by Tamara Harvey Braswell
I remember when the Netflix series came out, “13 reasons Why.” I didn’t get past the preview, thinking I had enough real-life tragedy and wasn’t interested in immersing myself in such a sad story, regardless of the overarching messages it may have had.
I know death
I know what it is like to find the father of my child – my husband of years ago – dead from an overdose. Suicide was cause of death.
I know what it is like to whisper in my teenage son’s ear as he lies in ICU bleeding to death from a car crash with no hope of survival, “It’s ok to join your Dad in Heaven.”
I know what it is like to make life and death decisions for loved ones, like telling doctors to stop the life support for my sister after she was fatally injured in a house fire.
I know what it is like to kiss my mother goodbye as her heartbeat fades away after a bout of pneumonia took her away in a weekend.
I saw my father take his last breath. I was with my two aunts in their dying hours. I spoke at the Celebration of Life of a lovely girl who lost her battle with leukemia at age 13. This sweet soul was my step niece. And there are others.
These are my dead people whom I love and miss and would give anything in the world to bring them back.
I wake up in middle of the night thinking my dead people are alive. Everything is normal again. But when I come to, the heavy sadness and loss take over.
While I know death better than most people my age, I am not ready to go there. And if anyone would feel more at home on the other side, it would be me.
But I am alive
I am walking and breathing and thinking. I can manage to drag one foot in front of the other, and sometimes I can catch my breath, relax and think. I have learned to be thankful for each living day that I am healthy, even with deep, searing emotional grief-pain of horrific loss that is impossible to endure at times.
I literally started to run and strengthen my body so I could mentally cope with the grief-pain after losing my only son more than a year ago. Absolutely nothing can compare to the death of your child and I mean NOTHING. I figured out I had to run WITH the grief-pain instead of away from it.
The grief-pain catches up and demands to be noticed. And that’s ok. The grief-pain is the love I have for my son and deceased family.
Pain is part of life. A big part. God did not promise us a comfy life with no problems. Yet, we, particularly Americans, yearn for this Facebook picture view of selfie smiles, good food, witty quotes, grand accomplishments and lovely vacations.
And we may binge on Netflix shows like “13 reasons Why.”
Here is my one reason to live: I am not finished!
Life is worth living and I have many more years to go no matter how hard and unbearable it can be at times. The pain lets up and from the depths of suffering, I can turn the sadness into something good and positive, like writing this piece for Emotionally Naked.
If you are at your wits end and are reading this – just know, you are not alone. No matter how bad things get, the horrible feelings pass and you can breath again. Hang on! Life is worth living. Of all people, I should know.
Love and peace,
Tamara writes about her son Logan on “In Logan’s Shoes.”