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Monday, February 1, 2010

Reflections on a life well-lived

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
~Helen Keller

And so, here I am again, approaching yet another anniversary of the death of Daniel Paul Wisler, my son, who left for Heaven on Ground Hog Day, 1997.

And I am grateful that after thirteen years, the anguish leading up to his death date anniversary is gone. I can look at his photo by my computer and smile into his blue eyes and not feel the panic or misery I felt on the first February 2 after his death. I see him with hair--lively and mischievous. I view the professional photo taken of him and his big sister, Rachel, where he had a wet spot on his little vest--my attempt to remove the sticky chewing gum before the photographer snapped the portrait. In another photo, I see his clear eyes, before cancer treatments touched them, and his wide smile at the birth of his baby brother, Benjamin.

Another year and I am older. Although the pain has lessened, and I've learned to cope with being the mother of a deceased son, the love has only grown. I have learned to love my three kids on earth--Rachel (19), Ben (14) and Elizabeth (12) much more. So, my love for Daniel (who would be 17) has increased as well.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of Daniel. His life, so well-lived, and death, has shaped me into what and who I am today. Losing a child is so powerful, considered the worst loss. Of course, it literally restructures your life.

I used to come to Compassionate Friends meetings and look at those tear-stained faces with new losses, like myself. Then I heard the voices of those who were more experienced, having lived through years of grief. Now, I am one of the latter--seasoned in grief, tougher, more resilient.

Yet tears still catch me. Sometimes, even unexpectedly, I will feel my eyes fill. Sometimes the tears come when I see a blond-haired toddler at the mall, or a kid wrapping his arms around his mother at church.

I have missed you for 4,745 days, dear Daniel. And I have loved you during every single one. I toast your life of four years, I sing to your memory, and I carry the love. None of it can be stolen from me. I'm grateful that you are my son and that I am your mother.


Edna said...

Love your site I follow you on Google and entered a contest on Woven by Words.


Alice J. Wisler said...

Thanks, Edna!

bp said...

Such a sweet tribute to your son and your love for him. God bless you as you remember.

Anonymous said...

Picked up your book rain song 2 weeks ago.had the flu yesterday and today and i am almost finished the book ...I LOVE IT!!!!! i love how you write. i went on the internet to get some info about you and your other books.
I sit here in front of the computer and read about your son and tears flow ... the Lord has brought you through a lot and what you have done in memory of his going home's really beautiful. My children are the same ages as yours....Please keep writing and I will keep reading .May the Lord bless you and keep you in His care !!!!!

The Westie Loving Therapist said...

The bonds a mother feels for her child are never severed, but the pain of their loss grow less and less as the years go by. What a great tribute to your little guy who, I am sure, is smiling down on you from high!

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I read How Sweet It Is last night which is another wonderful book. Great job!

Daniele said...

And I'm glad there's you thirteen years down the road to encourage the rest of us along. Thanks for this post.

Eddie Snipes said...

I am sorry for your loss, but I am grateful that there are people like you who overcome such pain and have climbed out of the valley, and can now comfort those in danger of being swallowed by grief. Your post will be an encouragement to those who are still struggling with their own loss.

Alice J. Wisler said...

Thanks, Eddie!