Existential questions have flooded me: Where is there meaning now that my child is gone? Who am I now? What is the purpose of my life? Not only the loss of my beloved son, but other losses in my life–relationships, hopes, dreams–became attached to my grief, as if it were one huge tidal wave.
How do I swim in this vast and turbulent sea, out of sight of the shore or a single buoy? I’ve learned to just keep swimming. I keep my legs and arms continually moving to keep from drowning. I’d promised my son I would go on and live a full life. I uncovered strength I never knew I had. Every day I practice the art of perseverance.
Watching my son’s illness was preparation for confronting his death. Over the eight years of his disease, I’d received numerous calls from the police, heard shocking medical news (including after a suicide attempt), came to terms with his homelessness during a cold, snowy winter. I learned how to survive the ups and downs, the uncertainty, my inability to fix his problems. I developed an inner resilience, an ability to tolerate and even embrace the seemingly impossible. I didn’t know then that those skills would serve me now; it was a training ground for endurance, for which I am grateful.