So yesterday, January 21st, would have been my son’s 30th birthday. I wanted to mark it in a special way.
I woke up imagining him as a 30-year old man (he died at the age of 20): I imagined him with a full beard instead of those measly three hairs he called a beard when I last saw him. I imagined he still had a hairless chest. His father may have been hairy, but the men on my side of the family were not. Sorry. I imagined him finally at peace with who he was, perfectly imperfect, but loving and finally capable of more compassion towards himself. I imagined him with a big dog. I imagined him in a relationship with a kind woman, possibly a man. There was some sexual fluidity in that kid, like his mom. I imagined him with a J-O-B, but also writing a novel or screenplay during his “down” time. I imagined him wanting kids, but wondering whether that made any sense in today’s world. I imagined him angry about global warming and corruption and suffering of others. I imagined him grateful he made it to 30, and believing that his worst years might actually be behind him.
Oddly, none of this imagining made me sad; some of it actually made me giggle. I don’t exactly know what to believe about what happens to us after death, possibly nothing at all, but a part of me wants to believe that a part of us – soul, spirit, cosmic energy – continues to exist beyond this embodied part of the journey. So wherever he is, whatever he is, I send him love.
But I want to do more than that. I want to send love to others who are struggling with loss. So this year, in honor of Julian’s 30th birthday, I am sending 30 letters to people I may not even know who are grieving. Perhaps the loss was a person or pet and was recent. Perhaps it was a loss that happened a long time ago, but the pain still feels raw. Perhaps it was a breakup or divorce, or the loss of a job or home. We grieve ALL losses whether we are aware of it or not.
Here’s how you can contribute to this little love project: think of someone you know who is struggling with a loss. Send me their name and snail mail address (because it’s nice to get something other than a bill or junk in one’s mailbox). Tell me something about the loss; include names of the significant “players.” And finally, if it was a person or pet that was lost, tell me something that you loved or really miss about that person or pet.
I will send a letter on your behalf (or it can be anonymously). I will be kind and compassionate in what I write, and hopefully the recipients will feel “seen in their sadness,” but also uplifted. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And thank you!