It is a blessing that my daughter and her young family live close by. We are privileged that we get to see each other frequently. Sometimes an impromptu sleepover happens with my 2 ½ year old grandson. He looks so much like his uncle Connor with blue eyes and a cute round baby face. He acts so much like his uncle – climbing on things then jumping off them. He is infatuated with any type of ball. He has no fear with a bit of mischievousness mixed in.
Unfortunately, Jameson will never meet his uncle because Connor died by suicide before he was born. I do my best to focus on Jameson for who he is and not fill the void of Connor’s absence. However, every so often, tears roll down my cheeks as Jameson remind me so much of my son, his uncle.
On Jameson’s last sleep over, we took a walk after dark. The sound of the cars on the highway just over the hill was a constant hum. As we continued our walk, I heard the chirp of crickets. We stopped and I asked him if he could hear the cricket’s chirp. All he could hear was the drone of the cars. I made my best chirp-chirp sound to help him. It didn’t help – I am not a good cricket chirper. He was still unable to distinguish the sound from the cars and crickets.
When we got home, we watched some videos of crickets so he could hear and see them. He was excited to learn about them and asked to watch the videos several times.
The next time we took a walk, I asked Jameson what he heard. He told me cars. I encouraged him to focus on the crickets, reminding him of the videos we watched a few days before.
Now he got it! He tuned out the noise of the cars and focused on the chirp of the crickets. The cars hum fell to the background and crickets became the focus. He had shifted his attention away from the unpleasant sound of the cars to the fun and joyful crickets.
As I watched him, it made me think about grief and moving forward through it. In grief, you have a choice on what you focus on. Just like Jameson could hear the crickets and tuned out the cars. You can continue to focus on the horrible tragedy and tell yourself you will forever be miserable or focus on stepping into your new norm. What you do with what has happened is up to you.
You can learn about grief and how to move through it, focusing on something that brings you joy, or something that is like a thorn in your side. You are meant to live a fulfilling life after the loss of a loved one. Focus on things that bring you joy and happiness. Once day, that can come from the memories of your loved one.