Tuesday night, we decided to try a trail we had never walked before—The Tobacco Road Trail for PE. This 23-mile trail is an abandoned railway that stretches between Wake, Chatham, and the southern part of Durham. Not only was the trail beautiful, but it also allowed me to bring this week’s "homeschooling" lesson on shapes, straight v. curved lines, and vertices alive to the kids. They really got into it, to my satisfaction.
Have you ever noticed bent trees and wondered how this came to be? Was it the wind or the rain? Was it the impact of repetitive storms that caused a structural change? Or simply an adaptation made for survival? It’s a fascinating phenomenon that I never considered before. Maybe I was too busy to notice. I guess, I don’t expect trees to bend. It’s quite beautiful and poetic, actually. Like a dancer—so graceful. Humble.
I imagine it took some time for those trees to get that way. It is difficult to yield when it’s not in your nature to do so. Like trees, we may be linear, rigid, inflexible even. And yet, so many trees appear to do just that--bend. Adjust. Surrender.
Reminds me of worship...
In my last meeting with my counselor, he suggested that I may be dealing with something called “Survivor’s Guilt.” Because I am wide awake at three in the morning again, I decided to finally explore what this is. According to Dr. Nancy Sherman, a blogger for “Psychology Today,” this is a continuous cycle of “counterfactual thoughts that you could have or should have done otherwise, though in fact you did nothing wrong.” Another blogger, Dr. Diana Raab, highlights that survivors may be susceptible to this due to unsettled, losses from the past. In short, I may be troubled by the false notion that I could have saved my daughters' lives if...
I have so many "ifs."
If only I had stayed awake a little longer.
If only I had woken up sooner...etc.
The truth is, I had no control over the timing of their deaths. They had rare, incurable/fatal, genetic diseases. In both cases, I was in deep sleep and even in the same room, as they slipped away from this life into eternity. I couldn’t do anything to extend their lives here on earth—here with me—with us, for that matter. I could not heal them. In both cases, once I realized something was wrong, I immediately jumped into emergency mode. Yet, I was rendered powerless against God’s eternal clock.
I realize that I have to stop this "Survivor's Guilt" cycle. I have been and I am traumatized. (Never articulated this to anyone but my husband before.) All I know is that I tried my best.
My invisible limp.
Caveat: 1. I really tried my best to resist the urge for using APA citation (for my academic friends). 2. I still believe...yes, my girls are now forever healed.
This morning, my daughter Keren was upset because she believed that if she used her dry erase marker too much, the one her teacher gave her, she would use it all up and have to throw it away. She knew that this was the fate of dead markers. I was frustrated and told her that markers were meant to be used. She was crying real tears! I couldn't believe what was happening. So you know what I did, right? I gave her a whole, new dry erase marker. Her tears eventually subsided but not until after she asked whether this new, skinnier marker was a dry erase marker.
A few months ago, I started meeting with my counselor again to help deal with grief and the pressures of being a caretaker. I shared a poem with him that I had written about life and the background behind it. After hearing it, he encouraged me to publish it. Although, I’ve not done that yet, I will always remember his encouragement. He said, “Keep writing no matter how dark it may seem because I am certain that God’s light will shine through.” It somehow gave me relief because internally, I don’t think people really want to deal with death or discuss it, for that matter. Maybe, I have been “people” because it is certainly difficult to process.
Don’t worry, if you are one of these “people” my blog will not focus solely on death but hopefully, it will be a commentary on life with all of its joys and pains. However, since my youngest daughter, Kelyn, recently passed, I must admit that I will be processing my thoughts through my writing. I hope that my transparency will help someone who is grieving right now. You are not alone. I am praying for you.
New Jersey Native. Proud Haitian-American. UNC-Chapel Hill (First-Generation College) Graduate. Double Tar Heel who obtained a Doctorate from NC State. Educator. Devoted Daughter and Sister. Loving Wife and Mother. Lover of People. Photographer. Poet. Home Chef. Singer. Worshiper. Preacher and Motivational Speaker. Virtuous Woman. I am who I am by the Grace of God.