I know myself by my old story. Losing my son to addiction has destroyed that story. What do I tell now about who I am and where I am going? I watch my words carefully, waiting for my new story to emerge, and searching wherever I can to find my way.
A mother should not outlive her son. Between life and death, a life should unfold naturally to nurture the next generation. I should have kept him safe. I should have kept the family intact. I should have worked less. I should have sent him back to treatment. I should, I should not, I should have. When will my guilt end? At times, I feel as if I have lost my sense of self, consumed by my guilt and his disease for too long. His demons won, and I want to desperately believe it wasn’t my fault.
An overwhelming wave of sorrow pulls me under. I have to come up for air. When I do, I sense there might be hope in my suffering. If I can let go of my guilt and grief, I might begin to heal. In this moment of surrender, I am able to breathe, and begin to seek my new place in the Universe. My wounded heart opens, as I accept my deep loss, yet I persist in trying to understand the tragic nature of this disease.
I want my son to be here with me, literally. Life is not the same without him. Yes, I often feel his presence, but he left behind a hole which can’t be filled. I know I’m offered an alternative to the emptiness. I can choose to transform or languish, to awaken or slumber, to connect or isolate. I recognize it’s my choice to go deeper. Some die young, so others can live deeper, more meaningful lives. I have to believe I am meant to explore my pain and share what I have learned.
When I slow down, I feel a sense of gratitude for this awareness; for the divine order of things and the spiritual side of my healing. I am grateful for the people in my life, who love and support me. I am grateful for my granddaughter, Olivia. She looks so much like her father, and I love spending time with her. She connects me to my new normal.
I am aware of the slight possibility of joy; to own my pain, but not to dwell in it. I want to show up for myself in the joy of transformation. This possibility feels like a beginning and an ending; the alpha and omega. I begin to let go of my old story and find meaning in my new normal. Mary Cucarola – August 2015