I would love to be able to stay in bed all day. I really would. But my body won’t allow that. It has, however, been moving as if I’m in a time warp or something. I meant to exercise today. I woke up about 9:15, got my exercise clothes and tennis shoes on. I did a couple of things and walked out the door. I got my coffee and started heading toward the lake, trying to decide whether to walk or bike, because I had so little energy.
But then I glanced at the clock and it was somehow 10:36 and Austin and I were meeting Ahmed at noon for lunch. Walking or biking would take too much time.
So I went home instead and took Socky for a walk. Well, he was pretty lazy today, so I mostly stood with him.
Time and space are different now, as I hurtle through the universe while I feel like I’m in an unending eternity that just started yesterday.
So, often I wander in now familiar places. A couple of days ago I ended up by the Lake Street Bridge again. I haven’t exactly seen yet where Chris was found. Couldn’t quite bring myself to ask Rick, the Water Patrol Supervisor to show me. But I texted him from there and he’ll be in touch with me this week. And I’m terrified of more heartbreak. But it’s one more step I have to take.
And so I cried and walked on the path high above the river. I looked at a map of the area, just to make sure my bearings were still reliable, and I was almost to where I thought I’d turn around and I saw some steps heading down and toward the river.
So I followed them down and back toward where I began. Why not?
And I thought of Chris’s “Old Growth Forest” poetry collection. And I thought of Chris. And I found just a little bit of peace in the forest by the river.
By the way, there’s an awful lot of trash along the river, but I’ll write more about that later.
And then I found my way back by a different, unknown route. The metaphor isn’t perfect, is it, because I’ll never find my way back. It’s just not possible.
And then today I finally got the courage to ask for the autopsy report and to contact the investigators so that even though I’ll never have all the answers, and even though the outcome won’t change, well, I’ll know as much as I can. And I’ve started to look for a grief counselor. My friends are encouraging me to do so. My friend Anne tells me the coroner’s report will be very hard to read. I already know that, though I imagine it will still be a shock seeing the words that I’ve been imagining in writing.
And somehow, I’m still standing even though I don’t know how. And please don’t take this for strength. We all handle this tremendous grief differently. I’ve been thinking about this today.
I shared this post earlier on Facebook:
Chris’s friends from his mindfulness group (or one of them…I’m not sure how many he participated in) sent me this poem he wrote around Christmas last year. Thought I would share it with you as you go about your day and your week:
This life is a gift here for you to open,
so rip off the wrapping paper, and see what’s inside.
This life is a ride to be enjoyed in rapture,
so capture what you can with light fingered hands.
This life is a present, floating by to meet your eye,
so keep your heart open to a world waiting to happen.
~Chris Stanley, 2016
May you rest in peace my beloved son who saw how beautiful life can be, even if it isn’t always so. ❤ always, Mom
People sometimes say you should live your life as if it were your last. I don’t think that’s quite it and I think Chris, Austin and I all learned this with Tom’s stroke: I think we should live our lives like today is a good day to live.
That will look different for each of us each day. Some days it’s way harder than others. And for those days, look for someone to reach out to or reach out to someone. And maybe all you can manage is… well, I don’t know what that looks like for you. For me it’s different every single day and sometimes every moment. Some days I don’t quite get there.
So I wander in my grief. I wander with my heart so heavy in my chest…yes…I understand that phrase now…and I trust God will lead me and that Jesus walks with me and that my family and my friends and all who loved Chris or who have been touched by his life walk with me, some with grief that you also struggle with.
One last note… we worshiped with Tapestry last night. I really, really spent want to go. But I did. And it was the place to be, praising God and being together with my beloved community. We had visitors last night, people invited by some newer people. And the wife had lost her daughter a couple of years ago. They hadn’t known about Chris, but when they told me about their loss, I shared with them mine. And they understood my tears and we grieved and prayed together.
I hope you find beloved community. And if you don’t, please come and join ours. We will love you for who you are wherever you are in your wandering or if you’ve found your way. You are loved. You have nothing to fear. You are not alone.