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Outside Looking In After the Passing of My Son

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Some days, I don’t want to be me.

There are times when I step outside of myself and feel as though I am peering in through a window of a house I’m unfamiliar with and have never entered before. I’m simply not the person I once was before my son died. I lost my innocence the day he died; a part of who I was died with him. A burning candle was blown out, only not by a gentle wind. It was more like a violent thrashing tempest. All that had been within me had been tossed in disarray. New had become old overnight. Life had been drained from me. What came naturally, like breathing, suddenly needed a concerted effort. I had to be reminded by others to eat; the desire to survive ceased its existence.

This was unlike anything I had experienced before. I had survived rapes and abuse on many levels, but always a will to survive kept me going. I was a fighter. Others often described me as “feisty.” But became complaisant, simply obliging others and consenting to the wishes of others almost robotically. I was unable to focus or concentrate. I abandoned all decision making to those around me, trusting they knew what was best. I was sailing in uncharted territory within myself.

I became an abandoned house.

A dream-state became my reality. I had fallen into a catonic stupor, an impaired consciousness. Such a state was, and remains, indescribable to one who has not journeyed such territory. Yet, for those of us who have, we can communicate it with a mere glance. We who have sojourned this road of grief, have an uncanny recognition of one another. It has become our temporary home, a “road less traveled.”

Not by choice.

I took “the road not taken” by most. Nevertheless, I reside now inside that abandoned house.

The Road Not Taken — Poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct Textbook.

Follow this journey on Jude’s website.

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Thinkstock image by AnastasiaRasstrigina

Originally published: September 28, 2017
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