Christofer’s memorial happened last weekend. I hadn’t realized the stress that put on me until Friday, when i just wanted to call it off. I, my whole family, have been grieving for nearly two months now, and it felt like opening the wound all over again. Not to be gross, but going with the wound analogy, it was more like draining an infection. Maybe it had scabbed over, but still ached something awful. It hurt, draining it. Bad. But when all was said and done, it was really, really for the best.
Some people I would never have thought would come, did. Some I expected to be there, weren’t. All in all, it was a packed house of people who love us, who love Chris. There was so much love and light in that sweltering train station, no one cared they were swimming in their own clothes. Whether or not you believe Chris was there with us, no one can deny how his presence gathered all that love now radiating out into the world. And that’s a positive pulled from this negative.
I didn’t write anything for the event. I started the show with the Rilke poem my friend brought to me the day after his death and then let everyone else speak. I’ve been writing and sharing here since the days following his death. Saturday was really for those who still needed an outlet. Family, friends, professors from WCSU, co-workers from Curaleaf. Some joked, most wept at some point. The beauty of their words touched everyone.
At one point, I saw a group of boys–young men–together, Chris’ friends from childhood, who hadn’t seen one another in years. They joked and laughed, hugged and wept. I could almost see Chris standing among them, smiling. And that was a positive pulled from this negative.
A young man called me a couple of weeks ago, asking about the memorial. He was once a world class martial artist who can now barely walk from room to room without assistance. He told me about the day Chris went to see him, bringing his bow, arrows and a target. His friend couldn’t lift the bow he’d once been master of, let alone pull the string. Chris put his friend’s hands on the bow, put his own hands over his friend’s, pulled the string for him, and let it fly. He did it over and over again, giving back to his friend something he’d forever lost. That is love. That is Chris. Hearing this story, one Chris never told me himself, was a positive pulled from this negative.
Sharing my pain has brought people into my life, people I would never have otherwise known. Some of you might be reading this now and thinking, “Does she mean me?” The answer is, “Yes, I do.” Friends of his, old and new, I’d never have met or reconnected with, who’ve shared with me pieces of my son I didn’t know about. Stories of his beauty I’d never have heard. People going through similar events who’ve connected with me. who I already cherish. Shared sorrow creates bonds as strong and as deep as shared joy. Others who simply sympathize, whether connected through a friend or family member, or randomly on the internet. Chris’ death has shown me people I’ve known and loved for years in an entirely new light. These are all positives taken from this negative, and I’m so grateful.
Taking a positive from any negative lessens the power of that negative. I’ve always believed this to my core. It’s not betraying love, it’s validating it. It’s not forgetting, it’s remembering in the most loving way possible. To say there is nothing positive about my son’s death is not only a lie, it’s harmful. Would I give back all these positives and more to have him back? Absolutely. But that’s not an option, so I’ll take every one of these positives, and all the others that come my way, and embrace them with all my heart.