Paula Vibert Photography

Retrospective

When my son passed away 2 years ago, I literally stopped dead in my tracks and fell to my knees. First to grieve.  And inevitably also to reflect about what happened, the meaning of what happened, the meaning of my own life. I needed to decide if I wanted to carry on living. I wasn’t sure. I realized, sadly, that having two more children didn’t make much of a difference in lessening my pain and sorrow. They too were feeling the loss of their brother. And I desperately wanted to be with him. To be with him one more time. To hold him one more time.

His body was now sand. I don’t know where the energy to live came from. Or the energy to organize his funeral, or to deal with his ashes afterwards.

Never before I had become so aware of the breath that was entering my body, rhythmically, like a pulsating heart. Like mouth to mouth resuscitation. Apart, perhaps,  from being born, this is was the most powerful event in my life. I was in a state of shock but also present enough to be open to feeling the loss. The breath that I felt so strongly in my body, the breath that refused to quit was inviting me to stay, to feel, to walk through the mess and to feel more deeply life in the flesh.  So I made a deal with Life: I said: “I will keep on going for one more year and see what lies at the end of that journey”. I was daring Death. I was telling it: “You have to try harder to defeat me”. I was also standing for all the mothers who lost their child. And for everyone who lost someone or something.

I knew I had to remain lucid, sane and serene to actually know the touch of death. To know its shape. To own it. Because death only exists on this side, you know, the side of the living.

I’ve discovered that Death has a calming effect. Why? Because there is nothing more to fear and nothing more to hope.  Nothing is too important anymore. Death gives us permission to slow down so that we can see again, differently, more completely and permission to live what hasn’t been lived yet. Death gives us time to learn to love and soothe ourselves. It gives us permission to take risks and be daring to finally be who we, deep in our hearts, long to be. Potentiality in the flesh. Our Self. And it brings us to the only point in life. This moment. Like a dot. And this is it.

A dot is also a starting point. And this is where I’m standing.

What I have discovered two years after my son’s death is that there is new hope when there is no more hope.

Life gets better when it doesn’t matter.

We are free to take more risks and transform our life into a unique work of art.

There is nothing to lose. What we fear to lose is already lost.

And the battle is already won.

The gift is in the small things.

9 thoughts on “Retrospective

  1. beverley guindon says:

    This is just beautiful .I feel your pain We lost our son it was 7 years in Jan.You never are the same . We just learn to cope with it Truly is the hardest thing .My heart goes out to you and your family big hugs .

  2. Paula Vibert says:

    Dear Beverly, thank you for being there. I too feel your pain. Peace and big hugs.

  3. Liz Franzkewitch says:

    Paula, I did not know. I am very sorry for your loss. Such wisdom has come from your pain and gives hope to others.

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Thank you Liz.
      Big hug.

  4. Maria Guimarães says:

    Simplesmente lindo❤️❤️

  5. Dearest Paula, Thank you for putting on paper so much hard earned wisdom. When I lost my sweetheart 21 years ago , several months later a close friend of mine said to me, “You’re not as nice as you used to be.” I knew what she meant. I was actually more authentic than I used to be. Before that time I would listen patiently to her go on and on about the problems in her relationship with the man who lived with her, The problems were always the same problems, expressed in the same way, often with exactly the same words and one day I lost it and told her I didn’t want to hear about it any more. I wasn’t saying I didn’t want to listen to HER any more. I just didn’t want to hear the same old same old. I felt it was a waste of my precious life. When you lose someone so important to your life and your happiness you instantly become aware of how fragile life is… if you can lose ONE precious person, you can lose ANY precious person. So for me I felt that if her relationship mattered at all then it mattered enough to DO SOMETHING about the issues between them, not just complain about it. The moment my dear one died, every other loved one in my life became that much more precious and worthy of my efforts. All my complacency flew away. My son’s father used to joke, “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!” I understand now … I didn’t want to use up one minute of my short time in life going over the same ground as the last time my friend talked about her relationship. If she resented my forthrightness, well, an elderly friend of mine gave me a quote before she got lost in the forest of Alzheimer’s … “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” What I’ve seen you do since Mike died is explore the richness of human feeling. Grief, yes of course the grief will always be there. I still love my long gone sweetheart just as you will always love Mikey … AND I believe we honour our lost ones by living life to the fullest, by never forgetting them, by sharing the best of what we learned from them with others in our lives so that the spirit that we loved in them lives on in our sharing of it with the world through our daily actions. XO

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Dear Carol, thanks for sharing. Love and hugs.

  6. Mary Labelle says:

    Paula
    This reminds me of losing my son Peter years back and my wondering WHY.
    Also when I learned I had lost my grandson Mike,your son.Life goes on but we learn to cope with God’s help I am certain.I have often asked both of them in prayer for help and they both have responded in their way.They will both be with me the rest of my life just as Mike will be with you too in his way.
    God bless Paula and Hugs and love to you.
    Mary

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Dear Mary, thanks for sharing. Love and a big hug to you.

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