What really was a solution
What really was a solution was talking to other bereaved parents. Reading books by people whose children had died. Stopping the drugs that dulled my mind and my soul. Forcing myself with the small amount of energy I had, to do one thing I didn’t feel like doing every day, even if that was just to get up out of bed. To look at seeing the sunrise as a great accomplishment. To allow my friends to carry hope for me until I could find it for myself.
And hope I have now. Joy has become a constant companion. I can smile when I look at his pictures, and think of the way he lived and not the way he died. I did not move to another home, I did not change jobs. I no longer withdraw from people who love me out of fear that I will confront agonizing pain again.
My life has evolved to a new normal, where I share my expectations and hope with others. I speak freely about my challenges and triumphs concerning my life after the death of my child. I attempt to be present in the moment as I travel through my busy days. No longer am I plagued with anxiety and fear that my other children will be dead too, when, as young adults, they do not call for a week.
Yesterday I attended a birthday party for my friend Evi’s daughter’s two-year-old son. I was grateful I had lived another day, and could be a part of another young man’s beginning. After Terry died, my friend Evi cooked for me, cleaned my house, and reminded me I’d feel better one day. She had been his teacher in elementary school. Two years ago, she called me after her youngest child was killed in a freeway accident. All that I had been given, all that I had learned, I gave willingly to her, as she bravely traveled her own path through this dark tunnel of grief.
And so it is. How valuable our experiences in life become. The wisdom of a triumph over adversity. May we all walk in compassion and peace with each other.
Julie’s son Terence was kidnapped and murdered March 4, 1999. He was helping an indigenous tribe, the Uwa, defend their land in Colombia from oil exploration by the Shell and Occidental Oil Companies. Julie’s surviving children are Kian, who lives in New York and sings opera, and Mihal, who lives in Israel on a kibbutz.