Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Never Get Over This... What is 'This'?

A few days after Austin's accident a well meaning friend stated, "You will never get over this." Hmmm...

For whatever reason, my mind has been thinking of this comment lately and wondering, "What am I supposed to get over? What does it mean to 'get over this'?  What will it mean if I don't 'get over this'? What is 'this'?"

I think the "this" (or "it") is referring to the loss of a child (Austin). But the term "will never get over..." is where I get hung up. To me, if I "never get over this", it means I will let it define me and my life from here on out. It means that, because of 'this', I will be pulled down, never to be able to get up completely again, I will have some joy taken away from me for the rest of my life. I will be negatively impacted from here on out, never being able to enjoy life the same.

Yuck! What a depressing way to view a horrible experience - to think that my life will struggle from here on out because of this loss, because I will 'never get over it'...

Before anyone thinks I'm a cold-hearted person, let me assure you that I am not saying that my life hasn't been changed - it has. I am not saying that I don't think about Austin and miss Austin every day - I do. I am not implying, not even for a minute, that I don't shed tears daily from the thought of not being able to: pick up the phone and call Austin, have him come visit us, go visit him, or give him a big huge hug and tell him 'I love you!' - I do and these thoughts sadden me in a way I have never felt before. But I will not let them destroy me. They have simply become part of me, the same way every other experience I have had in life has become part of me, has made me who I am today.

There are certain events in our lives that we can remember the moment they occurred, the moment that our lives were turned upside down and were changed in an instant. Alan Jackson, in his song "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" speaks of the day 9/11 hit, but parts of the song apply to any time we've experienced one of those earth-shattering moments...
Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September June day?...
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?...

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love...

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?...
Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September June day?
I remember the day Austin was born. I woke up with contractions, waited a bit, got up and showered, and drove to my mom's. (I know, I shouldn't have been driving, but oh well...). Part way down my road major road construction was underway, backing up traffic, and I had to sit and wait until it was my turn to go down the single lane, as contractions continued to come. Six hours later Austin made his debut into this world - and at that moment a love filled my heart and soul, a love that I had never felt or imagined possible. I will always remember that day as though it happened yesterday.

Fast forward 21-1/2 years later, I'm standing in the kitchen, getting a cup of coffee, talking with Mike before he heads out to work when my cell phone rings. Austin's name shows on my caller ID. I answer it, but it's not Austin, it's his friend telling me he's been in an accident. An hour or so later my phone rings again, it's the hospital, telling me Austin had not made it. I just keep repeating, "Really? Ok, really? He didn't make it? OK, no really?...."  With Austin's departure from this world a sorrow filled my being, a sorrow like I had never felt before. I will always remember that moment as though it happened yesterday.

I am different today, different than I was a year ago. A year ago I was different than I was 21-1/2 years earlier. Ten, twenty, or thirty years from now I will be different than I am today. Life molds us and makes us who we are. There are moments, when life changes in an instant and we know we've changed. There are other times when the change occurs slowly, gradually over the months and years. We are not stagnant, but rather a work in progress, and life's experiences are part of this process - both the highs and the lows, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But a bad life experience does not mean we're destined for misery for the rest of our lives. It doesn't mean we are to stop living. We must keep living and make the best of the cards we've been dealt. We must make the most of the days we're given.

I will never forget Austin, I will always miss him. He will always be a part of me. He changed me the moment he was born, and throughout his life. As a result of being Austin's mom (and the mom to my other 2 boys) I have become a different person, different than I was when I had no children. I have experienced both love and sadness, at a level I never realized possible.

The loss of Austin will be with me always, but instead of saying, "I will never get over 'this'"... I choose to say, "I will always miss Austin. I will always remember him and love him. He will always be in my heart and be with me wherever I go," as I continue to strive to laugh often, love deeply, and live life to the fullest... the Austin way!

No comments:

Post a Comment