Studio 7

Our family is coming up on the 7th anniversary of Owen’s death.  Strange and awesome – that about sums it up in the briefest of all possible statements.  If you’ve been reading here for a while (or ever), you know that I seldom make brief statements.  So, I will continue with my thoughts tonight.

I remember a strange moment in the early days of grief, when I was startled by wondering what it would feel like seven years in the future.  I don’t recall what I imagined about who I might become or how my relationships might change.  I only remember knowing that I would still be sitting here processing my emotions, my relationships with family and friends, and the future that no longer held Owen as a living breathing part of it.  For some reason, I do recall thinking I would be okay, that I would find my way through it all.

Finding my way has not been easy.  Nor has it been anything that I could have predicted.  At times, I thought I would lose my mind in the quagmire that is child loss.  I thought I would be possessed by the unanswered questions about how Owen died (still unresolved).  Unexpected things that happened:

  • I did not lose my mind (permanently, that is)
  • My spiritual orientation is stronger now that I have let go of limiting beliefs built on doctrines that do not serve the greater good
  • My marriage is stronger for the unending love of my husband
  • My relationship with my surviving son has grown in ways I could not have predicted and my gratefulness is unsurpassed
  • My relationship with Lea is one of the most sustainable of all friendships (actually, I relied on this, so that might have been expected)
  • My relationship with my brother and his wife has evolved and brings me great joy
  • Research on subjects of dying, death, and grief grounded me
  • Incessant and disturbing thoughts of Owen’s death are less frequent, but still there
  • My body and health took significant hits during the early years of grief, and still
  • I left my career of 20 years (6 years after he died)
  • I returned to school and obtained my Masters degree, my massage license, and am working on my dissertation proposal for my PhD
  • I’ve met thousands of people through this blog and face-to-face who struggle daily with complicated grief
  • I’ve met people in my graduate programs that have enriched my life
  • I have come to accept the possibility that my family may never know what happened the night Owen died, and he might have wanted it that way
  • My memories of Owen are softer and still connected in ways I cannot describe to anyone who has not experienced a similar loss
  • I no longer blame myself for not figuring out the mystery of Owen’s death

Other significant things occurred, as is the way of living with intention.  In December of 2012, I started the local Death Cafe Sonoma and just recently turned it over to a new facilitator, Tess Lorraine, who is magnificent.  I finished my coach certification and now specialize in life transitions and complicated grief.  Dave and I bought a house and have made it our home.  I no longer feel a need to work in jobs that are not in alignment with my values, traditions, and ethics, just to bring in a paycheck.

Throughout these seven years, I have depended on Nature and her ceaseless cycles to show me the way.  Nature is a brilliant wallpaper to my life, and one that deepens my understanding of nonduality – the idea that I am not separate from anything else.  No small feat there, as it required that I embrace things I can’t explain, yet experience internally and externally, and from a perspective of “wholeness”.

I wish for you, everything that I have learned and all that I still have to experience.  Losing a child can stop your life in its tracks – no doubt there.  Or, it can allow you to find purpose and meaning in a future that still wants your contribution, relationship, and love.

“Studio 7” is an amalgam of my whole life context.  It is the name of my next venture with Lea and our prolific circle of friends.  Lea and I are in a “7 year” in our chronological lives and it happens to be the 7th year anniversary of Owen’s death in a couple of weeks.  This does not miss our attention.  All things happen in good times and bad.  This is one of the good times, and it’s no longer hard to say just that.

Thank you to everyone who has read this blog, posted comments here, and to everyone who is still searching for answers as to how to move forward to a healthy resolution of their grief.

Song for the night: Count on Me, Bruno Mars





~ by Linda on May 16, 2014.

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