Sometimes when I look into the mirror I see it, sometimes I see what I have become because of it. What is “it” I’m talking about? It is the gaping wound in my heart and soul that was caused from the loss of my four year old boy the day he could not be revived after being pulled out of the water of a swimming pool at that water park I will never be taking my children to again. After fourteen years, I have learned a lot about healing and even more about myself and what it looks like as I continue on my journey after suffering through a tragedy that is so intense that the pain can still be seen in my eyes if you look close enough all these years later.
I see my healing process as chapters. I’m a writer, so everything is a story and each layer of healing is a chapter. Now, on June 13, 2018, (two days shy of fourteen years after my son left his physical body,) I was ready to come to the end of another chapter that has been waiting to close.
My son, Kaleb, would have been graduating this year. He would have been walking out on stage in his cap and gown just like all the other seniors were doing, shaking the principal’s hand and receiving his diploma. He would have been figuring out “what’s next?” and “where do I go from here?” I would have been needing to prepare myself for letting go of my son and sending him off into the real world. It’s weird to think about and strange when I realize I did this already. I sent him off into the world that he wasn’t going to come back from, at least physically. I tell you what, that chapter of healing was messy and painful and not one I ever wanted to be able write. However, I wasn’t given the choice on that one, only the choice to let go or hold on. I chose to let go, but still keep in touch in the best ways I could through feelings, and thoughts, and even prayer. Feeling that I could still reach him has been my saving grace. It has pulled me out from the depths of hell I was buried under. It has been the rope that allowed me to climb out of holes that were so deep I never thought I’d ever see the light again. That connection has kept me in this world I so desperately wanted to escape from forever.
This connection with my boy in his other realm has guided me through each step on my healing. I knew eventually one day, a layer of healing needed to happen. It has been pulling me since the day he drowned. I needed to go back to that place and no longer give it power over me. In fourteen years I have accidentally driven past this water park twice. Each time having a panic attack. Every time I heard it’s jingle on the radio I would get sick to my stomach and quickly change the station. The PTSD was powerful and I was ready to work through it. Being the action person I am, that meant actually going back to the place and physically standing in and releasing the energy it had on me. So, I did….
I wasn’t sure how I was going to react, feel, or do, I just knew that the timing was perfect. It was very symbolic as he would have been entering into a different phase of life at this time if he were still alive. I knew this day would come and I was ready. It suddenly fell into place and became the perfect day, the perfect moment and with the perfect person I needed as support. This experience had to be with someone who could keep me grounded, honor this moment, feel the sacredness of it, and hold me up if I fell, (emotionally and physically.)
As we got closer the energy that surrounded me shifted. I started talking about how I got to the place of ability and strength I did. I started recognizing the power I had within me to do the things that were unimaginable and terrifying. I was grounding myself by giving myself so much love and recognition for how far I’ve come, but also allowing myself to understand that this wound would never truly heal completely and that it was my lifelong burden to bear. When we arrived, I saw it. The pool area of the water park and even though it had been remodeled around it, I knew it was the place. I walked up to the fence and recognized I was standing right in front of the spot where my son’s lifeless body was pulled out of the pool and was unable to be resuscitated. I walked through the story out loud, pointing out places and conversations, and little details of what was and wasn’t there. I also noticed that now there were lifeguard stations so they could have a better view of the pool, where before, they were just walking back and forth. Then I took a deep breath and released the hold this place had on me, then turned and walked away. Not many words were spoken. I let the tears stream quietly down my face and that was it. Life, as it does, continued and I knew I was ready to help people at a deeper level. In releasing the power of this place, I was writing the end of this chapter I was being pulled to write for so long and just wasn’t ready. However, after moving through the motions of this moment I felt a shift in my heart, mind and soul. I finally took that step that I believed what one of the biggest I would have to face, to believe in myself that much more. It gave me the confidence to know that if I could conquer that, I could conquer anything…and now it’s time to do so. Everything that day lined up extremely synchronistically, mapping out the path and showing me how ready I truly am for success in my purpose of walking next to others, as a support for those who have suffered as I have, writing their personal chapters of their own healing story.
Two days later, on this tender day of fourteen years without my son, I am looking in the mirror at a woman who has suffered pain that most people never have to face in their lifetime, having gratitude for what I am made of and for who I am. I honor the story of my life that I am now choosing to write with purpose, intention and a belief that I will only continue to excel forward in this adventure we call life.