A Bereaved Mother's blog
It’s been close to a year since I’ve written a post. I haven’t felt the deep need to write down my feelings, partly because I think I was numb from the Prosac (which I am off of), and partly because I reached a place where I was in the “What can you do?”, you have to keep moving forward. You move forward because you don’t have a choice, and once you realize this…this acceptance of the hand you’ve been dealt…you try to make the best of it, because that’s what he would have wanted.
Richard made the best of every uncomfortable, unfortunate, unexpected situation. Whether it was stuck in traffic, or a broken arm. He always looked on the bright side. I can’t do anything but honor his attitude toward life, so I must look at the bright side. I got to know and love him for 19 years. He changed who I am. He made me a better person. This is my bright side, I loved him, and those not fortunate enough to know Richard must hear about him in the future. This is my mission. If they can look at me and think “How can she do it?”, I can tell everyone “If you knew him, I’m just mirroring who he was, he made the best of everything”. Now that I’ve accepted this new outlook, I’ve changed my goals going forward.
So, if based on the actuarial tables (and family history), I probably have 20 years or less left with my partner and husband. We’ve been married for 25 years, some years took forever, but the last 10 have gone by quickly and I know the next 20 will go by faster. What are we going to do with the time we have remaining?
Everything we’ve always wanted to do, we aren’t waiting for retirement to travel, golf, party with our friends…we are doing that right now.
Jobs? Well, we are fortunate that I can work (from home) and support us, and still work from anywhere in the world. And if you think your life will end earlier than expected, what exactly are you saving all the money for??
Once we (yes my husband shares my views) came to this conclusion, its almost like opportunities presented themselves. We’ve been traveling almost full time since our youngest left for college, with no end it site in the next 6 months. We have our eyes open for opportunities to experience life, through friends, family and work.
When Richard first died, I was convinced I had to finish his mission in life, which was to change the world. He was a big personality and he fully expected to make an indelible change on our society. I considered mission work, full-time fund raising, local volunteering – at the time I was too exhausted to figure out what I would do in his name. Then I realized, I’m setting the example for everyone who knew him – I’m shaping my life the way he would have wanted me too, making the absolute best of the situation. I don’t mean surviving, he never just “made it through” a bad situation – he took misfortune as a personal challenge to change perceptions to something positive – In a BIG way.
I still miss him every minute, and I have tears running down my face as I write this – but “What can you do?” take a deep breath and keep going, because if I ,his mother can’t keep going, how can I expect his father, brothers, family and friends to.
I miss you Richard.
I think about him every day, every couple of minutes, every breadth.
It feels like he is part of me now, more than his brothers. I can’t explain that I feel like he is with me all the time. I hear him say “Oh my goodness” about the new puppies. I imagine him watching over me when I travel, helping me to not forget anything, carrying my stuff, like he would if he were with me. I hear his voice in my head saying things he used to say. I laugh to myself sometimes when I’m in a situation I know he would think is funny.
I think of Michael and Robert, but they seem separate somehow, their own people. Not integrated into my soul like Richard.
Richard is with me. Is it because his soul is watching over me all the time? Is he closer to my soul because he is in heaven, and we are one again? I would really like to understand these questions, so it can give me some solace while I live the rest of my life.
I had a vision of the moment of my death, I’m very old laying flat, and he is holding my head looking over me with a big smile on his face, the same age he was this past summer. And I feel his love and I’m so happy to be with him again. And he is happy to be able to finally explain why he died at 19, and why I had to live a life without him.
I want someone to explain why our lives have turned out this way, why people who have so much promise die young. Why people who create havoc in the world live long unproductive lives. I just want someone to make sense out of this for me.
Today I thought of a fun day I had with Richard, and his younger brother Robert. I miss Richard every day, today I was able to smile remembering this time we spent together. He always made the time together fun, no matter what or where it was.
Last January 7th 2011, Robert was invited to the Texas A&M High School Indoor Track meet. This if for Texas High School students who are part of a private track team, its considered the “winter” season. Robert is a pole vaulter, and he was making his debut as a sophomore at Texas A&M.
Richard was home from UT for winter break, he was and is Robert’s #1 Fan. He always called himself Robert’s agent, cheering him on in everthing from sports, art and school.
Richard drove from our home to College Station, TX in my car, while I sat in the back on my air card and worked on the way down. We left mid morning and arrived in College Station before lunch. None of us had ever been to Aggieland. As we drove onto campus Richard said his skin began to crawl, “I’m behind enemy lines, don’t tell anyone I’m from UT”. He literally was shivering looking at the size of the campus, he felt he was behind the enemy lines.
We went to Subway for lunch, we passed a couple of guys who look like they just rolled out of bed or went to an all night party. Richard made some comment like,”Aggie’s don’t know how hang”. He viewed everything there as second rate, second class and below anything from Austin. In one semester he had been entrenched in the UT culture, which included a deep rivalry with Texas A&M.
We arrived at the Indoor Track arena, which is incredible. I have never seen a facility so impressive in my life, of course Texas A&M has the NCAA #1 Men’s and Women’s track teams, so I can see why they would need this type of indoor facility. It is a full indoor track arena!
We met Robert’s coach in the parking lot, and helped him bring the poles into the warm-up arena. The warm- up arena was a full indoor arena!
We left Robert and walked back to the front of the arena to get our tickets. There were long lines for tickets – a VERY long line. Keep in mind this is a Friday afternoon, during a school day, and its a High School meet. So, we got in line, and we waited and waited and waited, for probably 45 minutes.
You need to know, in my professional life, I’m an organizational change manager. I fix process, get involved in “improvement” projects all the time. So whenever our family gets stuck in a long line, I’m always looking at the issues with the process and why the line is long.
Richard, knowing this long line is driving me crazy, starts with comments like ” Some process is wrong here Mom”, or “This is an Aggie line, get used to it”, ” These are Aggie parents selling tickets, they move slower than UT parents”. All of these Aggie comments are under his breadth of course, because he is afraid to caught behind enemy lines. When we got to the front of line there was a sweet older women who gave us a big spiel on everywhere we could sit, we could choose our seats (like going to a theater), and what was the best for the event we were watching. It took so long because she was making sure everyone was happy with their seats!
Of course Richard made friends with the family behind us, who did not have a college student, yet, but by the time we bought tickets their son was going to UT.
We drove home three hours home that evening, I sat in the back again. I remember how dark it was and looking up at the stars, I never imagined I would now be looking up and wondering what Richard is doing right now.
We stopped in West, Texas for dinner (Pizza). It was a great day.
I loved that day, I miss you honey, more than you can imagine…..