“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
– Kurt Vonnegut
The Weight of a Life
“Let us see to it that our lives, like jewels of great price, be noteworthy not because of their width, but because of their weight. Let us measure them by their performance, not their duration.”
In Blackwater Woods
“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”
– Mary Oliver
The Peace of Wild Things
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in beauty on the water and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world and am free.”
– Wendell Berry
Your mind is full, overflowing in fact. You barely have time to register a thought before another one takes its place. You may have regrets or feel blame that seem impossible to ignore. Certainly you have questions; the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whys’, and you have very few answers.
Recognize that the constant, mindless chatter you are creating in every minute has relatively little value. Be willing to tune out the background noise and become quiet. Only when you are quiet can you feel the presence of your child. Only then can you connect to the space in your heart that belongs to your child. Find a place and a moment to sit in stillness. It takes time to become quiet, so take a break, take a deep breath and take heart.
This is a simple yet profound meditation to practice when you need a focus for your thoughts.
May I be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm.
May I be happy and contented.
May I be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible.
May I experience ease of well-being.
As you practice, you may want to extend this meditation to include others. Begin with people you know and love, your family and close friends. Later you can further extend this loving kindness to include your neighbors and community and beyond.
May you be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm.
May you be happy and contented.
May you be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible.
May you experience ease of well-being.
Tell your story
As often as you need to, tell your story. Something very healing happens when you speak about your child. Your words become a framework for eventually understanding that which might otherwise render you mute. It’s hard. It’s powerful. And it’s ultimately healing.
Try to be present to this day, even through the grief and despair. Your pain and anger are legitimate, and they will burn away sooner if you acknowledge and experience them. For a time, sorrow is all you know. But joy will come again. Be ready to welcome the return of light into your life. Receive it as a blessing from your child.
You can stand still or you can go forward. Those are your choices. Oh, how we would go back if we could. So, the question is, do you stand still or go forward? My child would want me to go forward, and so I do.
In the Universe that we share, I trust that my child is safe.