how it feels

I don’t know and can’t possibly imagine how it feels to lose both of your children. Both, taken in an instant, while the 16-year old was driving. The 12-year old riding along with his sister. On spring break, along the a road I’ve traveled so many times between Spanish Fork and Moab. My 16-year old son met her once. She attended Bonneville High School, ran track, played basketball. Some of his friends knew her quite well. He’s asked about taking the car, with his friends, for a trip to southern Utah. What do I say now?

I’m stunned as I try to imagine how the parents of these two young people feel. They have no other children, at least according to the obituary in today’s paper. What do they do now? Have more children? Adopt some? Become numb?

When I first started taking anti-depressants in 2002, I went numb. I was taking Prozac, generically called Fluoxetine. I have a vivd recollection of staring out the window, watching my children play–they were 2 and 4–and thinking if they were hit by a car I wouldn’t mind. I remember thinking it wouldn’t phase me. The feeling, the realization that I lacked feeling, jolted me. I called my physician, made an appointment, and quickly transitioned to a new drug…one that allowed me to feel. I didn’t want to cry all the time, as I had been, but I did want to feel emotion.

The flat-line effect terrified me. I used to say I craved numbness, but having experienced it for a couple of months, I no longer say that. I want to cry, to rage, to grieve, to ache, to rejoice, to smile with utter joy at the gift of my childrens’ lives. I know how all of that feels. But I don’t know how the loss of their lives would feel. I imagine sending empathetic strands toward the parents, weaving these strands into blankets of love and love and love that will wrap around them, holding them together until they find a way to stand again.

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
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