While I always try to keep my head up, I’m afraid I’ve found myself bowing down beneath the weight of sorrow.
I’m ok with that.
I’ve come to learn that the heaviness of Grief is born from the depths of Great Love.
This is something I strive to impart to my children every time a loved one passes on.
Of course, as parents, we want nothing more than to shelter our children from heartache.
To keep them safe.
We teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. To buckle up. To take care of themselves; eat well, exercise, don’t do drugs.
But those teachings will only keep their bodies from harm. While that’s all well and good, we have to be mindful of the things we can’t control. Like their exposure to Life. And subsequently Death.
Death is certain.
It’s something we have no power over.
While we cannot dictate when or how death will come into our lives, we do have the ability to lend our children tools to deal with it.
In these past few months, I’ve observed my little ones helpless in the face of grief.
There was nothing in looking both ways that would save them from this injury. Death struck them, and all I could was try and show them how to heal.
It wasn’t easy to look on as they furiously wiped the tears streaming down their cheeks.
But I knew I needed to allow them their moment, to allow those tears to fall.
Death is hard to talk about.
It brings on a silence.
It has a way of muting the rest of the world. And in that quiet, we have to allow the tears to flow.
Yet… it’s our duty to bring back the sounds of life.
When I felt the silence begin to dissipate in my home, I bent down to my children’s faces and posed a question, “What do your tears mean?”
Because they’ve heard me say it often, they easily responded, “It means we love them.”
Yes, sweet child, it does.
It means that we love deeply.
I’ve always taught my children to love those around us. That there should be no limit to the amount of Love we give to the world. That our hearts are not restricted by blood, are not restricted by proximity, are not restricted by time.
Love is wholly a part of us. It’s what gives us joy. It’s what gives us purpose. It’s what gives us hope. And it takes a brave soul to offer our love out into the world.
The tears we shed for the ones we love are not a show of weakness. They are a show of power.
They are an affirmation of strength.
I asked my children to imagine how tragic it would be to leave this world without someone shedding a tear? That question seemed to make them more comfortable with their sorrow.
I then invited them to bring back the noise of living.
That noise comes when we filter though old pictures, through memories. It comes from long forgotten conversations. From black and whites, from Polaroids, and unsteady video clips. It comes from undeleted voicemails and messages. It comes from undocumented moments that only exist in the corners of our hearts.
I want my children to realize that those we love deeply deserve our tears. And we deserve to shed them.
I don’t shy away from crying. I don’t shy away from grief. And I don’t shy away from the conversation of those we’ve lost.
It’s how our loved ones carry on in those voiced memories that seal our Existence.
You see, we are nothing more than a memory. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. We simply exist in moments.
So, I encourage my littles to speak their sorrow. Talk about the ones they’ve lost, even if it’s only to themselves. Even if nobody else is listening. I want my children to know that when they breath their name, they are breathing a piece of them back to life.
The only way to really lose someone is to silence their memories.
While silence can be golden, the noise brought on by voicing a memory is what makes us an Eternal Treasure.
It’s within those sacred memories that we find the true strength of Love…