All this week we folded cranes. We are going to the Peace Pagoda again, as we did last year, and bring Jun-san the cranes. She had said they always needed cranes, and if she was not hard at work maintaining the grounds, she was folding cranes or stringing up the cranes that others have brought to her. We imagined that she would be delighted. And though we felt some sadness in missing Ferdinand, it comforted us to think that the cranes may bring comfort or a smile to someone when they find a new home.
Sometimes I just want it to all stop. I do not want to do it anymore. Do not want to be a bereaved mother, thinking of how to honor life and my son. I want to drop out, quit, run away. But this grief is like a shadow, it is always with you; you cannot shake it off, cut it off or run away from it. It is just always with you. Sometimes just silent and barely discernible. Sometimes it is like an annoying mosquito. And sometimes it’s an invisible oppressive force that threatens to swallow you up. But it is there, and mostly, by now, I have grown used to it. Comfortable. Might as well get cozy, for it will be with me till I die. And I do need it. I need to feel that grief for it is the only way I can connect to Ferdinand. It is perhaps more than just grief, but also a longing.
The girls want to arrange all the cranes into some form or shape. So I may take another photo later today, after we are done folding for the last time.
This morning I wrote the following:
Nine things I learned since July 29, 2007
- People are amazing. I am still bowed over by the kindness of people around me. People who just stepped up without fuss or words and just held the space for us. Walk along in respectful silence, sat with us and shared in our grief. I will never forget our neighbors at our cabin, who took the girls into their home soon after the dreadful reality broke on us, and just took such good care of them during all the time when we had to be at the hospital. And all those cranes, and flowers, words, food, and hugs. I still feel overwhelmed with gratitude.
- It is hard to not have a reason. It is hard to not think, “I must have done something really awful.” But along my journey I have met many fellow bereaved who are just the most amazing people. Bright, beautiful spirits with big, generous hearts. Yes, awful things happen to good people. No reason required.
- Pain is a part of life. I think, pain is a part of being alive, and living, of loving and being loved. It wouldn’t hurt so much if you hadn’t cared or loved. Sometimes it seems to be the only way I can connect to Ferdinand, and I lean deeply into the cut.
- Grief is sneaky. Some days feel so light, as if a storm never ever descended. And then the heavy hands of grief come and grab you, from behind, right on the throat and all memories flood back like a tsunami and you sink under. Often, it’s best to just surrender.
- One can never explain how you miss someone whom you never knew. We never saw his eyes or hear him speak, but we miss him sorely.
- Grief is not just about death. We all experience grief in one way or another. Different forms, and shapes and sizes. We lose something, tangible or not, and we grieve. It is a process of growing and understanding. Accepting and letting go.
- It is extremely difficult to find the right words. I still am at a loss.
- Love is so short, forgetting is so long. (Pablo Neruda) One of my favorite poetry lines, ever.
- Oh yes, life does goes on. Even when you felt it never can. I was incredulous that the earth still spun on its axis; the sun dared to rose and cars still ran on the road. But the truth is there is death every second, somewhere. And we have to keep moving. But we also have to take the moment to bow to it. To appreciate that there is death, so we may live more deeply.
I really wish he is here.
Miss you so much, Ferdinand. Loving and missing, always.