After my dear friend, Aileen, encouraged me, I started this blog in 2013, the day after my son turned 20.
“Do it for me,” she had said at one point, which ended my more than two-year mental debate of whether I should make WTF, Where’s the Faith blog a reality or not. From there on, I only wrote posts, for the most part, sporadically.
I relaunched the blog last year on March 31. A couple months after we buried my 26-year-old son, my close writer friend, Laurie, asked me about the status of the blog. I explained that I had abandoned my writing projects, especially writing posts about faith for a faith-themed blog! She countered me, saying, “Write posts about how you have NO faith. How you question faith. How each and every moment is the dark night of the soul.”
I followed Laurie’s advice and since that time I have posted on a weekly basis. With the exception of one post that was accidentally scheduled, the schedule for my posts is the same: Every Tuesday at 1:51 p.m. This is when the Russellville, Kentucky, coroner notified me of my 26-year-old son’s death by suicide. Some grieving parents build organizations, charities and foundations in memory of their lost children. I build faith in the bricks of words, hoping that my pain will help heal the world.
What I have learned in this year-long journey is that even when you feel abandoned, no matter how bone dry your faith-o-meter is, locate solitude. It might be by a veil of a mighty falls or besides a tiny trickle of a backyard stream. It might be inside a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or a wondrous place like the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, New Hampshire, where my once young and whole family found rest and rejuvenation many years ago. Don’t disqualify a barn, shed or cave and other random places that can serve as a refuge from the world’s noise. Fold yourself away and unfold the natural beauty within, warts and all.
For me in the final chapter of my life, often I become in sync with myself by sitting alone quietly in my bedroom and entering into the temple of peace within me. In this personal temple, among the space solely reserved to grieve my son, and the less intense spaces representing my life span, I find my sacred place and sanctuary, a sense of spirit. In my personal temple, I unhinge the rein of control. Here is where I try and write these blog posts and allow the dredging of my words to take on a form of their own, allow them to drip out and expose the most vulnerable parts of my emotions. The uncomfortable parts that want me to take cover and overeat, overact, over-everything and cancel out my humanness and, instead, retire me to a supermarket aisle where I feel like I’m on display in a row of polished cans of sauerkraut.
During these last 12 months, however, there were also times when the noise threw me into confusion and calamity. I lost complete direction. The monster mind reared its evil, ugly lying head, and I thought of ways to end the absolute pain of the grief journey. On those nights, while I felt like I was sinking in a caldron of boiling water, miraculously, one of my newfound blogger friends would reach out and pull me up with an inspiring, reflective and/or galvanizing comment. Or I would read a blog post from another blogger friend, who was not in a good frame of mind, and I would reach out and try to pull him or her up with a helpful, encouraging comment.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, THANK YOU blogging community! Thank you for filling my life with your eye-candy photos and artwork; sage wisdom; daily musings, dreams and fantasies; spirtual beliefs; food recipes; how-to advice; lifestyle interests and, most of all, sharing a generous slice of your private pie, pain and perceptions and, in turn, affording me a dose of Vitamin D rays on the cloudiest of days, and helping me wait around long enough to witness another sunrise.
In other words, thank you for filling my faith-o-meter. Every single drop of your hope and faith has helped fuel me thus far. Amazingly, the faith fuel has appeared from all sides of the globe. For instance, I was very touched by one of my newest blogger friends, Anand, who explained “putra shokam.” In India it means the grief associated with the loss of a child. Anand’s mother, a world away, walks on the same putra shokam path as I do. I think about Anand’s mom as if she were in the ZOOM mode of my mind. I mirror my steps in hers and know that in love as in faith, there is only one universal language.
Anand also generously shared a very intimate post with me about losing his brother, There are always songs to sing.
I meditate on the profound words in the post and the beautiful eyes and smiles in the photo of him and his brother, 17 months older. I think of my daughter and her “twin” who was 21 months older. Anand’s brother died four days after his 25th birthday. My daughter’s brother died 61 days before his 27th birthday.
I’m not sure if I or my daughter can sing quite yet and create music like Anand, but I do think our bond has created a latticework design and repurposed the uninvited litter of grief that we pick through on our grief journey. The latticework is not only beautiful in design, but it sustains us as we use it to support each other.
One day, I hope my daughter and I will find solid footing, climb up and sing in the manner Anand writes about, because I do know that deep in all of us there is a repertoire of music waiting to be surrendered and released to the world, no matter how off key our voices are, because in love and faith, all voices sing in the unison of a common language and are powerful enough to reach the farthest distances on the globe and bring the house down.