Trials and Tribulations


This last month of graduation brought forth a plethora of tributes to Jason. I am feeling closure around the school’s honoring of their lost classmate and recognition of Jason’s talents as an artist and musician. I’m the proud mother, supported in my grieving, as I witness others feeling supported in their grieving as well (better late than never). This culture is not comfortable with death, and there are ways that work for every community, such as standing ovations in lieu of words. Grieving is so important.

With tributes come tribulations.

“I don’t want the awards and tributes. I want my son back.”

Jason probably wouldn’t have received the Renaissance Award if he were still alive because his works wouldn’t have been known the way they are now. He was so “outta there” his junior year, and didn’t care to share his photography at school art shows. I’m still feeling out ways to recover from discovering Jason’s best music, and almost half of it, after he died. His close friends hadn’t heard the pieces either. He wrote in his journal that he didn’t think his music was that good; I believe he was changing his mind about that when he wrote a lot a few months before he passed. He just didn’t share it with others; it was too powerful in some way. Perhaps he wanted to be a normal teenager without getting too much attention or experiencing people getting intimated by him; getting accolades through the internet through DeviantArt worked well for him.

“I’m the dead kid’s mother.”

There was a huge turnout of the local community at Jason’s funeral ceremony (most of the names of the register I didn’t recognize), but less than a handful of parents and teachers reached out to me after the ceremony. When I would see someone in town I could feel their resistance to connecting with me. I was a reminder of their pain, of their own triggers about imagining losing their own child and their difficulty dealing with a death so tragic.

At the Renaissance Award I sat with Kule and the family of one of Jason’s closest friends, Gus. That was my bubble; I could actually enjoy the awards ceremony; it was creative and a celebration of so many students’ gifts. I found myself in appreciation again that we had moved to Ipswich to get Jason into the arts-oriented school. Jason’s award drew a standing ovation, but only one parent or student came up to me before or after.

Before the ceremony started, I said hello to one mother who I had had lunch with a year before (she is a consultant, too), and she thanked me for some advice I had given her. When I mentioned I hadn’t seen her since Jason died and I was curious why she hadn’t contacted me (I took a risk here….), she looked puzzled and said we weren’t close, and found a way to edge away. Another mother sitting at our table, who I had met a few times before, told me she wasn’t interested in reading my blog because she has her own spiritual path as a Christian. I was imagining the stories people might have about my perceived pagan-ness, perhaps related to witches burned at the stake in this area years ago……ouch.

I got a big hit that night, after the deluge of grief that washed over me upon returning home. I got so strongly that I should not attend the Senior Banquet because my presence is a reminder of heaviness that would spoil the festivities. That felt right to me. However, when Jason’s good friend Evan contacted me to ask if I would go because he was giving a tribute to Jason (with Jason’s photographs and music), I wanted to go and couldn’t because I had a bad cold. Chuck did a 180 and went to the event; I appreciated seeing his video. Evan did a wonderful job, and the standing ovation was also very touching.

“And now for something lighter….”

was the Principal’s line after Evan’s tribute to Jason; Chuck was amazed at the lack of awareness.

Bottom Line –
People don’t like heaviness. They don’t like being reminded of death and pain. My decision to not go to graduation was a no-brainer relief. I was grateful for what we received, and that is that.

Jason had already graduated, and I felt complete with his school. Graduation day came and went and I was immersed in sacred chant and music and even forgot it was the 10 month anniversary of his passing.

“I moved to Ipswich for Jason, so I would be stuck if I stayed here.”

I’m ready to move. I’m also conflicted. I have so much wonderful virtual community in the Boston area, even though Ipswich as a town has not met my need for the type of community I want to live in and I want to try living outside New England. I’m working hard to move and there are some logistical complications around getting the house ready, getting the right tenants, and balancing all of this with my busy consulting business and my biggest project of the year – grieving. It’s been overwhelming, and my body revolted with a bad cold. I got the message then – time to slow down and take care of myself.

“I don’t know where I’m headed.”

Jason is gone and I’m completely free to follow my passion – and I need to, to best honor Jason. He would want me to. I don’t have anyone to take care of except my travel partner Kule. Even Annaper the cat is taken care of; she just moved to Auntie Liz’s. There’s an incredible excitement about this, and it also brings up an old pattern (one I think all humans with an active mind have) that I want to know what is going to happen, to control what happens. I’m being tested big time, and I’m somewhat passing the tests to be aware of letting go of this pattern.

I’m coming full circle to Jason’s message to Be. It really is the way to happiness.

Tribulations turn into Tributes when I shift to this state of Being,