These are the best words to summarize the last several months of life here for my family in NEO… “See ya later..” It started out with Deklan’s successful graduation from USMC Boot Camp in Parris Island, SC. I am a Marine Mom now (Oorah!), and, eventually, part of military life is letting your Marine travel practically all over the world. Sometimes- actually, oftentimes- You are not sure when you will see them again. Goodbyes become such heartache. A veteran military Mom shared with us that you don’t ever say good-bye; you say “See ya later…” Comfort flows from the reminder that “we will be here when you get back,” or “we WILL meet again.” We were counted blessed to have Deklan home with us for Christmas this year- an unexpected pleasure not granted to many military families. We are treasuring each moment…
In November, we also said “See ya later” to my closest friend’s mother, Jean. I gathered that Jean had lead a full and fulfilled life as I gazed over the large hall filled with her family and their friends at the “Celebration of Life” service they planned for her. What a privilege to witness the joy- as stories about Mama Horning flowed easily from the mouths of her many adult grandchildren… and the pride in the eyes of her 5 children as they talked about the best Mom anyone ever could have had. I was sad that I had only known her the last two years, but grateful that I’d had the chance to call her “friend-” this tenderhearted and kind woman- so sweet-spirited yet strong willed. I know we will meet again beyond the Kingdom Gate, where we will laugh together once again.
Then the heart-wrenching, horror here in early December… My 16 year old son Duncan lost his best friend to suicide. We KNEW this young man. He spent several New Year’s Eve parties at our house as well as sleepovers, birthday parties… the emptiness is haunting. In fact it is impossible for me to capture here in a post the impact of this tragedy on our little family. (Which pales in comparison to his own family’s loss, in particular his mother, my friend Jane.) …And my son looks at me with those soft brown eyes and simply asks me “Why?”
I gave him the only answer that fit to me: Mental illness is a serious disease that people too often dismiss as weakness. Without the right treatment and proper medication, it can be lethal. Depression is an evil from the pit of hell! When the world goes dark and hope is lost for the loved one with this illness, there isn’t much anyone can do to help at that point. We need to talk to each other sooner, and keep talking to each other- and not dismiss them. Jane loved her son more than anything and did what she could for that young man. Not everyone with this disease has that…
What is one to do with all of this? It’s difficult to process so much pain and sorrow in the wake of this loss…
I ran across some timely wisdom from one of my favorite authors:
“Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness a shared experience, an transform despair into hope…” – Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness
This is what I want my songwriting to be. This is the ultimate goal. This is where the energy of my sorrow will be transformed. And then maybe, just maybe, someone won’t feel quite so alone or lost… and see the hope that I have… and choose life like I did.
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2
“See ya later, Bran… We miss you…”