Over the last 10 days people have been following or walking with me as we searched for my beloved son Christopher. I would guess the majority of the people reading this now will have seen the video I posted on Facebook yesterday soon after I was notified that the Water Patrol was pretty certain they had found my baby down by the Lake Street Bridge.
I’m a person who likes to be in control. I’ve either been in control, pretended I am, or been frustrated because I’m not much of my life. It’s really in just the last few years with events in my own life that I have come closer to letting go and letting God.
And then Chris disappeared into the Mississippi. And any semblance of control I ever thought I had was gone. Along with Chris. And it seems like my life became a jumble. Mixed up. I have trouble remembering what day it is. I’m often surprised at what time it is. I only knew for 10 days I had to keep waiting for someone to find Chris. And now that they’ve found Chris, I have to plan a funeral and…and…I’m in a jumble.
I’m a vision person. I’ve always got way too many plans and ideas and I’m always working toward something. Mostly lately in, as we say in Tapestry, not just building bridges between people who are different from each other, but crossing them.
And now. Well, now I have trouble seeing how I’m going to make myself sleep tonight. And I wonder what I will do tomorrow after the appointment with the mortuary where I am blessed to have a friend who is the funeral director. Someone asked me what I will be doing tomorrow night. Huh. Jumbled.
I have always told my kids they would be my babies, even when they were 50. And Chris won’t see 50. And Austin has a lot of years to walk in this life without his big brother and I have a lot of years to walk without my older son. And sometimes I somehow hold it together and sometimes the tears and the wails cannot be stopped. People ask me, though in much more diplomatic ways, how it feels to have jumbled up life now. They ask if I need anything. And I probably do, but I honestly have no idea what that might be, except to have Chris back. And that won’t happen.
And so in this jumble, kids who are not religious at all are getting tattoos on themselves that have Chris’s favorite message from the Bible. There’s this story about Jesus calming the storm that you can read here if you want. Chris told this story to his dad soon after he had his stroke. He told him, “Dad! I learned this great thing on our trip to New Jersey to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery. Lots of people experience things in their lives and might feel alone. But here’s the thing. You are never alone! Jesus is always with you. You don’t need to be afraid because even if you feel scared and alone, you aren’t Jesus is with you.”
Chris’s friends are supporting Austin these days. They took him to get a tattoo today. It’s in the picture above and it’s right over his heart. I feel like my heart and my words and my life are in a jumble. Oddly as I was writing this feeling so much turmoil, I started thinking about Chris preaching these words to his dad and the jumble got just one little, teeny weeny bit untangled.
For those of you with jumbled hearts, please know you are not alone. I am there in the jumble with you. Others whose children have died have told me life goes on. I know it does, but I’m pretty sure it will be jumbled for awhile.