Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I've Crossed a River You Cannot Cross

This is my "Open letter from a mother who has lost a son". I didn't plan this letter or essay. I'd just been talking with my daughter, and after we got off Skype, I just started thinking about this river concept, and all of this just wanted to be said. Of course, there are - unfortunately for them - many mothers on my side of the river, for one reason or another. I don't know whether or not they would relate to what I am saying here. This is just one woman's musings of the moment. 

I've Crossed a River You Cannot Cross

I've crossed a river you cannot cross. No! Stay there. But would you do me a favor?  There's a shallow place just a little bit upstream. It's so shallow that it's more like a creek there. Would you go up there, and sit across the river from me for a bit? Bring your thermos, and I'll bring mine. We can talk or, maybe for a bit, we can just listen to the running water and the frogs, and smell the honeysuckle and the pine.

While we sit, if you are willing to listen to me, I would be very grateful. And I don't mind listening, too. Even if you want to tell me your troubles, that's okay; just know that I can listen sympathetically, but I can't come across the river with you. My place is here now. Maybe I can come across to your side for an hour, or a day, maybe even longer; but I will always come back, because this is my home now.

While we talk, I might tell you - when you get ready to go home on your side of the river – to go ahead and do what you remind each other to do. Love your loved ones each and every day, as if it were the last. But don't dwell on that, really. If you dwell on it, it might even spoil the moments. And yes, I don't try to eavesdrop, but I do hear you saying things to your neighbors like, "You never know when you won't see your loved one again". Yes, sometimes when I hear that, it makes me sad to think of the last time I talked to my son, when I said, "Can I call you back?", and then I forgot, until I got that phone call. 

But I want you to go on with your life on your side of the river. I want you to keep on reminding each other how important the little things can be, even if sometimes I wish I couldn't hear so well…even if sometimes I wish the river would rush a little louder.

I might tell you about other conversations I hear across the river, too. I hear you say how sad you are that your son went away to college, and I laugh. But then, I'm sorry, because I shouldn't laugh, and I know that you missing them is very real. And my other children go away, too, and I miss them, too, so I understand. Really, it only takes me aback for a moment, and then I can understand with you, in the way that you understand it on your side of the river.   

I so appreciate you coming to visit with me. But before you go, after you stand up and brush yourself off, and get ready to go home, will you take my hand across the water? I must warn you that I might hold your hand like I will never let it go, but don't worry because of course I must, and I will.  

And I hope you will come again. Come sit on your side of the river, across from me, and listen to the running water and the frogs, and smell the honeysuckle and the pine with me.

PS (added another day): I would like to add something. I had never wanted to 'scare' parents, and then this post just sort of "slipped out" one day. Also, many have "crossed a river", in so many other different ways, and I don't tend to think mine is worse than someone else's, only different.  And, I can only speak for myself, but I want to say that grief is not ever-present in a heavy way, but comes and goes in waves. 


mostly young said...

I love you. Even though you know it and even though you didn't ask for it, I am so very, very sorry for your loss.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you, Sabine.

Ivonne Hernandez said...

This is beautiful Margaret Mary!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you, Ivonne.

Katherine said...

I sit with you on that side of the river. :'( I watch our home videos; I look at me and my heart aches for "her". I see her cherishing her sweet firstborn son but I know what is to come. She is blissfully unaware that he will not reach his eleventh birthday. When I crossed the river I was 38 weeks pregnant with my fifth child. So, I sit with you, smell the honeysuckle, and gaze at the beautiful blue forget-me-knots as a tear slowly makes its way down my face. We are not alone... His Mother also graces our side of the river. <3 God's peace be with you. ((Hugs))

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Katherine, thank you for sharing so beautifully, and my heart goes out to you. You are so right about Mother Mary, and peace and hugs to you, also. ♥