Step into my world, for just a moment, into memories.
Certain thoughts can still bring up pain. Moments later my thoughts bring overwhelming joy. The image below was drawn in the hospital ICU 2 days after my son’s accident.
When I think back I am amazed that I thought to bring a sketchbook and pen, but not a change of pants!
I remember that while in the ICU, I sat with him for hours coaching him to breathe using the knowledge I had learned during yoga teacher training. We did not know if he could hear us, but I could see that he was breathing with me. Using the squeeze of my hand in his to indicate inhales and exhales we breathed together. He was with me, and yet he has zero memory of these hours. At one point the nurse came in and was amazed that he was still breathing on his own without oxygen less than 24 hours from having his breathing tube removed. She walked away, happy for him and for me.
I also recall simply sitting. The hospital room had a window seat. So I sat. I breathed. I relied on every moment of meditation practice that I could summon. Being frantic, upset, crying uncontrollably was not going to help him heal. Being there was all that mattered, for him and for myself.
These are the happy-sad memories.
The sounds of an ambulance made my heart rush for many months post-accident, even though I was no were near his ambulance and there was no way I could have a real memory of the sound of his ambulance. What I had was empathy for the other families about to go though what inevitably happens along with the sound of an ambulance.
Sometimes I still jump when the phone rings. The phone brought me the information about his accident.
Now there are new moments replacing these older memories and thoughts.
When I walk, breathe deeply, and spend time outside I can easily find myself overflowing with gratitude for the beauty in my life.
When I looked at the calendar today and realized that he is almost 21 years old! How exciting! He will get to celebrate this birthday! He lived.
In my book, My Year of Separation, I did not share the image above. I did not share these tougher memories. I spent the year writing and looking for hope and healing.
If these thoughts and details stir something in you, consider buying my book. Or share this email, story, blog post with someone that you think could be helped by what I’ve shared.
Soon, I will have moved past these memories. In their place will be new adventures and most likely further pain. The yucky moments are a part of a life lived fully. How we deal with our emotions is what creates either more pain or opens us up for further joy than we ever thought possible.
I choose joy. When I hit send/publish on this post I will go outside. Breathe deeply and know that I can share moments of meaning. Ideas that helped me, and that might help another fellow human.
I would love to sell you a book, but more than that I’d love to share the idea that even in pain we can look for and notice moments of joy. I believe it IS OK to be silly even at inappropriate times, but also to be reverent. A constant balance of good and bad. Happy and sad.
Memories are in the past, the now matters.