It doesn’t go away and when it strikes, there’s not enough football gear in the world that can shelter me from these intensive hits.
I see him everywhere I go. Even when I pump gasoline into my car, I can see him peering through the window. When I drive the kids to school, I see the empty seat. When I hear a song on the radio he loved, I see him turn red from embarrassment when I would catch him singing.
I used to go to work refreshed and ready to start the day. These days I cry alone in my car for several minutes before I can even walk through my office door.
Everything looks different now. I want to talk football with friends. I want to celebrate the holiday season which is normally my favorite time of year. I just want to smile and feel normal again. I want all of this and so much more — but I can’t. All I want for Christmas is to bring back my 8-year old son Will and not even Santa Claus can do this.
“It has been said the death of a parent is the loss of one’s past,” writes Ronald Greer in his book “Markings on the Windowsill.” “The death of a spouse is the loss of one’s present, and the death of a child is the loss of one’s future.”
I’ve only visited his grave a few times. Last week I went alone with his classical guitar that he was learning to play. As I played a song I looked for a sign, but there was none. I wanted to see an eagle flying above like I did after his graveside service. I wanted to find another butterfly like the one my mother-in-law found on the spot we decided to bury him.
“Just wait,” said my friend Beverly Kaiser, who lost her daughter Jill 15 years ago to cancer. “There will be many more signs to come and his presence will be felt all around you.”
Trivial things absolutely drive me crazy right now. When I read posts on Facebook about bad service at a restaurant or someone’s dissatisfaction with political leaders, I just want to shout at these people and remind them for just one second how lucky they are.
In 1965, the music group The Byrds released a single based on the passage from Ecclesiastes when they sang “To everything there is a season.” If this is true, then I’m walking through the intense season for mourning. But I’m not alone.
We all go through this season. Of course, some go through more seasons than others. Some experience pain more than others. But we all, if we live long enough, will walk through this season of grief.
The late Jim Callahan once remarked that “all go on and that the shores on which we stand are closer than we think.” My love for Will Garrett is so vast that I can’t imagine it being anything else but eternal. I can’t explain it. I can only embrace it.
So, as I start another day, I can’t make the pain go away. All I can do is hear the words Pete Seeger wrote and recorded by The Byrds. All I can do is “turn, turn, turn.”
Garrett is a Carrollton resident and businessman. You can read more of his columns at joegarrett1.wordpress.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.