Yesterday my dad got nominated by a fellow Marine who is a friend of mine to do 22 pushups to raise awareness of veteran suicide. I videotaped my 65 year old dad, a retired LtCol from the Marine Corps, do 44 pushups (for two days, he said) with ease. I smiled watching him and thought to myself as I have so many times – he is strong.
Today is Veteran’s Day and our office is closed. Watching my Dad yesterday was a reminder that I too am strong. I decided today I would organize our basement storage. Over the last year and a half I have maybe entered our storage area two times as it has become a place to store Sam’s unused things.
Since election night I’ve seen my friends use words like grief and mourning to express their emotions of Donald Trump becoming our President-elect. I’ve watched some friends shut down emotionally because they’re so deeply unhappy.
This morning I stared into our storage room at all of Sam’s unused things and said aloud what I’ve been thinking for the last four days, this is what real grief looks like.
Take a close look.
- Sam’s car seat we never installed in our cars.
- My maternity clothes that my Mom had to remove from my closet while I sat on my bed after my c-section in tears because it’s what I wore with Sam.
- Baby toys handed down from cousins Hank and Charlotte that I so carefully washed by hand one Saturday morning so they would be sparkling clean for gummy baby.
- Clothes packed away from Sam’s dresser the one day I found the courage to remove something from his room.
- Clothes organized by size (3-6 months) (6-12 months) awaiting to be used by our growing boy.
- An unopened exersaucer that I had hopes Sam would dance around on as much as his cousin Will did.
- My body pillow for the never-ending aching hips of being 30 something weeks along.
- My MamaRoo that forever sat in our living room, only to be used by cousin Rhett.
- Two pack and plays that never slept our baby.
- A booster chair for the family dinners we never had.
- A stroller that we never pushed.
- Extensions for a baby crib that will never be used for the person we bought it for because he will never grow.
- The changing pad and table top for Sam’s dresser that we removed so to make it an ordinary dresser for our guest bedroom.
- A rocker passed down by my grandma intended to be used in the basement as Sam would roll around and grow on the fresh carpet we installed for him.
The last box is significant. Look closely and you’ll see the top of a tiny Christmas tree. It keeps the things we do get to use for Sam; the things we place at his grave.
Friends, grief isn’t having your candidate lose. You aren’t mourning – you’re pissed off.
When is it that we examine our hearts and figure out where our happiness lies? My hope, my happiness, my confidence, my trust – you name it – has never and will never lie with another person; especially a President-elect.
I watched another Mama bury her 21 year old child this week while so many people spewed shit because of the election.
I wish we could all just stop for a minute – the hate, the name calling, the blaming – but it won’t. So what can I control? My response. I choose love.
In yoga we bow to each other and say namaste. It means ‘the divine in me sees and honors the divine in you’. You may disagree with me but I’ll still see the flame of love in your heart. I choose love because I know the depths of the worst kinds of sadness; holding your dead child and yet somehow, I find strength to keep progressing.
America, it’s time you do too.