My dear son,
It’s your birthday week. Another year without you on the planet has completed its cycle. And, as it most always does during this month, my heart aches with the wondering of what might have been. This year, though, I’m living through April with a message I took into my heart from a television show. I can feel you smiling; I suppose that might mean you were there, whispering in my ear, as that important “aha” hit home.
Consider this both a birthday and thank you note, Matt. I know I could simply send it to you silently, but every-once-in-a while I need to share aloud your presence in my life. So, I’m saying, out loud, what this message about wasting time means to me
As you know, a few of my best friends actually inhabit television shows. I realize to some that statement is pathetically sad. Still, from time to time I glimpse a sideways view of this world through them, come awake to different and relevant ideas, and, best of all, never feel judged. These are things I appreciate from best friends. Anyway, earlier this month I was catching up with some older Grey’s Anatomy episodes and one of them brought me to tears. I felt you very close to me on that April night.
In the show, the “dead”, two characters, now deceased, return to speak with the “living”, one who is hovering between life and death. The show’s lesson? Don’t waste the time you’re given in this life. Most of this episode put the dead center stage. They tell the living: “Don’t waste one single day fighting what will eventually happen.”
They concede that life is often pain. There exists change and loss, disappointment and grief. And then with their next breath, they warn the living to not let go, not give in to pain. “Wake Up!” they declare. If you fill your hours resisting the pain and clinging fruitlessly to what you have now, what you most fear losing in life, you miss the best, the most loving parts of it. Let your fear pass through. “Wake Up!”
“Having life is the point,” the dead continue, “the reason for celebration; otherwise, why not simply move into death right now.” Life is the gift; it’s the opportunity to break yourself fully open to the love of those around you right now, and, they add, of all "those who still surround you from beyond . . . those gone who have never really left you."
Matt, in those lines I’m reminded of the times I’ve felt you saying: “Mom! Do that now; don’t wait.” Or “Go ahead. Don’t be afraid; all will be well.” And, most beautifully, “I’m here.”
My love letter to you, letting me remember aloud my understanding that you are always close by, makes this April time more likable, even lovable. I know longing for what “might have been” is a waste of time. But your forever gift – your loving presence throughout my days – is something I will never waste.
With grateful and abiding love,