They say our greatest gifts are also our greatest burdens. My son’s gifts included compassion and empathy, and as a result many people turned to him for support– teens, college peers, even the parents of teens. He carried a lot of pain, his own and others. He can’t carry it any more, but maybe I can, at least a small part of it. I can shoulder some of the world’s pain that he had taken on. Grandiose thinking? Maybe. But I think about it this way. One can either add to the world’s suffering or try to bring comfort to those who suffer. One can cause pain or try to heal pain. My son carried his pain for as long as he could. If all those who loved him are willing to take on a little more of the suffering of others then we can restore the balance and help heal the sorrow that his death caused.
So this is how I can love my son. I can commit to picking up what he laid down. I can be there for his friends and for the rest of our family. I can carry on, that in itself takes a commitment.
There is a song I used to sing that has these words, “Lay down your burden, I will carry you, I will carry you my child.” I can still carry my son in my heart.