Tragedy has been close to my heart this week.
Monday, as I watched the horror unfold during the Boston marathon, I was once again in awe of how quickly life can go so wrong. How swiftly and senselessly life can end.
My two year old happened to be sitting next to me while I watched some coverage on Hulu, and he would not stop asking questions. "What happened Mommy?" He wanted me to talk him through every scene. Then he asked to watch it four more times - he wanted to watch "the boy hurting show." He kept repeating "people got hurt," or "dat's sad," or "dat's a big boom."
I was a little disturbed that my toddler was so fascinated with this footage of people suffering. And just when I thought perhaps I had a twisted mind on my hands, I watched a lightbulb go off in his head.
"Daddy died Momma. Dat's sad."
Ah, there it is. For his entire life, I've tried to explain who Daddy is and where he is and what happened in the simplest of terms for my sweet boy who never got to meet him face to face. But it was like he understood suddenly in his own way what tragedy was and how devastating it is.
Since then, he's been talking about Daddy a lot. Trying to sort things out, I think. Asking to read his picture book of Daddy, and reminding me after every page turn that Daddy died. It can be gut wrenching to watch his small mind put things together.
It can be hard to constantly be reminded of grief. Sure, it follows me around every single day in different ways, but to overtly bring it to my face and deal with it over and over can get overwhelming.
As Camp Widow East sets to gear up tomorrow, I can't help but have grief in my face again. But as heavy as it can be, I welcome it. I welcome the reminder that I was well loved the pain that still follows me is not just a figment of my imagination. I welcome the opportunity to search my heart deeper for healing, to open myself up to others who are walking this same unintended path. To share my story in hopes that someone out there might have a different lightbulb go off: a lightbulb of hope.
I think some worry that being in an environment surrounded by other widow/widowers somehow "exposes" you to grief you don't necessarily want to share. It reminds you of what a dark world we can live in and perhaps dwelling in that atmosphere seems overwhelming.
But on the contrary, when we ban together to share our hearts and our stories, a little piece of light gets let back in. Yes, the world can be a tough place, but we all know that first hand. But when we break down the walls we've each put up by connecting with others who 'get it', suddenly we see there can be more to life than just merely existing. There can be more to life than just tragedy.
That's the light I keep coming back for more of.
Looking forward to meeting some of you this weekend.