I have discovered another ply to this heavy blanket of grief. It is the loss of me. I am not who I was. The “before” me is no more. The moment my son’s heart stopped, mine began to beat in a different rhythm. Realization of the breadth of our separation exploded like a bomb and left my heart shattered. The security of the past is now only an illusion, and the sanguine suppositions of life now lay in piles on the ground with the shards of my fractured heart. What am I to do with the “after” me?
In a single instant that was completely out of my control, I not only lost my son, but also in some sense, myself. My life was thrown into a kaleidoscope of change. While struggling to breathe under the unwelcome layers of my grief blanket, my strained spirit also wrestles with piecing together the broken bits of me. The “before” me was violently shaken and now the pieces of me are in flux. I stand in a new relation to the parts of the old me and I am left to shape the “after” me into something useful, even something beautiful.
This is not easy. I miss much of the “before” me who approached life with surety and confidence. The me who seemed so likeable and happy. The qualities of the “after” me must be put together with gentleness and resolve, lest they become another burden for me and others to bear. My two opposing natures will never cease to struggle. Daily the pieces of the “after” me settle into a new pattern. Some days I live in the uncomfortable and ugly chaos of shifting pieces in search of a new and unique design. Other days I simply don’t like the depiction and I find that I must disrupt the pattern and slowly turn the kaleidoscope to find a fresh combination.
I am not alone in creating this new perspective. Thank goodness, because some days I don’t have the strength to raise the lens. I place my kaleidoscope in the only hands capable of making something beautiful of my brokenness. In the hands of my Master Creator, the slightest shift transforms my vulnerability into authenticity, my self-pity into empathy, my solitude into more intentional relationships, my quietness into contemplative prayer, my insecurity into a better perspective, my weakness into strength and my doubt into hope. The “before” me still exists in bits that can be shifted together with the fractal pieces of the “after” me when placed in the hands of The Designer. He can adjust the angle of the lens to allow my before and after to combine into something beautiful that He will use if only I will let Him.