In one of our last conversations, Tom expressed to me that he was upset by my blue jay story because it seemed as if I was capitalizing on his missteps. It has been heavy on my heart. I apologized that day and rewrote the story in a way that honored him.
The thing is that we are all flawed. Every one of us makes mistakes, has regrets, and would love a redo sometimes. I’m no exception, and Tom wasn’t either. But that is what makes being human beautiful. We are able to learn from our missteps, challenges, and even our wins. While our relationship wasn’t all sunshine and daisies, we loved each other intensely. Our mistakes don’t take away from that and we forgave each other that day.
This platform, my blog, my social media following, is something that I am immensely grateful for. My mom told me this morning, “Give yourself time to make sure about what goes public.” My response was that I feel that the universe has always used me as a writer, a sharer. I have never held back, even if the consequences are uncomfortable. This is how I heal and the byproduct is hopefully having the opportunity to help others heal. There have been times that sharing my story has hurt others, and that is never my intention. I share my story freely but aim to respect those involved in that story.
My post for Tom has so far been read by almost 900 people in 24 hours. It surpassed the number of people that have visited my homepage all month. At first glance, I feel so grateful to have been able to reach that many people with who Tom was and how he will be remembered. Then I fear that, because it is on my business’s website, it has crossed a line. I had no idea it would reach so many, and I’ve been in knots about it since yesterday. But what I have come to realize is that this platform is a blessing and a gift. I have established something here that intermingles my personal life and my business because my business is my passion and it is personal. I’ve poured my heart into this blog because writing is my tool to heal and to help.
When my dad died, I remember hearing a lot about the “new normal” we must find in grief. There is no “normal” anymore. We have to find a place that somehow balances our sorrow and living our life. Since Friday, two things have run through my mind thousands of times: the phrase “Life is for the living,” and a scene from 1883 where Elsa is lying in a field and finds her new normal in a beautiful and profound way. Obviously, countless other thoughts have been on a similar loop, but those two are the sources of my strength.
Tom loved music. Not like a casual kind of love. Like, music was a part of him. He didn’t just listen to music, he experienced it. He became a part of it and let it become a part of him. We sent each other songs constantly. I thought I had a pretty decent playlist on Spotify, but then he told me how many songs he had (somewhere around 10,000) and I was in disbelief. Not only because of the sheer number of songs that he had curated but the fact that he knew every single one of those songs. He knew the artist, the title, the lyrics, the album name of every one of those songs. One major part of my healing has been music. I’m a believer in fate. I believe that God is energy that exists in every living thing (music included), I believe that when a body dies, the soul and energy within it does not. And I believe that music finds its listener. Last night, a song came on that just hit home. It was like he sent it to me. It’s “We Went Our Own Ways” by Matt Storm. It’s profound yet upbeat, just like Tom. Give it a listen. I’ve had it on repeat.
While my heart will continue to ache and I will continue to wake up feeling like I’m in a bad dream, I know I must keep moving forward. I must move forward for Tom, for Truett, for myslef, and Garrott, and everyone in my life. I told Truett the other day that it is okay for him to cry and be sad. He said to me that I didn’t seem to be sad anymore because I’m not crying. I told him that I will always be sad that we lost his dad but that he would want us to move forward and be happy. It’s difficult to walk a five-year-old through grief. I want him to be at peace, but I also want him to know that it’s okay to show difficult emotions.
Life is messy, complicated, and beautiful. We experience loss, failure, and heartbreak. We also have the privilege to experience love, connection, victories, and healing. It is the valleys in life that make the peaks amazing. We are so lucky to have had Tom in our lives. If he’s with us, he’s probably telling me “Kens, you’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna make sure Truett is okay. And you better stop crying,” and then giving me a soul hug.
The best way that I can honor him is to continue doing what I love, allowing him to continue to inspire my writing and my art, to be the best mother I can be to his baby boy, and to keep moving forward.
This will likely be my last post about him because he didn’t like all of the attention. He’s probably shaking his head at me right now for dwelling so much. It will be my last post not because I am not missing him deeply, but because he would want me to move on and show others that it is possible to heal and find the new normal… and to make the new normal more beautiful than the old normal.
I always have and always will love you, Tom. ONWARD!
“There’s no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.”
– Jon Snow
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you. “
– Tyrion Lannister
Feb 10, 2022