There’s a picture on one of my mantles of me and Tom, long ago. I use to hold his hand in mine when he was small, and as I caressed his fingers, I would tell him how one day he would grow to be much taller than me and my hand would eventually fit in his.
I could see his incomprehension at such a thing, as he gave me a glance of amazement followed by a snuggle in the rocker we shared.
Several Summers ago, I bought Tom his first bike with gear shifts. Since he was tiny, I would ride my bike up Provo Canyon pulling my boy in the bike buggy or trailing to his side, as he pedaled on his little bike. I was feeling the sentiment of those early days as we took off together, one sunny afternoon on his new bike.
I recall thinking that there must be something wrong with my gears as I watched him gradually leave me in his dust. I pedaled harder and still had trouble reaching him. For a moment I worried that I may have some un-diagnosed disease, because no matter how hard I pedaled I couldn’t keep up with my boy.
It soon dawned on me that this was not a disease on my end, but young manhood on Tom’s. I surrendered my pride, as it occurred to me my that my boy was really going to eventually grow up; and someday soon, my hand would indeed fit in his. Even though I had told him this many times, I had never truly realized that I would at some point actually have to let him go.
As supreme (and beyond my own dictates), as the act of giving birth to him was, so too equally, would be letting him grow up and eventually move on, into his own way in the world.
We recently walked over to a neighbor’s for breakfast. Tom headed first, with me trailing behind with my favorite ghee and honey to add to our morning Æbleskiver feast. In the footsteps in the springtime snow-covered sidewalk, I was reminded again as I looked at his large footprint, on the left, next to mine. Only 13 years old, and he is showing every sign of being a big guy, with broad shoulders and a big barrel chest; and even better, a generous and happy disposition, especially with his younger cousins.
The whole concept of letting go has been harder this year, since experiencing Rex’s passing. In this age of DVRs and instant replay it seemed so cruel that we couldn’t just back up and say or do one thing more before he moved on.
An hour after he passed I drove from the hospital. While waiting at a stoplight, I noticed an unusual feathery, tingling sensation up and down the outside of my left leg. If felt similar to what I did for him many times with Thai Yoga. I remember thinking that I must be in shock; but wondered if this sensation, that was new to me, might be him communicating to me. I made a mental note of it, and continued to the Yoga Center at CottonTree. Soon, several of the Doctors and staff from downstairs where Rex and I shared an office, gathered to console each other.
Over the days, weeks, and months following, this subtle, feathery, tingling still comes and goes. I am clear (from experience) that it’s a confirmation when he’s close by. Letting me know he is still here for me, and yet I have to let the 56 year old man I knew so well go.
In letting him go, we appreciate all the things he was so great at. At the same time, we set him free from all the things that weren’t working, or he didn’t get the chance to do or say. Letting him go is my thank you to him. In letting him go, rather than holding him at where he was, I let him grow young again. Another kind of Supreme Love.
For myself, I know when we cross the veil, if we are ready, we shed a lot of the limitations of mortality. In the months and weeks since his passing, I have shared many experiences of how Rex’s energy has been magnified in my life. I think if I were overly attached and focusing on all the sadness at my own loss, and fixated on where he was when he passed, I couldn’t be so open to how he reaches me now.
During this time (that most people call “loss”), I know he has not wanted me to hold him in the place he was in mortality before he passed. I have had to let him go, to let him grow young, beyond the veil; and in turn, continue his kindnesses to me and many others in new ways from a new perspective.
In order to let him go, I have to try my best to just be grateful for the fact that we got to share a small corner of mortality with each other. In doing so, I have found that the sting of loss heals only to the extent of my own gratitude. I am profoundly humbled that when it comes to Rex, or any loved-one we have experienced loss with, that: “There is really no such thing as good-bye, when LOVE is present.” -- a message that came to me recently, I believe to be from him.
It’s a message that for now, I can live with.