I had someone ask recently what had happened with Willie. They knew vaguely that I had lost someone but didn’t know who or details as they haven’t been in my life until very recently.
What struck me was just how much it still hurts after 2 and a half years… and also how swiftly the emotions rise up again, out of the blue it feels like. It also made me have to stop and think about how to respond. What exactly did happen? How do I wrap up all that was into an answer without getting either too intense or glossing over the situation and belittling what happened?
In self-employed business, this concept is called your elevator speech; the premise is, you get on an elevator and have 30 seconds to answer the question someone asks you about what your business is. Having been self-employed for most of my career, I taught others this skill and honed it myself. It sounds odd to relate this to that but really, it’s the same thing…and it got me thinking.
How do you sum up so much in so little as words? How do I convey all the amazing things that my son was, his sense of humour, his interests and his quirks. How do I explain a young man who was just starting to show who he would be… then have that veer wildly off course because of mental illness? How am I supposed to put months of fear and worry and ultimately panic and devastation into mere words that can’t possibly express the journey that was and still is?
Like the dash between birth and death dates on a tombstone. The futility of trying to capture what was is glaringly obvious to me.