After my son Chad died, so many people wrote me and noted that they simply had “no words.” Others hugged me and said the same thing. What they had, I know, was love, for Chad, my family, and me. I understood just what they meant, for I had no words either, and no way to express the depth of sorrow, regret, and longing created by his death. As someone somewhere wrote, an entire chapter has been torn from the book of our family. It will never be rewritten.
The other day, I went into the basement to put in a load of laundry. When the kids were growing up, the boys were relegated to the basement, where they could fart, yell, make a mess, and create walls of Axe without causing me too much distress. I was home alone, trying to recover from a double whammy of the flu and then pneumonia.
And yet it seemed that someone else had been there. I don’t know why it felt this way, as if the doors had suddenly been closed, or the curtains pulled shut. I had an overwhelming sense that Chad was right next to me, and that if I could only turn my vision just so, I would be able to see him again, and hold him, and tell him how beloved he was, and how we missed him. I would be able to tell him to be at peace, and that it would be okay, that he could rest.
But I could not seem to turn. Instead, I cried. I tried to make myself laugh, remembering the time we had an earthquake and the two of us—Chad, over six-feet tall!–thought we should seek shelter in the bathtub. Times I heard him singing to himself. Times between times.
I cannot draw Chad, so I draw birds, flowers, an owl or two. Anything that for a moment feels like the words I wanted to say and never could.
Chad Jameson, grieving, compassion, sympathy, what to say, loss of a child, support, saying goodbye, grief