Friday, January 15, 2010

Grieving for good.

If you caught Oprah yesterday, you heard about Nate Berkus helping 12-year-old Aaron and his family work through grief over losing Aaron's twin brother, Eric, three years ago. These adorable twin boys were born to loving parents and welcomed by an older brother. Precious. Joyful. Happy.

"From the womb, Aaron and Eric were inseparable. "In the sonogram we saw once, they were holding hands," Angela [mother] says."

As the story progressed past the opening, I began to feel anxious. Oh, no. What happened to Aaron? We're getting closer ... they're going to explain what happened ... oh, no ... please, God, please don't them say "brain tumor," please ...

"Eric was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Treatment reduced the tumor to nearly nothing, but it came back. This time it was cancerous. Three months later, Eric died at age 9."

I lost it.

This lovely family, happy boys, decimated by something that no parent can control, prevent or cure. A 9-year-old boy so sad over the loss of his brother tells his parents, who just lost one child, that he doesn't want to be here anymore. The agony, the heartache, the loss, the confusion, the unanswered questions and the unrelenting pain that is yours to feel first thing every morning without escape, without relief, without cessation, no matter your pleading for grace, comfort and understanding.

"When Christmas came, we went into a toy store. I couldn't breathe," [says Angela.]

Three years later, the emotional devastation remains.
"There are some days it's just not possible. I feel I'm still under the covers and it just doesn't go away. There's always something. There's a song on the radio, you have his birthday, then you've got the day he died. And that month, I just scratch it off 'cause I can't get anything done ... then Thanksgiving rolls around, then Christmas rolls around.

I feel like somebody's just sticking it in my face: he's gone, he's gone, he's gone, he's gone."

Nate responded,"Like everything is designed to remind you."

Isn't that the truth? You feel tortured, blindsided by a tune, a photo, a phrase, a word, a scent, a stranger's laugh, a sock that you thought was long gone, Easter dresses, a TV rerun, a train whistle ... you think you're relatively okay and then, without warning, without intention, sucker-punched.

"[Grief is] not a road that you just pass these landmarks and then eventually you're fine," he says. "I know that it's a road that you're on that some days you feel really strong and then some days you're back to, like, a complete horror. And I felt that in their house ...

You have no idea the pain that people walk around with," says Nate."

So true. Just another reminder that we need to be gentle with one another, to exhibit compassion as we would want others to be compassionate with us–because pain this large often distorts thoughts, words and deeds.

With compassion and support from his pediatrician, parents, Nate and Paula Deen, Aaron is baking in honor of his brother Eric, a little business where he bakes cookies, sells them and gives the money to charity. Love this.

And from us, I believe the work we're doing here with The Kyrie Foundation is for Eric, too.


Ashley Wasser said...

This is just what I needed to read this morning. I haven't been on blogger in awhile and just happened to look today. Thank you. I didn't lose a child, but I lost my mother when I was 25 (2 years ago) and my daughter was 6 mths old. This week has been hard for me because, like you said, there are constant reminders. For some reason, this week has been harder than others. Thanks again!

goldenlion727 said...

Another reminder what The Kyrie Foundation is doing!!! I am ready to see what 2010 holds and what goals "we" can achieve! Thank you Megan for all you do and your wonderful words of inspirational.