These past few months I’ve been forced to detour my usual way to work each day. I’ve had choices; left, right, follow the signs assuring I’d get there, or discover my own detour. I’ve allowed myself choices through these detours as well as the detours of life. That word “detour” it can feel so bothersome, because most of the time I just want to get from point A to point B without a whole lot of thinking.
Grief, the biggest detour of my life, nonetheless I’ve been given choices, sorrowful every minute of the journey or finding even the tiniest bit of good along the way.
Recognizing the bliss again takes time, months, for others it takes years. Yet, one day at a time I’ve begun to see more clearly through the tears, little by little the light of life has begun to shine through, I truly believe it’s a gift Grant would want me to partake in, living.
A few weeks ago, my mindless drive to work became a field trip of sorts. The big orange signs screaming DETOUR, find a new way, started my thinking that there’s more than one, much like life. When Grant died, there was no visible road forward for me. That intersection of my life became a brick wall with no detour signs or instructions.
Like life, grief is a journey. We’re born, we live, we die, we’re all headed somewhere. For the most part we choose how we want to live our lives, we either work to live or live to work, make meals at the traditional times, shop the same store, pray in the same church each Sunday. But occasionally, life throws us a curve ball, and sometimes that ball knocks the holy wind right out of us. It comes through sweeping your life into the darkest place imaginable with no warning. With death there’s no immediate detour route. You can read all the books, listen to those that have walked the road before. The only helpful advice I have even to this day, is ask others to pray for healing and God’s grace because I couldn’t pray from myself. It took the faithful, never-ending love and prayers of family and friends to breathe life back into me.
I believe joy is like a muscle; if you don’t use it you’ll lose it. I had to find the gap in my soul and regain the joy I once had. Happiness isn’t just a coincidence, it’s not just given to you, it’s entirely our responsibility to live with a joyful heart.
Over the years I’ve relived Grant’s death, the hours before, the hours after, over and over. I’ve replayed the play by plays of what if, should I have, could I have on auto repeat. One day in my replay I clearly heard Grant’s reaction to how he would have talked me through this grief. For those of you that knew him it truly would have been his words. “Mom, I’ve already died. There’s nothing you can do about it.” I’m not saying that I don’t have these thoughts still, but finally I have Grant’s response ringing in my head when I go to that place in my head. Those are the words I hear now, in his unforgotten voice, “Detour, find another way, notice the good all around you. Remember the good in yesterday, look forward to tomorrow.” No matter how bleak the day ahead may look, find something to look forward to. Grant’s death crushed me. Losing a child empties your every ounce of joy, yet on the detour I have found life in awe. I’ve been beautiful scenery and kind people. I’ve found the true feelings of empathy that some may never know. I’ve appreciated the joy in the little things.
I know I can’t have my boy back. I know he’s not physically a part of my future. But, I can finally appreciate the detour in my life as the journey ahead. That there is still joy, that I still deserve happiness.
I Love you Grantie,