Going through photos today, trying for a semblance of organization either chronologically or by category such as pictures with us, pictures with his children, or with his cousins or friends or with his dogs…When Jason was first diagnosed he spent three weeks in hospital. Most days the kids would come for a visit after school and I’d be there either to stay over night or for all or part of the day. On occasion his best pal Mac the yellow lab would make an appearance. The day Mac came and sat so calmly for this picture Jason could not wait to see him. All day he had it in his mind that soon Mac would be visiting.
Jason used to say there are two types of people, those who really like dogs and those who don’t like them so much. Jason and I are both in the first group. When he met his wife he already had a dog, a pit bull named Kato. She was gentler than her breed is known to be and I credit Jason for that. Mac is just a big softy by nature. Jason was born in 1970 which on the Chinese calendar is the year of the dog. He grew up to be loyal, loving, faithful with a kind and open heart…just like a dog.
I wish we had been aware Jason had such a short time and then our time might have been used in a different ways. Instead of planning for the future and looking ahead we could have looked to today. It wasn’t until his last three weeks that the good of each day was recognized in the moment. And I know how lucky I am to have had any moments at all. Which reminds me of an old Sanskrit message:
Yesterday is but a dream
Tomorrow is but a vision and
Today well lived Makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness
and Every tomorrow a vision of Hope
Look well therefore to this day!
This past weekend was spent travelling to a memorial tea for a friends mother, Rose. Each time word of a death reaches my ear I am griped in an almost physical hold so tight I can hardly get a clear breath. No matter the age or circumstances my heart breaks for those left behind.
While Jason was ill he asked me not to weep, saying it (his illness) was about him, not me. He asked me to keep a clear head so I could be cheerful and offer support and speak of him as a man who would live forever. And I did and in my heart he will be with me forever. Well now his departure from my life is definitely all about me.
Each of us who grieve for him hold our grief as separate and personal to us alone. We are in one big house called grief; separated by the walls of the rooms we are in. We hear each other grieve and the walls we have erected prevent reaching out enough to touch or lend comfort to one another. Our pain is our own and moving beyond it to find joy, that is the challenge. Doing all the things that once brought smiles and quilt free pleasure. Taking a step, moving in a forward motion, making a start and Getting past go…
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. My son Jason, age 41, died on August 30 2011. On February 2, 2011 he called to say he had been admitted to hospital the night before and now he was 30 minutes away from a routine surgery. At the time we lived 5 hours away by car and it was 3:15 in the afternoon on a icy winter day. Knowing no surgery is routine I was packed, in my car and on the road by 3:30. Braving it through the mountains I drove in the dark struggling with poor visibility and falling snow …. When I arrived at the hospital Jason was still in surgery which was surprising. His wife was nowhere to be seen and I could not reach her on the phone so I just waited around feeling happy and excited that I’d see my “adult” child for an unexpected visit. My elation was short lived however. Jason was wheeled out of recovery and he was upgraded to a private room. He was quite groggy and wondered where his wife was so we called her cell from his cell phone and she asked me to meet her in the waiting room, which I did. The first thing she did was throw her arms around me and say, she loved me which should have alerted me to bad news because she had never said she loved me and had never been an affectionate person toward me. Then she told me Jason was full of cancer. I actually thought she was lying to me. I was in shock and couldn’t grasp what she was saying and why she was even saying it. My own life, as I knew it was over and the months to come will always be remembered as some of the best Jason and I have shared.