My erratic posts reflect the character of my grief journey in some ways. So many false starts. So many times when I think I’m ready to set off in a new direction and stall instead. I quickly find that I lack sufficient concentration, motivation, energy and desire.
I’ve felt so scattered. Where do I want to focus my attention? Do I put it into my job at the local paper? Into decluttering and redecorating our home? Into my spiritual journey? Into friendships? Into reading? Into writing?
I flit from one to the other. Nothing feels exactly right. None of it will bring David back or return me to the unbroken path I was on four years ago, so what’s the point?
Maybe metaphorically, I’ve got my butt wedged in an inner tube and am floating down the Lazy River. Have you ever ridden a Lazy River at a water park? I love them. They’re the ultimate do-nothing activity. Let the inner tube hold you upright while your arms and legs trail in the water, and watch the current carry you wherever.
You know, it’s great for awhile, but if you seriously want to get someplace, the Lazy River won’t take you there. At the water park, you’ll just float around in a big circle until you end up where you started. On a real river, you’ll end up someplace downstream that won’t be all that different from where you put in upstream. The Lazy River is a time filler.
Sometimes the current spins you around. You catch sight of something on the shore and think, “Maybe I’ll check that out.” But the current turns you away from whatever it was and you focus on something else. At the end of the day, you’ve glided by everything, and all of it is forgettable.
What a waste of time, really. Especially if you want your life to make a difference.
About three weeks ago, I got a call from a woman at Johns Hopkins. She’s involved with fundraising for The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, where David was treated. She’d gotten my name from David’s oncologist, David Loeb. She had a question for me: Would I be willing to talk to a group of people at a fundraiser about David’s journey?
How fast could I say “yes”? Talking about David, and rhabdomyosarcoma, and the work Dr. Loeb is doing with the tumor tissue David left behind is something I can do. Something I feel passionate about. Something that might help me make a tiny contribution in the push for cures for children’s cancers. I will be speaking tomorrow.
Even though it won’t bring David back, talking about what he went through does keep his memory alive. It allows his life to continue to have some influence. It promotes the good he wanted to come out of his illness and death.
Maybe it’s time to focus my attention on something totally new. Before any of us knew that David’s condition was terminal, he said to me, “Mom, you have to keep going after I die.” I don’t think he meant around in circles.