Every so often I go back to the obituary posted on Legacy.com and re-read it...just to remind myself of the great life Andrew had, the great light he shined. Then I read the comments people left in the guest book, and feel warmed. He mattered to more people than just me, Bill, Jayne and Becca...he mattered to his cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, parents of friends, teachers, coaches, team mates, neighbors...so many people.
I made sure to share all the cards with Bill and the girls, and also with Lee and T as they came in. Some went to my house, some to Bill's. Some people sent each of us a card. But we shared them all, and now I keep them in a big box decorated with leaves and flowers. I really cherish the heartfelt sympathies people sent and memories they shared with us of Andrew.
You know some people never read their sympathy cards?
Death can be so tragic, come so suddenly, and leave people so stunned that they can't bear to face it and deal with it in the aftermath...they just avoid feeling for such a long time. I wanted to make sure we didn't do that. I wanted to grieve, and share, and remember my son. Hard as it was, I prompted the family to do so with me. But I had to learn another important lesson: don't push. Everyone deals with death differently, and whose to say what way is correct? My fiance, Lee, shared with me how no one would let him alone after his mother passed away when he was 13 or 14. They wanted to keep an eye on him, I guess. But he felt stifled and unable to express his grief...so it took him many years to really let go of the anger and let out all those suppressed feelings of grief.
Okay, so I got that message, and I am so glad he shared it with me. I was pushing Bill and the girls to share Andrew by having a public memorial, and they were really scared to do that. Mostly, I think, because "people" would see them grieve. They might see people they hadn't seen in a long while and it might be awkward. I felt it might be wonderful. When the day was over, I think they thought so too.
Luckily, we spent a lot of time together in between Andrew's death and the services, a lot of time alone as a family of four, time with our new extended family, time with relatives and friends and time together, just me and Bill. I thank God that our lives have progressed to this point where we are able to be in each other's presence without anger and resentment...it wasn't always that way. I am thankful that I have a new mate who understands my need to be connected to the father of my children and to family and friends. He never puts barriers in my way. He isn't jealous or insecure about any of it. Do you know what a gift that is?