This evening I went into the beauty supply house to get shampoo. My boys needed hair gel. I started talking about my middle school boys and the women and the counter said,”I had a twelve year old son, but he passed away”.
To some this would be an awkward moment but to people who have lost someone it’s more than that.
“What happened?” I ask.
He was playing with the gun in the locked cabinet and he shot himself. My husband found him.”.
“I am so sorry, you know they say that one can’t measure pain but I think you can in your case. There has to be nothing worse in the entire universe then losing your child.” I am so sorry. I can feel my eyes well up.
“I had a 10 year old daughter at the time so I had to go on”. she said.
“The PTSD and trauma this has caused all of you has got to be so difficult. Tell me about how you made it out? What did you do? Are you and your husband still together? How do you survive and crawl out when you get this kind of news?” I ask.
“For a long time I didn’t come out of my house because I was that Mom that lost her son. I couldn’t handle the grief. It was a dark time. However I had to get up, and keep going I had a daughter who needed me.
My husband and I are still together. The last thing my daughter needed was to lose a brother and to lose her parents.
I want to show you something. My husband just starting painting again. Its been 7 years.
She hands me her phone and shows me photos of her husbands paintings. “These are so beautiful, I wonder if he would of made something so beautiful if he hadn’t seen such darkness?” I ask.
No I don’t think so, she says.
I hope you have a show or do something with those paintings in your sons honor. You are a beautiful resilient person. Your story of survival will help so many. Do you write?” I ask.
I have journals and journals but I put them down.”
“I never thought I would be a writer but I had a story to tell like you but different. A story of losing my father to gun violence. My mother shortly after. My story ended up not being about what I lost but more about what I found. How I dug myself out of the darkest days of my life.
I hope you write, because imagine the lives of the mothers you will touch that have gone through something similar and have no road map. Your story matters.” I say.
The woman comes out from behind the counter, were both teared up. We hug each other tight.
His graduation would of been this week. I decided to take the day off. I stand with her in her pain holding space.
“Your a beautiful person”, I say. “So are you” she says.
I came home tonight pulled out my book and told myself come hell or high water I will finish this mother.
Distance and time away are so helpful. Moments like this when you know that your purpose is so much greater than you know. The world is connected in more ways than we know. Sometimes you find it in the most unexpected places. Buying hair gel for you boys.
#gunviolence #writing #stories #lifeafterloss #resilience #trauma #ptsd #healing #journaling #loving