I love my boys...I love them more than anything in this world.
As I wrote those words...I knew they should stand alone...because there is nothing I feel more strongly about than my love for Luke and Ben. Over the past year and a half...they have become my life...my world...and my saving grace.
Lately I have been thinking about love in terms of the five senses.
Growing up I had always heard that if you lost one sense...others intensified to make up for that loss. And in the past months I have wondered if my love for Luke and Ben has heightened as a result of losing the love that I shared with Susan.
I have become acutely aware that everything about being their Dad is now amplified. The good...the bad...the scary...and the miraculous...have all upped their ante because she is no longer here to share in the burdens or the triumphs. At times...I find myself almost caught in a trance worrying about their physical and emotional well being.
If they ride a bike...or climb a tree...or try to do a flip into the pool...I'm scared in a way I never was before. The fear of losing them is now always present because I have seen all too clearly...that it can happen...and I have no control over it...no chance to stop it...no way to fix it.
However, my larger fear over the past eighteen months...has been losing them emotionally. I have become paralyzed by the worry that they will be forever wounded by losing Susan...or scarred to the point of no return. And this feels like something I, as a parent, should be able to control...or stop...or at the very least fix.
So in June when we were suppose to have our last Family Therapy session...I found a hundred excuses to extend our therapy two months beyond what our counselor thought we needed.
Of course Kathy happily continued to see us, but eventually it became evident that we were getting better...we seemed to be moving forward. So we said our goodbyes and she hugged each of us...and told me that we were all going to be okay...because she believed we were on our way to recovery.
The problem for me was complex because my heart believed her, but my mind wondered...how do families recover from this?
I knew our journey had not come easy. I was aware of how hard I had worked individually....and with the boys. I knew we had all been honest in therapy...at home...and in every moment we had experienced together in the past year and a half.
Nothing had been swept under the rug...whether it be pain...joy...sorrow...or silliness. We had shared it...we had discussed it. Nothing...no matter how ugly...was hidden...or ignored. And we had grown. We had seen each other at at our worst and our best. So I could rationalize what was happening...but it was still difficult to wrap my mind around it.
I was witnessing the boys changing. They were getting older...and bigger...and smarter. They weren't the same four and six year old boys who lost their Mother that February day. I knew we were adjusting and at times even thriving in our new life...but it just didn't seem plausible that we could be healing.
How could we be recovering? She meant too much. She was too indispensable in our lives to just move on without her. It all seemed too implausible.
So I forced myself to analyze my family's transformation.
I thought about it...talked about it...and wrote about it. And I always came back to the same phrase...moving forward.
Finally I realized my choice of words was significant.
We were not moving on...we were moving forward.
We weren't dismissing or forgetting...we were living.
We will never leave Susan behind...she will always move forward with us...in our hearts and our minds.