Into a million little pieces.
Bleeding out across the floor, and pooling around my worn out running shoes. The blood of their father, the weight of his name, the memories of their childhood, his smile, his large hand wrapped around theirs, were soaking the floor.
Stretching out for them, they crumpled like binder paper. As if, I was reaching for a ghost, as hard as I tried, I could not keep them from fading out of sight. In a second of time, my children, evaporated, right in front of my eyes.
I have never seen those children again.
My family died the day John shot himself.
I had to find a way to rebirth my son and daughter.
With no map or human understanding of what had happened, I had to put them back together. My children had become a shattered puzzle, blown apart with the pull of a trigger. I desperately shuffled through the pile, and piece by piece, began to rebuild.
I took great care in their reassembly.
I did not want my children to fall into the belief that they need to be defined by their loss, or have his death be their legacy. I wanted them to love themselves, to honor their father and to keep the very best of him alive. I was not going to allow my children to fall victim to the trauma or use it as an excuse not to live their best lives. I would not allow his loss to rob them of the ability to achieve their goals, to experience the beautiful feelings of success and the disappointment of failure or to dream big and grand, and, one day, to fall madly and deeply in love. I would not allow to shrink.
We live in a culture that pathologies and diagnoses much of the human experience.
The way we grieved did not follow the outline of a clinical study or the chapters of self help books. I wanted them to heal, in their own time and on their own terms.We each did the best we could to recover from the loss of John. I made mistakes. Some big mistakes but what I did perfectly right, was love my children. My world became very dark and I did my best to fumble through the lightless road in front of me. My son did not speak his fathers name for years, and my daughter threw herself into weekly therapy and writing. We three, chose our own paths to ease the ache we felt. Our journeys were different but the destination was the same, arriving at the start, where the world was new and the horizon, expansive for exploration to become new people and rebuild the foundation of self and family.
Since Johns death, I have raised my children with the belief that they do not need to attach to the label of trauma survivor, rather, they can heal. They can move forward. They can thrive. I wanted to protect them from the pressure of being sentence to a life where they are defined by their fathers suicide, having their successes and failures, tainted by the choices of the generation before them.
With the love of family and friends, the strength of their dad, and a faith in God, they are strong confident people, with the uninvited wisdom, that terrible things can happen, we can feel unspeakable pain and in an instant, whole lives can shatter. They also know, that we can begin our lives again, from the rumble of a life blown to pieces, we can rebuild, we can rise, and beautiful joyous days will come again.
None of us are the same people we were, the years before September 5, 2011.
At the age of 40, 11 and 9
We were reborn.
And we Began, Again….
Sober and Shameless, Kw