This I Believe

David - lindstrom, Minnesota
Entered on March 19, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death, family
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I’ve been calling it tsunami. It’s an oceananic wave of emotion that swells from behind my shoulders surging straight down my body making my throat ache as I try to control the flow and speed of the rush. It fills me completely, sometimes overflowing from my eyes. When my son died late in February I didn’t understand catastrophic loss or the ability to have physical pain from his death, but I understand it now.

Before my son took his life we talked about being and feeling normal which was his lifelong goal. The best I could do at the time is talk about how time is the great leveler; after all fear, insecurity, awkwardness–all become less raw as the scar tissue of time layers over our daily experiences and lives. Today I think differently.

Today I think it’s hard to watch the crowd and wish you were part of it, even influenced by time that feeling really never goes away. I wish now I could go back to those conversations with the understanding that he was really saying being part of the crowd you covet is how we feel warm, comfortable, secure and most importantly normal.

What is it that stops us from just showing up and joining the crowd? What holds us down doesn’t seem to be any of the big ones: anger, jealousy, hate, envy or disdain. I think it’s something else; something tiny, something we ignore or brush off like some insignificant insect or perhaps an army of tiny things. Things like Jealousy or Hate – those are easy to see, you can brace for impact. You can clearly see the original offending event and the subsequent path that lead to the destruction. What about the tiny feelings though? Tiny feelings that converge like tributaries feeding the gully that starts to carve a creek. One feeds the next until it swells and the levee breaks. The water spills out so far you can’t find the edges. It creates a flood that doesn’t leave a path, just a scenic wasteland of burden like the aftermath of a tsunami.

Uneasiness is tiny. Being uncomfortable, shyness, and nervousness are all tiny feelings. Timidity, perhaps procrastination and hurt are also all tiny things by themselves. Putting all these feelings together all at once though may be a feeling greater than anyone can imagine. I’m sure together they make a feeling all their own, but I don’t know what to call it.

When things bothered Ben or when he wanted to ease the tension over a situation he would just say Delaware and then stare at you. It would catch you so off guard you would just step back and smile. That is a memory I plan to take forward. I’m going to take that memory forward and I’m going to share it with you. I’m going to share it with you by applying it to the unnamed tiny feelings that chip away at our stability. I’m going to apply that memory to the feelings that stop us from feeling normal.

“Delaware: It’s hard to watch the crowd and wish you were part of it … It doesn’t stop us from accepting those who come to join us but it stops us from seeking others to join us.”