Today I'm working toward completing the story of my 10th lost child. Do you think it's interesting or maybe a little weird that I am calling them "my child"? I've just noticed that I'm doing that in my head. To me, it seems really true and appropriate that they are mine for a time. I spend lots of hours hearing and thinking about them, organizing details around them and then sharing what I've learned and created about them. Every special child, no matter their age, fills the spaces of my mind and heart in the time we have together. I've come to believe that their parents don't mind that I gather their children into me for awhile. They are amazing and, I believe, generously forgiving and understanding people, these parents I'm honored to meet and serve.
Bereaved parents are such authentic people. They are intense seekers who feel passionately and have little time or energy for what they consider shallow. They dig deeply for answers when I ask about new wisdom they may have gained from their profound losses. Some can even tell me how that wisdom was found and different ways they are transforming their lives. What their various stories continue to teach me reminds me of an anecdote I read in Dyer's book, You'll See It When You Believe It. It goes like this: a man is searching for his lost key outside his house under a street light, and a stranger asks if she can help him look. He is grateful for another's help. After many minutes of fruitless searching, the stranger inquires about where he dropped his key. The man tells her that he actually dropped it inside the house but came outside to use the street light to look - because there is no light in his own house.
It is incredibly dark inside after profound loss. So many times we look outside ourselves for solutions to the ongoing pain because it feels as if there must be more light, more love, more help available, anywhere but inside. But our humanity, our wisdom and truth, our best selves are housed inside - with the key. And if that's true, then it seems the only sure way to find the inside light and love, the eventual key, is to shift from trying to outrun the darkness of fear and pain, stand still in our sunless spaces, quietly breathing and accepting their presence, and then gently open our eyes to look around for the first shafts of light that we must believe will be waiting to show themselves to us.