Saturday, April 2, 2011
Star Light, Star Bright
It's been 24 months--that's right, two years--since Stephanie died. If there is a God, my angel is resting well in the next life or is working hard on some task she needs to do. I don't know if there is an afterlife, if there is reincarnation, or if there is nothing, but I suspect, given the feeling that I have of her, that the soul goes on. Her soul has moved into another form, no longer animating the body she could never count on.
This post isn't about sadness, however. It's about renewal. In her wake, Stephanie left sadness, sure, but she also left us with a chance to find our own happiness. without worrying over her physical and mental health 24 hours a day.
We who loved her have tortured ourselves these last two years, wracked with guilt over things we could not control, over things that could not be taken back or fixed--ever. We who were left had to find a way to go on without her. That has been difficult. Collectively, we - her immediate family - have suffered. We have lost sleep, come close to ending it all, cried, screamed, sought therapy, sought friends and loved ones to listen to us, sought silence, and have felt simply wretched for two years. In some religions and cultures, there is a definite time limit put upon grieving. One enters into a period of mourning, during which it is acceptable to show outward signs of grief, the most recognizable of which is the wearing of black clothing. In modern USA, there is no such guideline. We simply grieve until we cannot help but come alive again. I am coming alive again.
Paul will handle his grief in his way. Sean will handle his grief in his way.
This has been such a trying weekend, as Sean is moving to Raleigh. I should say he has moved, since he and his dad will be unloading the truck into the apartment tomorrow. Tonight, they are in a hotel near the apartments. It is a hard weekend to have my son in another state and now living away for good. It has been hard on all of us, and we have each been by turns snappy, anxious, and weepy. But we are coming alive. We can't help it. He is starting a new life with a new job and a new city. He is doing what his sister could not do and did not live to do--grow up. We parents (biological and step) are immensely proud of him.
Life has richly blessed us. Paul has been with his girlfriend for nearly two years now. He now has teenage daughters to think about. I've been with Kim a shorter time, but we have two little boys to think about. And we all have Sean. He has us. We are a modern family: 3 moms, 1 dad, 3 brothers, and 2 sisters. I've lost count of the animals. We collectively have a lot of love between us, and that love is healing.
Today, on the way out of town, Paul and Sean went through a brief and sudden hailstorm (out of an otherwise dreary, cold, drizzly day). I told them I thought it was Stephanie's version of a going away party for her brother.
On the way to the mall to get my hair cut, I was behind the very car we bought for Stephanie in 2001. How do I know? The little old couple driving it looked like the ones who bought the car after she died. While there is a slim chance it wasn't her car, I felt that it was. It was in front of me all the way down Hwy 15. As we drove into the mall area, they split off and went a different way and then ended up across the parking space from me. The hair stood up on the back of my neck.
"Hello, Stephanie," I said aloud.
I feel that her soul is still around. She comes to us in dreams. She communicates, like she did today. She is not gone; she is simply in a new form. And she wants us to be renewed. She wants us to be happier people.
We're working on that.
Peace - D