Excerpts from my book.
Dear fellow sojourner,
Grief is personal. I understand that I do not have the market on grief due to the loss of a loved one. After futile attempts to cope with my sorry, I started putting my feelings on paper making my grief visible. It allowed me to bear my pain, my broken heart and my empty soul.
If you are on have been on a similar journey I invite you to walk with me. hopefully, was we mourn our loss and feel the pain, our brokeness will be mended. Together we may feel less alone.
One Journey Ends As Another Begins Levi reluctantly entered the world a bit battered with one eye swollen shut and a green branch break in his collar-bone. The collar-bone break and swollen eye quickly healed and his newborn determination was a precursors for the strong, yet gentle boy he would become. I was excited to be present the day my grandson was born and privileged to cut his umbilical cord. My daughter and her husband had not agreed on a name for their newborn son, so when I suggested the name Levi, they happily agreed it was a good fit. My husband and I had been empty nesters for several years and had settled into a more responsibility free way of life. As coined by John Lennon ‘Life happens while you are busy making other plans.’ Levi came to live with us when he was one year old. My role as grandmother transitioned to grandmother aka grandmother. Levi’s adoption was finalized when he was two. For the next fifteen years Levi was a vital part of our lives, I was a full-time parent again, a bit wiser and quite a bit older. The days, months and years were filled with love and excitement created by a child who saw the world in many unique ways.
Changed Forever It was a beautiful fall day in September. After Sunday lunch Levi was doing his homework at our kitchen table, I was struggling to resolve some computer issues and Dave was watching football in the family room, both of us only a few steps from the kitchen table. When Levi had finished his homework, he asked if he could try once again to remove some rust spots from his target shooting gun. As he worked busily on the gun I passed through the kitchen and reached out to ruffle his dark brown hair. ‘How ya’ doing buddy?’ I asked. Levi replied, ‘just fine.’ Those were the last words we ever said to each other. There were no hints that day that something would happen to change my life forever.
When I heard a loud noise, I wondered was that a gunshot?
I rushed to the kitchen to find Dave on his knees, bent over Levi’s body. Dave turned to me and said, ‘Joyce, call 911.’ I looked at the phone in my hand. “Dave, I can’t. I don’t know how.’ I was frozen in space and time, unable to move. Dave stood, took his phone from his pocket and dialed 911. In between sobs he pleaded with them to please come at once. Fleetingly, I thought everything would be okay when they arrived. But I soon realized that Levi’s spirit had left his body.
Levi was gone.
The Day the Music Stopped The last Sunday of Levi’s life he had a scheduled piano lesson at 5 pm. At 2:30 pm that day the music stopped. Levi was gone! It was lonely! The silence was deafening! It was unimaginable!
How Ya’ Doing’? How ya’ doin’? I was asked the other day. A common greeting in every ordinary way. I paused a bit shaken. Not knowing what to say. Thinking don’t they know my story? There was a death in my family and maybe they didn’t know. Although it happened just a short while ago. Or they did know and didn’t know what to say. For most people it’s over and life does on each in their own way. My heart is just shattered. Too many pieces to count. Somehow it keeps beating. You’re still alive it seems to shout.
Who Was Your Loved One? I invite you to jot down some favorite memories of your loved one. I hope this brings you some comfort.
This what I miss __________________________________________________________________________.
I would like to ____________________________________________________________________________.
If only ____________________________________________________________________________________.
I wanted to tell you _______________________________________________________________________.
Doesn’t Anyone Care Anymore? In the days and weeks following Levi’s death our mailbox was filled with cards of sympathy and consolation. The donations in Levi’s memory were overwhelming. The onslaught of well-wishers and busyness buffered our grief and temporarily cushioned us from our new reality. Gradually, I realized something all along. All these ‘others’ had their lives to live and their journey to take. Life was going on and it was necessary for me to decide what that meant and how it would unfold for me. ###