Yesterday I found myself making coffee, and while the water was boiling, I started dancing to some music in my head. The sky was blue above me. My kitchen ceiling is all glass. And I was happy. I was bubbling up and out, just like the hot water in the tea kettle.
This year has been the longest, darkest, coldest, rainiest year I remember since I’ve been in the UK. I came here nearly 25 years ago. I so appreciated the sun yesterday morning. The sky was clear. For about 5 minutes I forget everything and just danced to my inner DJ.
And then I remembered where I am, my life as a whole. And started thinking about the one person who would have been here, or at least called… and certainly the one person who I would really want to talk to on my birthday. And he is gone. I stopped dancing. But I didn’t immediately plunge into my darkness, the place I live emotionally when I stop moving. There was a residual of dance left in me. It kept me moving forward, stopped me from plunging downward.
Most of us think of where we are in life when our birthdays come. It is a time of evaluation and re-evaluation, for setting goals and for looking to the future. I can’t yet find my future. I might have found my inner DJ, but my future is still missing, along with my missing son. I don’t really have anything to be proud of. I saved that for him. All of his accomplishments, his dreams and achievements, made me happy. He was my greatest accomplishment. I was so proud of him. He was so lovely. He had the best of me multiplied by 10, or a million. He was more than I could ever have imagined being. He lived his dreams to the fullest, sometimes crashing to the ground… but he soared. And I sometimes floated up to meet him, carried on his wings.
Not long after I stopped dancing on this beautiful and sunny day, the first in a long line of dark and cold days, I realized something. My son was not my greatest accomplishment. The fact that I am still standing after he died is. He would never have believed that I would still be here, that I would have a few minutes of dancing to some silent memory of music, in a momentary sunny moment. I can’t believe it either. The fact that I am still here is my greatest accomplishment. It is something that I thought, knew, would have been impossible. And yet it has happened. I am my greatest accomplishment. Somehow my son has become my inner metronome… He is my constant pulse. He makes my heart beat when it is so broken that it cannot find its own rhythm. He is my greatest accomplishment, and I am his. My birthday reminds me of his death day… but my inner DJ reminds me to dance when the sun comes out.