“Within Grief Lies Freedom”

April 21, 2013

                                                            Looking Back at Grief

Monique and Glenn

I wrote this two months after Ryan’s Accident, April 28, 2009. This is the first time I have re-read. Certainly, as I had heard, I now understand the loss of your child changes everything, some good and some bad. Though, I have faults as everyone does, I think all my Hate, Contempt, Jealousy and Fear joined Ryan in Heaven. It is possible, that at this time in my life, I am the happiest I have ever been. Happiness is a choice, a choice which needs to be made each and every day. It is true that unless you have experienced the ultimate grief, it is not possibe to understand what it requires to continue on. It is hard. Your perspective on so many things change. However, all the many little things, aggravations of life, such as traffic, running late, human imperfections no longer bother you. Your priorities change and it can be difficult for others, particularly family members to understand. I have lost friends,  a few family members becasue of this shift of priorities. I have also gained many friends. My cure or as Ryan would say, Pharmakon is to stay too busy to think. I have two goals for the remainder of my time on earth. Do whatever I can to make Monique as happy as possible and be the best Triathlete my talent allows. So far I am on track! I have come a long way since writing this a short time after Ryan left us! “I am Free as Ryan is free from all human imposed obligations, fears and expectations”.

 My Heart aches for the Parents of Conneticut and Boston. 

Good Morning Ryan,

It has been fifty-one days and I am still missing you terribly. Here I am at South of the Border. It would be 8:00 am and I am sitting in Pedro’s Diner having coffee soon to order breakfast. There are three other customers and a few employees. I am sitting at a booth designed for four people. The floors are black and white checkered tiles, the booths are dark green, and the tables are tan laminate. It is one big room with all the booths lined up in two rows on one side of the room and the kitchen area on the left. The kitchen is open to the seating area. The lighting is good as the entire seating area is lined with windows. I would anticipate the food will probably be average as the menus, floors and tables are rather dirty. The server is good. She has kept my coffee cup filled. She just asked me if I wanted anything else. After a brief pause, with a smile on my face, I said, “yes, but you would not be able to help me”. She chuckled and said to let me know when I was ready to order. She had no idea I was thinking of having you back.

I enjoyed golf yesterday. We played at Oak Hills country club in Columbia, SC. Lizards Thicket, one of my customers, put on the tournament. For a small outing, it was very well organized. They had a breakfast buffet set up outside during registration and a complete bar for those needing a bloody mary. I had a bottle of water and a sausage biscuit. I played well for not having picked up a club in close to two years. It was a pro-am captain’s choice format. As such, we permitted to play the next shot from the previous best shot. As a team, we scored a 58 for eighteen holes or fourteen under par. We won to my surprise rather easily. Just as surprising, our award was $260.00 cash per person and a $150.00 gift certificate to the pro shop. I put the cash in my pocket and bought a shirts, pair of shorts and a hat I could use to play golf or cut the grass at home. The hat is leather rimmed that you would see Greg Norman wear. All and all it was a nice day. The sun shined all days with few clouds and the temperatures were in the eighties. It was the first time since February 28th that I did not cry for a period of 6 hours. I think I will try to fit in some golf along with my writing, work and marathon training. I got back to my hotel at about 6:30 last night and pretty much went to bed with the help of the television. I woke early and headed back home. I have had nothing to eat since yesterday afternoon so I thought it would be nice to stop at South of the Border. I do not recall if we ever brought you and Taylor here when you were children. There is a good possibility but I am not sure. I forgot to mention earlier, as I was driving this morning, I thought perhaps you were close by. At one point just as the sun was coming up with out warning all my windows fogged up instantaneously. The outside temperature jumped about 10 degrees creating this phenomenon. I thought to myself that could not be Ryan, as she would not create a dangerous situation for me. A few minutes later my GPS blinked on and off. “Ryan, would that be you? I asked”. “I sure hope so”. “I would like you to be close by”

I just ordered breakfast. As you know three eggs over light, toast and corned beef hash is my favorite. They did not have the corned beef so I settled for bacon. As suspected the breakfast was just ok. Well, I need to get back on the road so I will finish telling you about my day this evening. I love you Sweetie. I miss you so much. By the way I gave the server a 50% tip. I know you would appreciate that.

I am back. It is 6:10 pm., actually I have been back for a few hours. The remainder of the drive was uneventful until I got close to home. I did have to stop a few times, once for java and a couple other times because I was bored. I planned being home by noon and it ended up being after two. Oh well! When I was about 30 minutes from home, I called your Mom to let her know my anticipated arrival so we could drop off my rent a car together in Gloucester. When I asked her where she was, with a pause she said that, “she had to go to the library.” I thought for a minute that perhaps she was up to something. When I got home, I waited for about an hour and she still had not made it home. When I called her again, she said, “I have a problem.” Questioning her further, “she told me she was at the doctor’s office.” Ok, my mind was working fast and I was scared. Your Mom told me she found a lump and wanted to have it checked out. Panic set in. This did not make sense. Mom has been disciplined about having annual check ups, particularly after your Grandma died from breast cancer. I dropped my car off at the rental company and came home right away. On the way home, your Mom called me. The doctor felt sure that the lump was just a cist as it grew to fast and was moving around. She is going back Thursday to have a specialist confirm the diagnosis. What a relief. Ryan, not only was I scared, but I started thinking about what to do. Do I stay in Virginia, go back to North Carolina? What do I do with two mortgages? How do I handle this emotionally and financially? I was an immediate basket case. “I certainly do not know what I did to God, but obviously I have really pissed him off.”  We expect everything to be fine. I will let you know after Mom sees the specialist.

 On another note, I did stop by and see you on the way home. You seemed fine, though your pink plant needs some water. Mom will water it for you in the morning. I guess, I should go spend some time with your Mom. I will talk with you tomorrow.

I love you sweetie. Sleep tight tonight and since you are, closer than I, say a prayer for your Mom. 

Dad

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