The last day I saw our son, Jared, in person was September 6th 2019, Friday of Labor Day weekend. He came home with some of his college friends for a weekend of hiking and fun and getting some things from home he needed for his sophomore year. After hanging at our house for a bit, they went up the hill and spent the night at #beautyheals, which we had just bought as a mountain retreat house for #communityheals. That night he texted “Mom, #beautyheals if f’ing amazing. I can’t wait to come back.” The next morning Jose hiked with them to the top of this mountain, Starr Peak, as I already had plans to hike my first 14’er with a friend. Oh, how I wish I had been able to see Jared on September 7th, too, but I had no idea when I said goodbye that night it would be the last time I’d hug him, smell him, hear his voice, feel him in person.
As we come upon the 4th year of losing our beautiful boy, I am struck by what I started to feel Labor Day weekend. A deeper ache, a more tender heart, tears more at the surface.
But it was a small strange wave until it slammed into October.
October 1st something clicks inside my body and soul in a different way.
Because this is what the waves of grief look like for me.
I don’t think of grief in stages anymore. I think of them as waves or rhythms–ebbs and flows, raging storms and gentle rains and everything in between–some all in the same hour. And sometimes like wake surfing, which has been one of the most healing practices in my life, the best thing I can do is not get stuck in my head, not try to resist or “figure it all out” but let myself just honor the wave.
Feel what needs to be felt.
Get back up when the time is right.
Trust my body and soul will do what it needs to do.
Everyone out there who’s lost a child knows that we’re forever altered, the hole in our souls and our families can never be filled. Every single day for the rest of our lives we will be riding the waves of grief.
For me, our family, October is choppy, bumpy, unpredictable waters, riding waves of grief we wish we didn’t have to.
I know so many of you are, too, in all different kinds of ways. Grief is definitely a bumpy ride.
And, damn, we miss our kid– his light, his love, his wild, his free.