Compassion and Forgiveness

A Discovery...

I wrote this 8 years ago. I moved recently and came across it in the mess, and I had been reading several stories, and some comments and stories about wives' and mothers' losses of a spouse or a child... and the all consuming "Why? Why did you die? Why oh why God, did you take my love?"

The experience it talks about happened in Oct. 2002. When I found this letter just a short time ago, I had spent almost ten years wandering lost and with no reason to progress. A therapist finally diagnosed me with PTSD and began a treatment program and some medication and walking me through a recovery process.

He was startled at first by what he called a rather rapid adjustment to the treatment, so I suggested that perhaps it was the ten years of being homeless and searching for that all elusive "Why" (to the extent I could... though also, I was never conscious of the process...) ? I also have no recollection of writing this letter, partially the PTSD he suggested and partially due to the opiates I was injecting for about three of those years while at the worst.

Rereading it for the first time in 8 years was cathartic and renewing for me and helped me realize that it is all about LOVE. And Compassion. And Forgiveness. For yourself first, then all those people in your life, and this world.

So you might capture some of his essence...

As I remember...
As I remember...
During the long wait, after work until the early morning, for the birth of his daughter.
During the long wait, after work until the early morning, for the birth of his daughter.
His family, of which he was so proud, so happy. Just 2 months or so before his moving through this life and on to his next chapter.
His family, of which he was so proud, so happy. Just 2 months or so before his moving through this life and on to his next chapter.

A Letter to My Long Lost Son

June 25th, 2004

Dear Jess,

That Saturday when you came over and spent the day, in retrospect, was one of the most loving days in our lives together, in my life altogether. It was such a pleasant surprise, you dropping by unexpected at the trailer. You were so mellow and at peace with your life at that moment. Moving into your first place you could really call your own, taking responsibilities for the bills and ownership of your life.

We spent some time hanging pictures on the walls, your decorating creativity exceeding mine. How well your grand mom's and my little home looked when you were finished. That day we seemed to bond, growing closer than we had for the previous 10 or so years we had been living with my illness. Then, you seemed to grow weary.

And not since you were a little boy, you said you wanted to lay down on the couch with me and watch a movie for awhile. You leaning against my chest, your head resting on my shoulder. You grabbed my arm and brought it around to cross over your chest and you held my hand while we watched the movie.

I had not felt that warm and close to you in that way since you were an infant, and I would hold you in my arms while you ate, or slept, or just snuggled. The day was so incredibly poignant, and our lives had been so stressful for what had seemed such a long time snapping at each other, but you with your daughter and soon to be wife, your such high scores getting into the Navy's toughest program, my god, you had just begun to hunker down and become a father, husband, a career in the Navy, finishing computer school, and there I was, so proud of you becoming a man and so fearful of our history and future. Unknowing why until that phone call so early that morning of October 6, one week before your twenty fourth birthday.

Then, as our own family ritual whenever we wanted to celebrate an exceptional moment shared together in our lives, we talked about fixing a meal or going out. Cooking and eating together, competing for the best dish of the month... or best restaurant found... we went to the seafood restaurant which had just opened up around the corner. I remember, you ordered the South African lobster tails. And I had a few moments of fun remembering your first experience at about 6 years old with tasting that sweet tender meat of lobster.

Even when we were low on cash, when it came to seafood you chose your food with such distinction, ignoring the price and focusing on the morsels of sweet lobster or shrimp from the oceans of our world, focusing on rolling and chewing on each bite. Eating, a form of nurturing between guys without losing our societal inbred Manly role models. As usual, a good bottle of wine accompanied the meal and the meal was memorable on several levels.

And while there eating, the Universe was busy supporting you. Before we left, you had a job offer to run an art shop back room. You had several orders for pointillism portraits from people we ran into who had seen your portrait of that lovely little daughter of yours. Your Buddhist leanings showing up in the way you portrayed her happy little newborn face.

I remember that your Naval recruiter was so proud that he had found you, and the meeting I had with him earlier that week. You could earn no more stripes with which to enter Basic training in January... You had worked so hard and acquired such respect from your recruiter here, from the recruiters in Pittsburgh.

When they showed up at your funeral service with a boxed flag and the framed certificates, letters of commendation, I was overwhelmed with feelings of loss and guilt because until that moment, I must confess, as much as I loved you, as many times as I had seen you set your mind to a sport, or activity overcoming your fears I also remembered my too often parental fears getting in the way of my praising you and your actions.

I know I did praise you but I also know that I was far too meager with my praise and far too active with my parental criticism and judgement... learned from my parents the way all too many of us learn those skills.

The phone call came much later that night. At dinner you spoke of playing at a fundraiser that night and so about nine that night we left the restaurant. You gave me a hug, said "I love you Dad," and we went on our separate ways. I left feeling strangely fulfilled and satisfied. At first chalking it up to a really loving day spent with you and then contentment from an excellent meal and conversation.

I remember during dinner that on a couple of instances, comments from me that might have usually brought on frustration or argument just brought on a raised eyebrow, a small frown or sardonic moment, and then we continued on with our dinner, opening our hearts to each other like the flowers of jasmine in our front yard at the farm would open at spring time to release the sweet perfume in the sunlight... providing the nectar for those life forms dependent on it for their own growth.

It was about 4:00 am that the phone rang. It was E. one of your house mates who calmly said, "Mike, you better get over here. Jess is unconscious and the paramedics are here working on him... It doesn't look good."

I grabbed my chest in fear, threw on a pair of pants and shoes and rushed the 2 miles over to your house.

Where I found you on the kitchen floor, not breathing, surrounded by paramedics. They let me lean down and sit by your head, taking your face in my hands. You were turning cold, I said, "I love you, Jess," and went and sat in the living room while the medics did what they could. But you had passed on. They took your body out and I went home and told your grandmother that you had died, as yet of unknown causes and spent the next several months care-taking her to her death of lung disease.

I stressed into a relapse of my illness and hid inside myself. I forgot all of my spiritual teachings and experiences and my passion for life and the things we did together slowly died as I moved in my vacuum, an existence of hanging on with fingernails on a rock wall at best.

And, as you had done all your life, you were still with me even in my darkest moments, there with your arms around me, comforting me gently, forgiving all of the mistakes I had made in my efforts at raising you in a more loving environment than I had been, not yet realizing that we do what we are taught by those things our family, teachers and experience teach us.

And then C. told me of her dream. She moved into our little home trading a place to stay for help with your grand-mom's final months. Or so I thought.

At a time when I was having my own health difficulties and dealing with your passing. Some time had gone by when she told me that a week prior to your death you came to her in a dream. You had asked her if "you would take care of my dad if anything happened to me," and she said yes.

She said that at the time she just thought it was a weird dream, as she had not seen you for awhile.

I'm not sure yet my son, but you know I don't believe in coincidence. And you know my spirituality runs deep. And I know your love for me runs deep. Thank you for taking care of me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your teachings... your sharing of your so short life experience here on Earth with me as you chose to do.

I love you,

Dad

Thus, the Lesson

And so it wasn't until after I had read this long forgotten "goodbye" letter to that incredible being who graced me with his presence and who I called "My Son" that I remembered the two years in an empty apartment save for a mattress and a well used microwave. The months of my "sober" or "more sober than a minute ago" reflection, face covered in tears, trying to read from A Course In Miracles and just two or three other holy books from the East and the West in my pursuit of understanding.

Forty years of wandering across the Globe to foreign lands to gain insight to the understanding of their spiritual traditions, mostly before I even thought of having a son, bringing home experiences and their books.

The trauma of the long slow deaths of a grandmother, father and mother in just a few years while disabled from a chronic health issue myself... and care-taking and burying each of them in turn. A divorce and twenty years of single parenting, losing my retirement, my career, my health and my self identification...

And the final blow, the straw that shattered the little of the remaining existence of that person I once was long ago, the death of soul mate, my Bodhisattva, my son.

My Ego shattered in pieces and junked out, I merely left it laying on the floor. Spent my forty days in the desert, lost and wandering with what I thought was a purposeless existence. And now, that I am able to pierce that veil that the PTSD gave to me for refuge, I can finally say, and feel the truth of the words... words of a long ago soul mate and love, given to me at twenty (one more of the great teachers who have come into my life through the years).....

I come away a learned man.

An Epilogue which brings some closure...



To pause and click on the link, taking a moment to read the poem there, will only bring a deeper understanding of his story, this story and the underlying field which seems to connect the infinity with the now.

And will more than likely, bring one closer to a return of peace and acceptance that there are just some mysteries beyond our comprehension, that looking for an answer to unanswerable questions is best left alone and simply trusting your Creator.

I hope it does.

Blessing,

Namaste Namsker

© 2012 rmichaelf

Comments 26 comments

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Reading this piece of writing was like swimming through a turbulent ocean at night but You brought me to a sunny shore. What a travel!

I honestly do not know what to say, except that I am happy You made it across the dark waters. Thank You for sharing your experience, Mr. Michael.

All the best!


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

It is oh so good to see you old friend! Thank you for reading and commenting. I just posted this and went to do laundry. When I came back, lyricwriter had posted a new hub and the notice was in my mail box. I went to read it and when I signed in it took me to my home page and I saw the notice that you had been here. ...my heart, she leaps with laughter and joy :-)

This is the first piece I have done for a while, ey? I've been wrestling with some of the things I spoke of in the post, but seem to have so much which has been simmering for the last few decades rising to my awareness. And like a good stew, melding and bringing new flavors and insights.

I truly hope that whatever needed the break is "fixed" and I can continue my writing and meandering!

I look forward to future visits and conversations with you; reading your thoughts.

Michael


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Michael, I am so so sorry. Words can't describe how I feel right now and then I can only imagine what you have felt then and since. This is truly heartfelt Michael. I must say, I have never experienced this and until someone has, you just don't understand. The courage to publish this, I commend you for it. Not only does it help you heal in a sense, your son is forever remembered in this deeply touching article. I truly hope you are able to cope cause I know if it was me, it would be very difficult. It sounds like you have and I mean no disrespect, I just feel your pain. I pray that the Lord watches over you my friend and I am sure your son watches as well Michael. God Bless friend.


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

hey..... well..... to be honest tears are dripping down my cheeks.....i pray for the peace of the departed soul....words are very few to express my feelings....I do appreciate your courage and nicely relate to what you had even gone through while writing this......voted up and sharing is all what i can say, now. Thank you for sharing .


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. Your comment is so appreciated and I thank you for leaving it. And yes, it is a part of the healing process, but I'm not sure whether first my healing enabled me to write it or writing it enabled me to heal further..;-)

I also think that it may have taken you, and Mr. Happy, more courage to comment than it might have for me to write it. Rereading it now to keep your comments in perspective, I realize not only how overwhelming it was to write, but to read and then comment on as well.

But, though it was painful, the life lessons and insights I have as a result make me deeply grateful for having him... healing on so many levels..

Thank you,

Michael


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Wow..... This is too humbling! Your letter made me cry and I can't even imagine how you would have felt...... I wish you, and his family, peace....

Sharing....


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

dghbrh,

thank you for stopping by and reading my offering. I really didn't mean for this to seem about me, but to bring compassion and forgiveness to our awareness...

To remind people that we never know "the reason", that there may be purposes to our lives beyond any comprehending... for I am okay with it all now.

Not that I don't miss his presence, but that his soul's purpose might have been to move me closer to my soul's essence, closer to God.

And folks should read your poem, Worldwithoutyou, for your insights around all of "this."

Thank you so very much,

Michael


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

LaThing,

Thank you for your read and for your comment. I just was reading your "Relationship-Crying in the rain" and felt such a connection in our souls. We surely must share a life philosophy....

And maybe, what you say about how you "can't even imagine how you would have felt" after reading you story I think you do know. Maybe you can't imagine the pain, but I have the impression you know how I felt... :-)

thanks again,

Michael


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

I commend you for writing such a brave article. The tears must have been flowing when penning this heartbreaking and beautiful ode to your son. There are no words as I have never been graced with children. I can only say I send my sincerest of blessings to your family and yourself. I hated it when people would say to me "Time heals" and "he's in a a better place". They obviously had not had heartbreak and tragedy darken their doorway.

I am again sending kind thoughts your way and thank you again for such a sincere soul wrenching write. But it was necessary for therapeutic reasons my friend.


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Hi "shining"

I just read your "My experience with the other side-True story" and it is excellent. We seem to be kindred spirits on many levels :-)

Thanks for your praise... such a confidence builder. And your right about all those "time heals" comments, but they are offered for lack of comprehension or experience to relate with... the experience and sometimes just people in general.

blessings,

Michael


shalini sharan profile image

shalini sharan 4 years ago from Delhi

this was a rather bold move, it touched me immensely

thank you for such a lovey work


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

shalini sharan

It was, for me, a necessary move as well... the lesson I learned from my Universe and its support, simply needs to be shared... to hopefully help others. I owe so much to so many who carried me while I was lost, it would be a crime to hesitate "paying forward." :-)

Thank you for reading and commenting,

Michael


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 4 years ago

Hard write brother man. I too have suffered at PTSD. I too mourn loves that will be no more. Too many. Memory banks overflow with love that cannot be held as before. Broken hearts often don't know the difference between life lost and love lost.

It is I that is lost.

I lost. And love cannot be retrieved. PTSD -Plunge Toward Sorrowful Despair.


DON BALDERAS profile image

DON BALDERAS 4 years ago

This makes me pause and go, sigh and cry. When can we not ask 'Why, oh why?' How well do we deal with the silence as an answer to our 'why's'? How do we keep going when inside we are crumbling? How do we help others help fix their emotions while we are disoriented? Many questions are there that need answers. But answers just wait at the core of our minds and hearts. They just want us to come home and be home to ourselves. Congratulations, life is always a homecoming.


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Micky,

I really appreciate your stopping by and reading. Your words:

"Memory banks overflow with love that cannot be held as before. Broken hearts often don't know the difference between life lost and love lost." are the words from the heart of a poet... and the lines:

"It is I that is lost.

I lost. And love cannot be retrieved."

are the thoughts of a mystic. Beautiful words, beautiful thoughts.

Thank you for leaving them here.

Michael


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Don,

Thank you for stopping and reading... As to that awful looming question, "Why?" I have "my" answer finally, for through the filter of my spirituality, I view my son, Jess, as a far more enlightened being than I am presently. .. a Bodhisattva who came to move my being further along... to a higher vibration and a closer realization to uniting with the godhead, to live in God-Consciousness... Nirvana, Heaven, whatever words your belief system uses to describe that Ultimate Reality...

How can this be a sad thing, ey???

Thank you, sir. Thank you for stopping by.

Michael


Jennifer Stone profile image

Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

Michael, this is an amazing read! I am so sorry you have gone through this, and that you lost your son, but you show incredible strength now. You have come out the other side as you say "a learned man", and that means that you are continuing to grow and learn, and I'm gratified that you are passing your knowledge on for the benefit of others.

I'm very happy to have met you here... all the best, Jen


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Jen,

Thank you for your heartfelt and moving comments. They act with others here to inspire and motivate me to keep moving forward... as well do your own writings! I loved "The End! - A Poem About the Beginning!" Michael


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

I just dedicated the poem 'world without you' to Jess......hope you like it.

Thanks and regards,

Deergha


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Very nice and touching. I just created the link and some comments of my own, but I am not sure about them. I was up late writing, and rushing around getting my car repaired and moved from the road where it broke down last night!!

Please read them here posted at the bottom and send me an email with thoughts and additions that might help if you think of any.

Thank you again, I look forward to a growing friendship.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

I am left rather stunned by this beautiful work. Feeling your unbearable pain, yet the comfort at which you have accepted.......I am in awe.

Loss may make us or break us but never leaves us untouched by something more profound than we're ready to embrace.

Your story has moved me. .....and I thank you for sharing your soul's song with us. UP+++


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

fpherj48,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful words...

"Loss may make us or break us but never leaves us untouched by something more profound than we're ready to embrace." The key here, "...than we are ready to embrace..." So important to understand our life lessons as they come to us!

I look forward to a growing friendship,

Michael


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Michael,

I read this once several days ago and a second time this morning to fully absorb the intensity. You share an amazing and ongoing life journey filled with so much wisdom, humility and love.

I think you are an inspirational man and I thank you for sharing so openly with us. I look forward to reading even more of your work.

Voted UP and UABI. Have a peaceful day. Hugs, Maria


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Michael....I have returned (2 weeks after my initial visit to this hub)

Yes, I have kept your story in one of the private corners of my heart.....partially because I was so effected by it, I felt a need to come to an understanding of my own reaction. long story.....

I don't know why I did not share this with you 2 weeks ago, Michael, but if you go to my site, you will find a 4-part series, entitled, "The Journey to the Woman I am Today."

I have this feeling you may find something within my story, to not only relate to, but perhaps find a connection of comfort and solace.

It is my belief that only those who have been tortured with the full impact of unimaginable loss, are equipped to understand with the very deepest of grief and compassion....to others in this dark hole of complete devastation. and....can walk step by step beside one another, through the struggle of a lifetime......

At the end of Part 4....is a link to my Tribute to Johnathan, which you may wish to read also.

Wishing you Peace, I will wait for your response...... Paula


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Maria and Paula,

I am so appreciative of the effort both of you have made to return after reflection and reread my story and then to make such warm and loving comments. Humility is one of the more important lessons of the last few decades of my life, not the pseudo humility of my younger years, which was more to hide my embarrassment over receiving praise on something to me which was just an expression, a "normal" effort by me which was defined by, well, "normality"... :-) and therefore not particularly any more valuable than something like doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen for my wife while she went and did something she had wanted to so... You know?

And it is not that I don't recognize my educational achievements and successes in business and with people.... I do experience gratification and appreciate the knowledge I hold, but only when I notice that someone is affected positively in some way by the expression of that knowledge.... but, I guess, my "Ego" isn't really stoked and inflated by such an experience. I guess, it has to do with the concept of 'specialness" and how dear I hold or don't hold that idea within, about myself...

But, my guy, the PTSD/ADHD expert and therapist who has been walking me through and teaching me better management techniques of those two issues, and I have been discussing his perception of (in his view) a rather quick acceptance and resulting benefit to his treatment protocol I have had, I think I mentioned above that he has contracted with me to co-write a book on PTSD diagnosis and treatment protocol with very recent observations and discoveries of an old medication for a somewhat strictly defined physical issue (by the Psychiatric and Medical Profession) and its what could be defined currently as "off label" use, (this new techniques has also recently begun trials by the US Army. They are experimenting with this as well, but are several years away from even publishing for peer review).

For some 28 years, my guy, has been developing his protocol with some rather unique insights and observations he has had along the way and which has led him to continue to develop and refine and document his findings. He is to begin publishing papers this year on a web site, the book and in Journals.

Which, to his surprise, were insights of mine (about the body's and mind's hard wired survival instincts) through my spiritual studies, and also shared by my FMS specialist (one of the top three nationally... which translates, expensive! lol... Which he has developed in trying to explain the "WHY" of Fibromyalgia during his 35 years of specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of that 'Syndrome," which still baffles and conflicts the medical community...) which I shared with him in conversation a few months ago.

From that, the discussion of co-writing developed. According to him, he has never come across "his" insight" from any other discipline and suddenly he has two references.... He is excited and "psyched!"

He was excited... to me it just seems one of those normal, or typical, thoughts and as Anthony Hopkins said in a movie, "If one man can do it another can..." Thus, my tendency to not over-value my experiences around the world, my thoughts, except that they are mine, you know?

He expresses impatience at me for my "Zen-ness" or my lackadaisical attitude about my so called "intellect" and thoughtfulness... and is constantly working "on me" to develop a healthier and more realistic self acceptance. And to have you and Paula comment as you have, as well as the others in their comments is really a wonderful and appreciated experience. I am humbled, and do have a sense of what "specialness" might feel like, what it might have felt like as a child (could I remember) whose mother through nurturing, praise and her love would create in that a child a healthy acceptance of being special, translating that into self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love...

And I think that is there somewhere in me, for I get whiffs of it, like garlic and spices wafting through the house at supper time as dinner is simmering and cooking on the stove top. But, ahh, I am still such a neophyte as a spiritual being in human form... :-) Or, gullible and an "innocent" still!

So thank you, Maria and Paula. And to all since "The Wolf" way up above. Though I have about seven Hubs in draft and edit stage, it will be a few weeks before I can settle into polishing them. I hope you both still have some time for "critiquing" them and letting me benefit from the two wonderful souls you both carry within and that wisdom you seem to both be so comfortable with.

Paula, I will be going to begin reading your suggestions this evening during my "reading time." This is part of my working through email time! The only thing that keeps me "sort of" current is this new idea of structure "my guy" is mandating I do as part of my "treatment protocol." I think he may just be messing with me on this one :-)

Blessings,

michael


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Michael,

How would you know that, while our experiences are quite different, Paula and I are two peas in a pod...so please be our third pea...!

I have an overwhelming story that you may/ may not get to know in time. You are the priority and it sounds like you are in good hands with "your guy". I still, however, strongly suspect that, without you putting heart and soul into your healing process... that even he could not have gotten this far with you. You are a thriver... way past a survivor.

I do want to share (you too, effer...) that I am going to be part of a series (founded by Mickey Sr) including Martie Coetser, bravewarrior and Docmo and a rotating guest after our first initiative. It's called "Perspectives" and our first subject is "Self-Happiness"... we will each write a hub about our view (ie... our perspective).

I would love you to read my hub when published, Michael, as much of my perspective has been derived by my life experience, as yours will now and forever be...

And yes, it will be my honor to read more of your work. I'll be by slowly but surely. Have a peaceful weekend and thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Hugs, Maria

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