“The worst was over”

I wasn’t sure I had sufficient maturity to have children, but after being married seven years, my husband and I plunged into that major decision of responsibility. It was when I had my first child that my soul became connected to another human in a way I had never experienced. When my child was ill, I became convinced I could save him. After he died, part of my soul was extinguished.

Part of my survival was that I devoted myself to my living children. My children had challenges that were not easy, however my focus and love paid huge dividends as I watched their miraculous improvement. I knew that if I could survive my first child’s death I was strong enough to do whatever I believed in.

One of the thoughts I had this morning, was the revelation of how depressed I was before having children. I wondered why I was depressed then when I hadn’t experienced any trauma. The feelings of sadness were real, but I believe it was more about loneliness. I have never regretted the choice to have children. My heart was expanded, shattered, and reformatted. Still, my pain in my twenties was very real.

Yesterday, I wrote my story about Jason. Jason was my son who died 18 years ago when he was five-years-old. I was amazed at how much I clearly remembered without any notes. I typed furiously with a short break for dinner. I started in the afternoon and finished at midnight. I wonder how therapeutic it was for me to write Jason’s story. I do feel relief that I’ve finally written it. But I don’t feel any “lighter,” yet. Just like vomiting, I just had to get it out. I feel like I still have spasms going on; could there possibly be more pain for me to express?

I feel tearful this morning. The guess the “well of tears” is no longer dry, like it has been for such a long time.

It was a Saturday morning and I had not seen Connie for two weeks. In those two weeks, the weather had changed. It was unseasonably warm and reminded me that summer would soon be here. When the season changed, I often felt sad. Summer to fall reminded me of his death and spring to summer reminded me his birthday, which was approaching. He would never grow older. 

I read aloud to Connie the last few pages. When I reached the part where I found out Jason was dead, I had to stop for a moment to regain my composure. I wasn’t sure I could continue reading without crying. With my voice trembling, and with tears choking my words, I methodically spoke. I gasped after my last sentence and put my head down upon her desk and sobbed. After that, I was very quiet. 

Connie’s voice was soft as she gently asked me to explain something for her. I had mentioned my doubt about whether Jason had existed, and whether he had left a mark on this earth. She wanted me to tell her more about that. 

I told her how meaningful it was when people mentioned my dead child’s name or even shared a memory of him. It meant he actually existed; it wasn’t only a nightmare of five year, he was real if he was remembered. 

Then Connie asked me what the mark was that he left on me. I pondered the question for a moment. I remembered how I was depressed in my mid-twenties and unable to write at all. I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to become a mother. However, as a result of my grief, I was given a gift where I could access everything in my heart and easily express my feelings through writing. My gift was suppressed for almost thirty years, but it wasn’t only about memorializing my son. It was there to express the anguish of grief in a way that other people could not. This gift changed my life and brought me happiness as I shared my writing, my lyrics, and my music. 

I could see that Connie was moved to tears. Her eyes glistened as she said, “Honest feelings touch people. I am certain your writing and music will be appreciated by many people who have those same feelings.” 

I explained to Connie that writing Jason’s story held so many other benefits for me. The therapy of writing it down was that I had released it from within. I had carried his story with me for such a long time, deep in my subconscious. I didn’t have to agonize anymore that I was forgetting him. Now I knew that he was definitely not forgotten, and I could always read my writing if there was something I needed to remember. I could truly let it go now. It had taken tremendous energy to hold onto those feelings of anguish. It had taken so much energy to “stuff those feelings.” 

While I was under hypnosis, I floated off. The shakiness and tears subsided, but I still felt so open and raw. The melancholy from writing about such traumatic memories reminded me still that I was healing, and it would take more time. 

When I was getting ready to leave. I mentioned to Connie that I wasn’t sure what I would call my story about Jason. “Jason’s Story” just didn’t sound adequate; however, there was no other title I think of. I didn’t have a single idea and Connie said she was certain something would come for me if I were open to the possibility. 

As I walked away, she said, “We know that Jason definitely left his mark.” 

I hesitated and my voice was filled with emotion as I told her, “Connie, did you know his name was Jason Mark?” I was startled with the intensity of my words. 

I drove home and the seasonal change was absolutely breathtaking for me, my sadness had lifted. Calmness and peace enveloped me. I knew the worst was over and now I could heal. I was also elated because I had found a perfect title for my story about Jason. 

It would be, “Jason Mark, He Left His Mark.” 

The saddest document I own.

© Judy Unger and 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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