It is time to put the box away.
It’s been sitting on my nightstand, guarding every little thing related to Michael’s short life: coroner’s reports, gifts, sympathy cards, the guestbook from the memorial service… the lyric sheet to the song I wrote for him. I have resisted doing anything with it because it’s the only thing I have left of him. The thought of packing it away made me feel adrift again, like I did in the hospital, after. So it’s sat on my nightstand, reminding me that I had a son every time I opened my eyes in the morning, and before I go to sleep at night.
It is time.
So many people fear grief, they fear the dark place called Depression, the natural sadness and despair that comes from saying goodbye to those you love, and having to live every day without them. It’s nearly unbearable at times as you encounter moments the Absent Ones should have seen or experienced. People don’t want to look at it, don’t want to deal with it.
At the start of this unexpected journey, I was like that, too. When people said “you will never stop grieving,” I cringed. I didn’t want to live my life in despair! I didn’t want to never be happy again! Ick! It was at this point, when I had played the “what-if” game one too many times and the choking despair enveloped me that I nearly gave up for misunderstanding. Thank God I didn’t. As I move on through, I’m beginning to understand the nuance: Grief is not always Depression, sadness, and despair, that’s just the first, incredibly intense phase — Grief is also how we remember, how we honor, how we love those gone. How we live our lives in ways that keep their memory.
So it is time to put the box away, because the box is remembrances of that first phase of grief.
Somewhere along the way I came across links for memorial jewelry, and I liked the idea of something I could wear to remember my son by that wasn’t a box of mementos from those immediate dark days after his loss. I wanted it to be something I would create myself, something simple. After a couple days of research, I found a design that really spoke to me. I ordered my supplies and YouTubed some videos to help me learn how to do it. It took some practice, but I think I finally got it the way I wanted it:
I wear it close to my heart. His memory — a positive one of my own making, not one of coroner’s reports and sympathy cards — will be with me in everything I do, everywhere I go, and that’s how it should be.