It is not a pleasant thing, letting go, even temporarily, something you love. Yesterday I watched my son march away to serve for two years, and yet that wasn’t all I was letting go. I must confess I LOVE my family–when we are all together, the five of us, I experience a depth of joy that I never thought possible. Yesterday I watched that go away for possibly as long as three years, God willing we all stay healthy and alive through that time. So, as Aaron headed up that hill to get his missionary name tag, more was leaving than just him.
I am somewhat physically ill from the experience, and that hasn’t been pleasant. I am not as excited as him yet for this two years to transpire (he was impressively excited to go). I have found some things that seem to help.
I read a book a few years ago called My Stroke of Insight about a brain scientist who experienced a stroke in the left side of her brain. What I remember most about her story was how difficult it was to MAKE herself recover and force her left brain to work again. She explained: the left brain keeps track of everything, all the obligations, all the grudges, all the stuff that causes us stress; whereas the right brain not only houses the creative side of our personalities, it is also the side that just enjoys life. There are no lists, no angry memories, nothing to cause us distress or pain. So, she was always just HAPPY while her left brain was off line. Who could blame her for not wanting to bring all that back?
|He seems to be thinking, “Get on with it!”|
When I got home from Provo last night, with that book in mind, I sat down and wrote Aaron a letter. But, it wasn’t a letter where I just gave him a listing of stuff that happened after we dropped him off. I included pictures and anecdotes and metaphors. I created my own little work of art, and that creativity gave me a wonderful reprieve from the grief of seeing Aaron go, just as writing this blog post is helping get my mind off of it now.
I know that Aaron is going to have experiences of a lifetime on his mission–he will change for the better, and peoples’ lives will change due to his tremendous influence. I know this is a good thing. I also know that my grief is real and that it will likely not go away entirely as long as he is gone. However, I am learning some things. I am learning that his experience is more important than my grief–I would never in a million years call him back home so I can feel better. I am learning to redirect and focus on other things so that my grief doesn’t shut me down for others who still need me. And, possibly most importantly, I am learning a little bit what it is like to give up my son to save (some of) the world. If some sadness and an upset stomach is the price to pay to learn those things in just 24 hours, bring it on.
|There he goes with his helper, Elder Walton–just his presence helped me know Aaron would be escorted and would not feel alone at any time. They do a good job there at the MTC…|