Updated: Dec 13, 2022
I found healing because I so desperately needed it.
On a crisp fall morning, followed by a night of tears and sorrow as I grieved the loss of my only son, I decided to get in my car and just drive. As I was exiting my home, my room-mate gave me a few encouraging words: "Carmen promise me you will find something to smile about". My lips barely lifted in a faux-pas smile. My eyes felt like lead from the waterfall of tears that rolled freely all night and into the morning, however, I acknowledge her request with a nod as I placed my hand on the door knob to exit. I needed something to help me reset my emotions. I was desperate. Grief is heavy and it feels as though it has no end, akin to that of an abyss. It would take an act of God to interrupt that type of sorrow, but I was so desperate for relief because of the toil it had taken on my body.
I got in my car and called my daughter informing her I was coming to pick her up. She lived about 46 minutes away and it gave me time to compartmentalize my emotions. I knew my sorrow would place an overwhelming burden on her and she was too fragile to carry my grief in addition to her own for her best friend and brother.
"Carmen promise me you will find something to smile about".
I picked Destiny up, and it was apparent we were both trying to be there for each other, being mindful of the precious space and time we shared. Each moment we shared was purposeful; filled with the looming reality that it was just she and I now trying to create a new normal. Death forces us to create new identities, defining new roles and norms without consent or warning. It was with this unspoken reality that we forged ahead in pursuit of some similance of peace and comfort we each so desperately needed. I pulled up to my daughter's dorm. Once Destiny was loaded into the car, throwing her bag in the back seat, I looked woefully at my beautiful Dee and gently asked her, "Where to"? She responded softly, "Piedmont Park". It was a welcomed choice, and we headed in that direction seeking refuge.
Healing is a strategic choice
As we pulled into a satisfactory parking space, I knew that I needed to include Destiny in the "why" for our venture together. I needed her to understand the relevance of our time together. I expressed to her that as her mother her emotional well being was of equal importance and that it was imperative that we journeyed together in our healing process even if we arrived individually to the same desired destination, I would not dare leave her behind. Our trip to the park was a trip of "mindfulness". She understood, and together we ventured into the beauty of nature taking in the vibrancy of the changing leaves and appreciating its beauty. I began to let go, as did she. The squeezing grip of sorry on my heart began to ease as the wind rustled leaves near my feet; swirling them gently into the air, a ripple affect of vibrant colorful pieces of nature dancing, twirling and ascending upward in a cyclonic affect. I was mesmerized, like a child beholding a magic trick, I breathed out, "look Destiny!" Followed by that was a ripple of laughter, giddy and mirthful, released from the same place that erupted in inconsolable tears just hours earlier....as the leaves danced at my feet, I could hear the echo of my room-mate's words, "Carmen promise me you will found something to smile about".
I threw my head back, stretched my arms out with a wide smile plastered on my face and I let the breeze caress my skin, flow through my hair, and gently whiz past my ears. I began to laugh until the contagion of that laughter caused my mini me to do the same. At which point she felt the moment was worth capturing on film. A "placeholder" in my exchange for sorrow.
That was a good day. One of many purposeful pursuits of mindfulness towards healing. We began that journey in a park on a crisp fall day. I left my home in search of healing, in search of a safe place for me and Destiny's bruised hearts. I was searching for something to ease my ache and comfort my child. I found healing because I so desperately needed it.
As you are on your own road to healing and recovery, be strategic. Pay attention to the small things and be open to the possibility of hope in your journey and take a moment to journal your own map to recovery so you can remember your way for others, leaving a well defined trail of just how you got there.