I was forced in the water 5 years, 8 months and 5 days ago.
She was pushed recently.
I met her last month. Immediately, I saw the ache in her eyes as we spoke; the hurt that hides behind the everyday chit chat and smiles. I know too well how to recognize the look of buried pain that is in the eyes of every grieving parent.
We shared photographs. We all carry one. Some are wrinkled and worn and some are sealed in protective covers to keep them safe. I noticed the care she took when I handed her the picture of my son, J.T. and the loving way she brushed her fingers over it. I silently thanked her for that. I did the same with her photograph.
We parents with angel children understand that the love we send them does not stop just because they are not physically here with us.
Our stories are different, and yet the same. The love we feel for our children. The pain we feel without them. The memories, the "did-that's”, the "wish-we-could's," the missing and the wanting all roll into one similar pond of pain.
I am further in the water than she is. The hot and cold of it, the swirling and splashing is a continual dance of how we maneuver without drowning. The trick is to do it with the grace and balance required to keep our heads above water -and breathing--always breathing.
At times I have fought the water current and at times I have floundered reaching for a life vest. The life vest has become one I wear secretly like bullet proof protection under my clothes with the hope that nothing this painful will ever penetrate my heart again.
I continue forward. I see others in the distance, with well-worn life vests, who have maneuvered the water much longer than I have. I feel comfort in knowing they are leaving a trail to follow.
I turn to see the ones behind me as they wade in, stumbling and unsure if they will survive the voyage. I reach my hand back to steady them as the waves hit, listen to them as they cry and help them position their life vests.
After 5 years, 8 months and 5 days I have learned to swim a little better. But, I will always wear my life vest.
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Pennie's Life Lesson:
“Sometimes we need a life vest
and sometimes we can be
a life vest for others.”
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My intent in sharing this with you is to encourage you to reach out to others going through a difficult experience-- one that you have lived through!
Share your thoughts and experiences relating to this post in a comment below .
And please feel free to email me at:
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7/25/2015 01:12:25 am
I can tell you have chosen to use your grief to help others! You have a wisdom about you that brought tears to my eyes! I'm so very sorry for your loss! My life vest is getting thin and ragged from holding my head above water for almost 7 years now since my precious 33yr old daughter, my only child, went to join my youngest sister, my mom and dad, my aunt and cousin. So many losses, some that could have been prevented! I await the moment I see her again, with such love, to feel her in my arms again, I can still smell her hair! I just found out one of my oldest friends and co workers of many years just lost her precious girl at the youn age of 37. My tears are flowing for her, as nothing I can stop the never ending pain she is about to go through! Of all the people I thought I might lose, my daughter was never even a hint! I don't think we ever get over the shock. I think our job is to help others, as that is how we help ourselves. I could be rambling right now, I don't know. But I was draw to your site, after reading your words. May God hold you a little closer in his arms today so you may feel the love of him, thanking you for finding another with a torn and tattered life vest, still sea worthy and willing to pull someone along, who may be tired from the long, lonely journey, who needs to rest for a moment! Bless you
7/25/2015 09:26:00 am
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There is a certain magic about where I live both physically and spiritually – on the crossroads of Spirit and Brave.
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