed to without even knowing it. I wondered if the musicians were professionals or friends of the family. But most importantly I watched my friend, the mom. I watched her walk thru all of her pain, sometimes composed, sometimes not. The beauty of falling to pieces was not lost on me.
I admire her grace from now on. I pray for her and her amazing husband and sons. I will continue to watch them as they go thru the journey of grief and emptiness. I will learn from them. I know with God’s grace they will learn to live again. I know they are changed forever.##
As a footnote: I have removed the post (An Eight Year Old's Funeral) from yesterday with fear that it may have been too personal for the family. I've saved it, and will keep it because I found it very cathartic to write.