In November 2016, 2 years after our son Sam died, I decided to write a blog post every day, telling the story of his last illness. This was intended as a probing examination of my own heart, to uncover unresolved issues in my grieving that still needed dealing with for a healthy recovery. At the 2 year mark I wanted to draw a line, but had to be sure I wasn’t being hasty or leaving behind wounds that I’d ignored and would later become infected. Paradoxically, as I looked back at the details of those roller-coaster days I found could enter into them in a way I had not been able to at the time and feel them in a deeper way. Writing is truly a therapeutic outlet.
Writers want to be read. Journalling privately has it’s place of course, but blogging involves every reader who comes across the online post, known or unknown to the author. Personal friends had shared much of the story with us already – the years of living with the terminal diagnosis of brain cancer since 2010 and our son’s response to it are fully documented on a previous blog. These close companions deserved to hear a proper telling of the end of the chapter. Still others may come to Sam’s story late – through connections, via facebook, or just by clicking on a wordpress link – and be drawn in to discover empathy or truth for their own situations: we can all learn from someone else’s life experiences. I really wanted this effort to have a positive impact on those who read it – and the comments on the individual posts would indicate that happened for many people. There is not much honest writing about death and dying and my determination to change that is a strongly-felt passion, Sharing it somehow helps to make it redemptive and give meaning to something so random and unfair.
Plus I just read this by an American writer (see here) and it sums up my life’s philosophy in a beautiful way. This is that…
‘One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity’.
Finally, these posts are a tribute to our son. I have tried to describe him – all the different aspects from childhood to his strong rejection of his disease and extraordinary fight to overcome it – as well as what happened to and around him at the end of his life.
So here are the relevant posts in chronological order. I don’t think ‘enjoy’ is the right word. Perhaps ‘benefit’, ‘be moved by reality’ and ‘see more clearly’ are closer to the mark.
14th November: Advance warning
15th November: Sister to the rescue
16th November: Catching our breath
17th November: Emergency brain scan, please
18th November: On the ward
19th November: Angry and frustrated
20th November: Sam back in charge
22nd November: Saturday
23rd November: Sunday
24th November: Into unconsciousness
25th November: Dying no more
Somehow – in reading, be blessed. We are.