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Choose Life

There are a lot of Internet platitudes about choosing joy and happiness. "You make your own happiness," "find the good in everything," blah, blah, blah.


I'm here to tell you sometimes there is no silver lining. The death of my child from cancer at age ten has no silver lining. None. I find it an affront to be told to choose happiness in every situation. Did I cherish the time I had with him and thank God I was his mother for a short period of time? Yes, absolutely. But that's not a silver lining in his death.


What we CAN do is choose how we go forward after something as heinous and devastating as a child's death. We can wallow in the stages of grief for months, years even, or we can reach that stage of acceptance and go from there.


I experienced "anticipatory grief" with my son, Nicky, as he slowly died before my eyes. So when he passed away after 14 months of useless treatments, grief to me was like a well-worn coat. I may have reached acceptance a lot sooner than some people because of this, and so I had the chance to start moving forward.


That was a conscious choice because frankly, I didn't know any other direction in which to go. And I had another son to mother. He deserved the best mother I could be at the time with the emotional and mental weight I was carrying. Curling up in my bed crying all day, every day with a bottle of wine was not an option, although that's exactly what I wanted to do. I truly pushed myself to get up every morning and face to the day: go to work, maintain a household, go about the general machinations of life. I often sat in the dark for a few minutes every morning while the shower water warmed up, too emotionally spent to even stand there, too traumatized to face the lights of the bathroom.


So no. There is no silver lining in some situations. That realization is bleak, scary and daunting. But there is no alternative but to progress onward if we wish to live a continually productive life, and I know Nicky would've wanted me to grow and move forward, to embrace the life still ahead of me. He was all about embracing life, seizing it and making it dance for his amusement. I choose to be more like Nicky.




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