As I begin writing this journal entry a whispered prayer escapes my spirit for the courage and wisdom to suffer rightly, and I close my eyes and I am there on that Saint Patrick’s evening bathed in dusk. 19 green birthday balloons tied to my chain link fence, had been there all day through the morning sun and the afternoon tears and the evening when the day was almost put to bed, they were there with one purpose, to be let go, but oh how I wished I didn’t have to.
Letting go becomes very hard in the dog days of suffering, holding on becomes your new purpose in life and you embrace it with vigor. You hold on to memories cataloging them in the files of your mind, making sure you have the correct dates and times to them. You start asking questions of loved ones like, “when was that and where were we and do you remember that time we…?” What you are really asking is, “were we happy, did it matter and did those memories give him comfort on his dark night of death?” You go through every object of his life like a detective looking for clues or evidence, I remember finding Lucky Strike cigarette butts in his room with about a hundred Pixie Stix wrappers and his teddy bear Sizzle shoved under his bed. I laughed to myself thinking he was just a little boy trying his hand at the man stuff . You try like mad to answer the mysteries of his short life, mysteries that you were not meant to know and things you don’t have the capacity to understand and my how you weep, you weep and beg and pray. Each wave of memory, suffering and sadness takes its shot, breaks your heart and sends steaming hot tears rolling down the back of your throat. You feel like a blow up clown punching bag, you get punched you fall down you rise up. You start to see the pattern, letting go isn’t the destination it’s just the road trip.
Traveling through the stages of grief one thought often presented itself to me, no matter how dark the road was no matter the black cavern darkness I was motoring through, joy was always on the horizon. Joy may not have been within my grasp and it still sometimes escapes my grasp but it was ever-present ,even looming at times. It is as if even in the darkest despair of mourning my soul knew this heart wrenching pain wasn’t the destination it wasn’t my sole purpose, it was but a road trip away from joy. And like every good trip does it made me long for home. If JOY was a destination its name would be home and we will spend our entire lives trying to get back there. It would be the place we temporarily leave and yet always long to return. It will be the place we kick off our shoes, hang up our hat, put up our feet and return to our joy.
I let those balloons go that dusky evening, my husband and I. We grieved and we watched them travel to the heavens, we watched them travel upwards to the home of our joy and w