Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Bubble Sighting...

I mentioned something about seeing a bubble in a previous post, but I don't think I ever related that story here in detail.

On my birthday last year, I had plans to meet my girls for lunch. I got up and took a walk down to the Elfin Forest near the Estuary. It was a crisp, clear morning in November. I went along the boardwalk, meandering through the forest path. I was up on the highest part of the walkway when I decided to rest on a bench. I remember looking out across the Estuary toward Morro Bay's marina.

As I was looking out over the water, I suddenly saw a large, shiny bubble moving through one of the canal-type areas in the bay. It was translucent, like a soap bubble, but it appeared to be 10 or more feet in diameter. It was moving toward me a little bit, away from the Marina and towards the open water. I watched, transfixed. For some reason I felt it had something to do with Andrew. He had been in my thoughts all morning.

I wondered if it was some sort of reflection and glanced up at the sky, looking for an airplane, but nothing! I cast my gaze around the bay to see if there were any boats that might be causing a reflection. I didn't see anything that would explain the shiny bubble.

Suddenly the bubble changed shape, shifting into a sort of ribbon-like form. It began "dancing" -- moving like a rythemic dancer twirling ribbons. The lighting changed as the ribbon dipped and soared on top of the water. It reminded me of dolphins frolicking in the surf. Abruptly, the ribbon turned steel gray, then back to shiny silver, kind of like a flock of birds flying in the sky.

It came to me that Andrew was sending me a message: Happy Birthday, Mom! Have a fun day!

After a few minutes, it faded away and was gone. Wistfully, I looked around for it. Why hadn't I tried to take a picture of it with my camera phone, I wondered? After all, that morning I had been taking lots of pictures as I walked through the Elfin Forest for my little photo essays I post on Facebook. But while I was watching the bubble, it hadn't occured to me to record it.

I just accepted that it was Andrew, showing off a bit and wishing me well. That would be something good and positive to share with the girls today. Thanks, Andrew!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Knowing how to grieve...

Some people say I am doing amazingly well, considering how I lost my son to suicide. They think I am handling it okay...

It's a nice compliment, really, but not a great prize, I'm thinking. It's the consolation prize, if anything. But I would rather do it well, the grieving, than do it badly. I have seen plenty of badly done grieving in my time...

I have also seen grieving done well. My parents were my main example. Through their involvement in their church community, they served other in times of grief on a regular basis. They attended funerals regularly, and in their latter years, it seemed like they were attending a funeral at least once a week. Mom always made a potluck dish for the luncheon after the funeral, participated in a prayer chain, and wrote a comforting note in a condolence card for the family. She anguished over each death and truly felt the sorrow of her passing acquaintances. Dad visited widows of his Knights of Columbus men and helped them sift through their grief by taking care of practical matters, like how to collect their insurance. He organized Rosaries and participated in services. He gave them crosses, candles and holy water, icons to facilitate their devotions to their dear departed. They did this sort of thing week-in and week-out ever since I can remember. They visited gravesites. One thing I could take solace in when my parents were buried is that they were surrounded by their friends of more than 40 years from living in the same community.

So I had a bit of an example to follow in grieving. I understood the purpose of a public service, the benefits of private mourning, and felt the freedom to be able to go through it however it benefited me and my family, without worrying so much about protocol. The main thing I wanted to accomplish in the short term was honoring my son, sharing his life with those whom he had formed connections with throughout his life, and facing people head on, accepting their condolences. My ex-husband's method would be to avoid all of it and my daughters would have like to follow suit, but I knew that wasn't the most beneficial way to handle it. I worked out a plan and they agreed to it, then thanked me later. When all the services were done and over with, they had to agree it hadn't been horrible. There had been some nice moments..touching sentiments shared by people who knew and loved our boy.

A year later, I am still grieving, but I do it by remembering my son and enjoying his gifts. I talk about him often. I hope people aren't put off by that, but most seemed to be put at ease about it. I don't want his memory to be awkward and stifled. He was a wonderful person and is worth mentioning from time to time.

Following suit, Bill and the girls are doing things to keep his memory going, also. They are putting in a vegetable garden again this year. Last year Andrew had planted one and they kept it alive through the summer months. We all shared in its bounty and thought of Andrew with all those meals. I could never get much gardening done while the kids were growing up, involved in sports and always on the go. It's real nice to see everyone taking an interest in it now, due to Andrew's interest.

Anyway, I thank my parents for their example and strength in facing death. they showed me the way, and I hope I am showing my family the way in turn...