Draft of A Speech at a Conference on Death and Dieing (What fun) Dealing with Your Grief

150px-Venn0001.svg

I AM SURE MANY OF YOU IN THIS ROOM WERE TREATED TO THE LITTLE SNOW STORM WE HAD DURING THE WEEK. AND, OF THOSE OF YOU WHO SAW THE SNOW I AM SURE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS A RARE AND BEAUTIFUL SIGHT. WELL, NOT SO MUCH TO ME.

BACK IN 2001 MY SON, ZACHARY, AND I DROVE FROM OHIO TO OUR NEW HOME IN NEW MEXICO FOLLOWING CHRISTMAS WITH THE FAMILY. THE DAY AFTER WE GOT BACK INTO NEW MEXICO, IT SNOWED. ZACK AND I STOOD ON OUR LITTLE BALCONY AND AFTER CHATTING A BIT, I TOOK A PICTURE OF SNOW ON A PALM TREE. WE WENT BACK INSIDE.

THAT IS WHAT THE SNOW THE OTHER DAY REMINDED ME OF; MY SON. EVERYTHING REMINDS ME, IN SOME WAY, OF HIM. NO MATTER WHERE I LOOK, WHAT CONVERSATION I AM HAVING, NO MATTER THE THOUGHT TRICKLING THROUGH MY BRAIN, I AM REMINDED OF MY SON.

BUT THE TRUTH IS, EVEN THOUGH EVERYWHERE I LOOK I AM REMINDED OF HIM, NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY, I CANNOT FIND MY SON.

BECAUSE HE’S NOT THERE.

SINCE MY SON DIED, THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES THAT THESE LITTLE REMINDERS OF HIS LIFE, LIKE WHEN I SEE A DAD SHOOTING HOOPS WITH HIS SON, JUST PILE UP ON ONE ANOTHER UNTIL THEY JUST BECOME OVERWHELMING AND I THINK TO MYSELF: ENOUGH! I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE. PLEASE, JUST STOP

THEN, THERE ARE OTHER TIMES, TIMES WHEN I MISS HIS PHYSICAL PRESENCE SO MUCH THAT THE PAIN BECOMES A BURDEN TOO GREAT TO BARE. HOW MUCH I WOULD GIVE? EVERYTHING, I WOULD GIVE, EVERYTHING, JUST TO CATCH A GLIMPSE, A WHISPER, A NOD OF HIS HEAD; OF HIM AGAIN.

AND I THINK TO MYSELF: ENOUGH! HE’S NOT THERE. SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE THIS PAIN AWAY.

THOSE ARE THE DAYS OF SOLITUDE AND PAIN. THOSE ARE THE DAYS WE HIDE FROM FRIENDS AND EVEN FAMILY BECAUSE THE TIME IS LONG PASSED FOR US TO HAVE “MOVED ON.”

BUT THEN ONE DAY, AS I WAS SITTING THERE AND THINKING ABOUT ZACK, AND GRIEF AND LIFE AND ALL THAT CRAP WHEN I HAD A THOUGHT AND IT IS THIS THOUGHT THAR BARBARA WANT ME TO SHARE WITH YOU. THAT THOUGHT WAS:

ZACHARY IS EVERYWHERE. ZACHARY IS NOWHERE.

I REMEMBER THIS THOUGHT COMING TO ME ONE DAY AND FOR WHATEVER REASON, MY GRIEF CRYSTALLIZED IN MY MIND:

I ACHE BECAUSE EVERYTHING, EVERY DAMN THING, SOMEHOW REMINDS ME OF MY SON.

I ACHE BECAUSE I CANNOT FIND ZACK ANYWHERE. HE IS NOWHERE.

AND IT DAWNED ON MY THAT MY WORSE MOMENTS WHERE WHEN I WAS EITHER FOCUSED ON THE CONSTANT STREAM OF REMINDERS, OR WHEN I WAS FOCUSED ON THE FACT THAT ZACK WAS NOT PRESENT. SO I THOUGHT IF I COULD JUST ACCEPT THE FACT THAT EVERYWHERE I LOOK, I WILL SEE ZACK, BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, UNDERSTAND THAT I WILL NOT SEE HIM AGAIN, IN THIS WORLD ANYWAY, THAT I WOULD FEEL BETTER, AND I DID, FOR SOME REASON.

USE VENN DIAGRAM HERE

WHEN I EMBRACED THESE TWO ESSENTIAL TRUTHS: ZACK IS EVERYWHERE; ZACK IS NOWHERE, THE CONSTANT REMINDERS BECAME LESS OF A BURDEN AND, IN FACT, LESSENED THE PAIN OF HIS LACK OF PHYSICAL PRESENCE IN MY WORLD.

NOW, IT IS STILL A DAILY STRUGGLE TO STAY HERE, IN THE AREA OF MY VENN DIAGRAM, WHERE THE TWO CIRCLES INTERSECT. THERE ARE DAYS WHERE SOMETHING REMINDS ME SO STRONGLY OF HIM THAT I CANNOT HELP BUT BOW MY HEAD AND CRY. AND THERE ARE OTHER DAYS, WHEN I SO WISHED HE WERE HERE TO SHARE SOMETHING WITH ME THAT MY HEART, LITERALLY, FEELS LIKE IT IS GOING TO BREAK RIBS.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, I DECIDED THAT IS OK. THAT I DESERVE THOSE DAYS AND MY SON DESERVES THOSE DAYS AS WELL. BUT ON BALANCE, I FELT BETTER.

WHETHER THAT WORKS FOR YOU OR NOT IS PERSONAL. THAT THOUGHT, THAT DIAGRAM HELPED ME: i EMBRACE THE MEMORIES. I TAKE HOLD OF THE THOUGHTS. I WALK WITH MY LOVED ONE. I TALK TO HIM , OUT LOUD. I DO AND I CAN BECAUSE HE IS EVERYWHERE.

BUT AS A FINAL THOUGHT, I JUST WANT TO READ A COUPLE PARAGRAPHS FROM THE FINAL BLOG ENTRY I AM WRITING ABOUT MY SON – MY PATH: FROM MURDER TO A NEW ORDINARY. I WROTE THIS JUST A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO AND I AM WRITING TO OTHERS WHO STUMBLE ON MY BLOG IS SEARCH OF SOME COMFORT:

YOU CAN, YOU MAY, YOU HAVE THE WORLD’S PERMISSION TO, COME BACK OUT INTO THE LIGHT NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH, NO MATTER HOW DARK THE PATH AHEAD LOOKS. DARKNESS IS BUT THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT. YOU, MY FRIEND, MAY SHINE AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO, SOMETIME FROM NOW. YOU ARE YOUR OWN LIGHT SOURCE. YOU ARE YOUR OWN AA BATTERIES, SOLIDLY BUILT WITH STORED ENERGY WITHIN, READY TO BE RELEASED BACK UPON THE WORLD. YOU ARE LIKE GLOWING LIGHT, RED EMBERS, HEARTH COALS, OF RADIATED WARMTH AND UNIVERSAL BLESSINGS.

YOU! NOT A FLASHLIGHT, NOT THE SUN, NOT A BULB OR A LCD SHIMMER, YOU AND ONLY YOU CAN SHED THE DARK WITH WHITE LIGHT. YOU. IT HAS TO BE YOU. THERE IS NO ARTIFICIAL LIGHT TO RELY UPON. NO SWITCH. NO EXTERNAL POWER SOURCE. JUST YOU. IN THE END, THERE IS ONLY YOU.

AND YOU HAVE BEEN PLACED DIRECTLY ONTO THE CRAPPER.

FEELING BETTER DOES NOT DIMINISH THE MEMORY OF THE LIFE OF YOUR LOVED ONE. YOU ALREADY HAVE THE WORLD’S PERMISSION FEEL BETTER, SO THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM. WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IS PICK YOUR LOVED ONE UP AND CARRY THEM WITH YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY. BE GRATEFUL THAT SO MANY THINGS IN THE WORLD BRING BACK BLESSED MEMORIES, DO NOT HIDE OR SHRINK AWAY FROM THEM. ACCEPT THE FACT THAT DESPITE THESE MEMORIES, YOU LOVED ONE IS NOT RIGHT THERE, TO TOUCH AND TO HOLD.. AND YET, HE OR SHE IS THERE, THROUGH THE REMINDERS AND THE MEMORIES. WHEN THESE TWO REALITIES CO-EXIST IN YOUR MIND, YOUR HEART AND YOUR LIFE, I BELIEVE YOU HAVE COME TO GRIPS WITH YOUR GRIEF. IN MY OPINION, GRIEF NEVER GOES AWAY, THE PAIN NEVER FADES. YOUR HEART NEVER HEALS. BUT YOU HAVE SOMETHING POSITIVE THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS – EVERY WHERE YOU LOOK YOU SEE YOUR LOVED ONE, EVEN THOUGH HE OR SHE IS NOT PHYSICALLY THERE.

I DO NOT KNOW, NOR WILL I EVER KNOW, IF ANYTHING I SAY HELPS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, ALTHOUGH THAT IS MY INTENT. BUT LET ME BE CLEAR, THE RESOLUTION OF GRIEF IS PERSONAL, LONELY AND PAINFUL NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS TO YOU. TIME DOES NOT HEAL ALL WOUNDS. TIME ONLY GIVES YOU PERSPECTIVE, AND THIS IS MINE.

I BELIEVE YOU MUST GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CARRY ON WITH YOUR LIFE.

HOW CAN I MISS\

WHAT SURROUNDS ME?

THAT WHICH EXISTS

IN THE FORESTS

IN THE TREES

EVEN THE BIRDS

AND THE BEES

AND OUR DOGS

SING YOUR NAME

TO ME

HOW CAN I MISS

WHAT IS ALWAYS THERE

YOU EXIST IN SWEET NECTAR

IN MY VERY AIR

HOW CAN I MISS

WHAT I HAVE NEVER LOST?

THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE

A YOUNG CHILD’S COUGH

THE BOUNCE OF A BALL

A PICTURE ON THE WALL

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

TOO GREAT THE COST

WHY CAN’T I SEE

WHAT IS SO NEAR ME?

I FEEL YOUR PULL

AND YOUR PUSH

YOUR ASPIRATIONS

FOR ME

BUT MY SEARCH IS ALWAYS

EMPTY

WOEFUL

BEGOTTEN

HOW CAN I MISS

WHAT SURROUNDS ME?

I WILL TELL YOU HOW

I AM HUMAN, JUST ME.

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About daniel marco

For 23 years I practiced criminal defense. Then, on October 17, 2010, two men murdered my son. They were arrested a month later. It is a death penalty case. So I am coping not only with my son's death, but doubt about the purpose of my entire professional career.
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2 Responses to Draft of A Speech at a Conference on Death and Dieing (What fun) Dealing with Your Grief

  1. No words I say can take away your pain. I just want to tell you how beautifully written this was. It brought me back to thinking of when my father passed away in 2002. The pain inside when he passed, the good times felt gone. I didn’t want to get out of bed somedays, I wondered how others could be having fun when this horrible thing happened to our family. And that is the order it is “suppose” to happen, parents pass away first, not children. I can’t even imagine your pain of losing a child and in the manner it happened. Unbearable.

  2. Sally Davis says:

    Dan, this is fabulous. I hope very healing for you and encouraging for those who are listening. Your words are always so profound. Truly amazing. Thank you for sharing and helping those that need to hear or read them.

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