“There is redemption and freedom that occurs when darkness is forced into the light, sometimes disguised as awkwardly spoken words. Somebody is waiting on you to tell your story. To share how you’re being rescued. To share how scary it is but how beautiful it is. So take a step. Confess the beautiful and broke. It happens one word at a time.”—Anne Jackson, Permission to Speak Freely (via stephanieberbec)
I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face,
Yet I turn, I turn,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
I just wanted to update you all on our proposed book "A Brave Lament". It is our story of grief through the first 4 months of the grieving process over our son Brave’s tragic death. We are currently in the contract talks with Legacy Management company which has selected to represent our book.
This is good news as we are one step closer to bringing Brave’s story as a gift to the world. There is also some comfort knowing that this is a part of Brave’s stunning legacy as well.
Guest Post from one of Brave’s biggest fans, thank you Noelle for continuing to love my son so fiercely. This gift brought tears to my cheeks and balm on my heart.
June 17, 2012
As I finished reading to Brave today, I felt him ask for another story. “Noelle, can you read me a story about my dad?”
Insecurity rushed through my veins, am I imagining his request? I am too small, too removed, to be privy to such an honor of his words.
But, just in case I wasn’t imagining, I begin to tell a story aloud.
I tell Brave about you and a boy named Alex, dropping carrots out of the classroom window, when you were supposed to be eating them.
I tell Brave about the places we went with the Club kids. The kangaroo place, the pool, the farm with the big hay pit. How you backflipped into the hay, upping your cool points with the kids by at least 100.
I tell him how everything you did was over the top, larger than life. From your beard, to how hard you’d throw the ball at the kids in Happy Ball. I tell him how all the kids, but especially the boys, loved your rowdiness, your soccer skills, your presence.
How you gave them permission to think outside the box, to color outside the lines, to break rules for the sake of memory making.
I wrap up my story-telling and promise to tell Brave more, as the memories come back to me. And without hesitation, I felt him say,
Each time I received a "Happy Father’s Day" message or someone pronounced it over me, I cringed, not knowing what to say or how to be, to live truthfully in the moment. There were a few awkward interactions, me wiggling for something to do or say, most of the time I could muster the courage to say, “it is not a happy day”.
To receive their kind intent was for me somehow was not to be authentic. Yesterday was anything but “happy”, it was a tragic day, an exhausting day. To dance with the truth of the heartache of my life and the joy of my dear friends around me and the celebration of my fellow father’s.
My morning began lying next to my beautiful son’s grave.
We as conscious people of light must create a fuller imagination around the use of our language, an imagination that fits with the broken ones truth.
Yesterday each person knew it was not a happy day, yet again and again language failed us all. Creativity with our words and our truth telling is an arduous task, but must done to truly accompany the fragile heart.
To bless me as a father was their purpose, yet we all knew it was anything but a “happy” day, maybe a greeting of “A Sad Father’s Day to you” would have done my heart well, maybe my heart would have been able to hear or receive their kindness more fully.
Do not get me wrong, I would still much rather people be fools with their lack of imagination around language than cowards with their silence.
Thank you for those who risk being fools on my behalf, may we continue to push into the holy ground of accompaniment of the wounded.
May all the Sad Father’s feel a pursuit of their broken hearts this day.
Fathers day has always been a great source of pain.
Growing up without a father in my home, made the day an awkward day to remember. Yet now I must learn to live what it is like to be a father without my child in my home. This day will continue to hurt for a lifetime.
Father’s day has also been a day of intense longing.
Longing to be held by my father, to be affirmed by him and to no longer be alone. This longing has now shifted but very much the same essence, only now I long to do the holding, I desire to do the affirming and I wish to accompany my son through his journey of what it means to be human.
Father’s day will remain a day always just out of reach.
Something did not feel right as we took apart his room. Christy was having a couple college friends come in town for the week and we need to prepare Brave’s room back into a guest room.
I do not know these friends very well as they we in Christy’s life before me, but I felt protective over his scared space. I did not want people to even have the opportunity to dishonor this holy place. I quickly realized that we needed to give them our room and we sleep in Brave’s room.
Last night was our first night sleeping there. It was surreal. It was the closet I have felt to him in slumber since my last dream of him.
It felt peaceful.
This morning Christy and I spoke of how stunning it would have been to sleep there on our futon with him in his crib, resting with him, dreaming with him, protecting him.
Now as roles have switched, I can’t help but think if now he watches over us.
Protecting, resting and dreaming over us as we relearn how now to live.
“…grief heals us, even though everyone wishes you would hurry it up and be done already. Our tears baptize us, wash us, hydrate the ground at our feet, where we might now be able to let some amazing new plants grow.”—anne lamott