Untold Stories #3

I don’t know where to start.  Huh.  Start from where you are, Linda.

I’m sitting on my kitchen deck in Redding, California.  The wind is soft and warm.  Lovely, really.  If I wasn’t delving into the past, this would simply be a beautiful night looking at the stars in the early days of Autumn.

Yet, I just spent over an hour reviewing this site – it has been a long time.   The air is thick with thoughts of Owen – the past, the present, and the future.  And, I am reminded that everything that went before, is still present.  My mind cannot relinquish memories just because I sit on a new deck with a new view.  Owen is still here with me – always in my heart and in my mind – just as I promised him.

I didn’t know we would live here when I last wrote on this site over a year ago.   At that time, we were still living in Sonoma County, where Owen died and where our family survived.

It was a fluke that we ended up here – Dave, Michael (Nat’s and Owen’s father), and me.  For many parents of child loss, moving to a new location is a way to “pull a geographic” – a way to *hope* to avoid the pain of the familiar surroundings that constantly remind us of the reflections of our dead kids.

Moving to a new town does not wipe out our memories, but that seems to be a commonly perceived remedy that simply does not pan out.  When we bought this property, I don’t think we contemplated an easier way of dealing with the aftermath of Owen’s life.  From all of our discussions pre-move, this was a good financial decision, the possibility of a new business venture, and one that could serve us into retirement.  Now…I’m wondering if it was an unspoken way to diminish the constant tape loop of Owen’s life and death that plagues our family.  We don’t speak of it often.  That’s not a surprise to me.

So much has happened.  And, not so much.  While a change in geography did not eliminate our memories, I think we ineffectively hoped we could start anew.  The former familiar streets, the locations of schools our kids attended, the jobs our kids held, the houses from which we picked up our kids after overnight parties, were not wiped out when we moved to a new location. All those memories live in our minds.  The sounds.  The voices.  The music.  Always, the music.

Untold story:  Owen had problems with anxiety.  He did not tell us.  We saw it in his behavior for years, but when we engaged him in the discussion, he downplayed it, said it wasn’t something he wanted to address – he was “okay”.

After Owen died, I read his journals, the ones he wouldn’t let me read when he was alive.  In those journals, I read things that relegated me to…I don’t even know how to describe it – “hell” might be a good descriptor.  If I take his journal words at face-value, he experienced a level of psychological torture that I couldn’t quite accept at the time of his death nor in the years prior, nor did I know the depth – and he said he didn’t want to commit to “a label”.  Now, and during these past 9 years – I see something quite different.

Owen’s sensitivity to this life was something that does not easily function in our society – then or now.  After these many years, I believe he was what is now called a “highly sensitive individual”.  This make sense now.  How did I not see it?  It wasn’t a “thing” then.  As a mother, I blame myself for not seeing it for what it was.  I knew, but I did not know.  Would that it were.

Owen did not intend for any of us to be fooled by his behavior.  He just wanted to live his life the way he chose.  He did it well.

And, I hope I won’t get fooled again.

Song for the night: https://youtu.be/SHhrZgojY1Q





~ by Linda on September 25, 2016.

3 Responses to “Untold Stories #3”

  1. Owen will always be there when you need him. We also just found our best to carry on for our lost loved ones and those still with us. God bless you and your family Linda. Warm regards.

  2. I have read your posts over the last 9 years and commented once I think previously. As a mum it still breaks me heart to hear how you feel, yet I can see you are now not just surviving but like a very small seed that has taken root now thriving in this place we call a world. All that you say brings comfort to other mums in similar or unfolding situations. We cannot predict our futures nor that of our children but can only keep them as safe as we can and hope that they may reach out in times of need for help. What goes on to the outside world with every one of us is far from the way we feel within and yet as an individual and a mother I want you to know that just by you keeping on writing your posts it acts as a tool of reflection and very genuinely helps others to reflect on their personal circumstances. Out of all of this trashed always will keep flowing good and because of this not only your memory of Owen will most certainly be kept alive but also your spirit through your undying love for him. Thank you sincerely once more. X

  3. Hi Linda,
    You don’t know me, but I worked with Owen at the movie theater. I still remember the heaviness I felt when he didn’t show up for his next shift. A lot of our workday was spent sitting around waiting, so we always had plenty of time to talk. Though I usually took shifts at the Roxy main theater down the way, hanging with Owen was always my favorite part of the 3rd Street shifts. I still think of him..how intriguing and unique his mind was. He felt emotions so deeply and had one of the kindest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. Even now. He sent me a text and photo right before everything happened which I saved all the way up until flip phones went obsolete. It bugs me that I can’t remember what it said. I’m all the way down in LA now, but he still crosses my mind and my heart always goes out to you and everyone who was lucky enough to feel Owen’s love. I deeply admire your continuing vibrance and thank you for bringing such a wonderful person into this world…even if his light left too quickly, it was a special gift to know him. ❤

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