October 30. The 303rd day of the year 3 out of every 4 years. And for the vast majority of people in the United States, the day is mostly marked as being the day before Halloween. Quite frankly, there is no particular significance to this day.
However, for me, October 30 will be that one day of hell each and every year. October 30, 2016 at 11:31 p.m., when my beloved daughter Morgan was forever taken after fighting eating disorders for oh so very long. A personal tragedy. An extinguished little life, a brave soul which burned so brightly, and now largely forgotten. But, that is the reality. This third rock from the sun. Society in general, Morgan’s friends, my friends and family moving onward with their lives. Seeking out a bright future, their tomorrows filled with hope and joy. As it should be.
Every October 30 beginning in 2017, I have written an article which I hoped expressed the thoughts, emotions, feelings and existence of a parent who had the most precious thing they hold dear, taken from them. In going back and reading those articles today, I am not going to even remotely feign being able to understand the complexities of the evolution of grief and bereavement. But, this journey began … and continue I must as a mere passenger.
October 30, 2017.
Reflecting on the words now which were written then, I see this dense fog which so grips the brain, the heart, and the soul that first year. Surely the world would immediately understand that an incredible person was taken long before her time. The eating disorder community would take notice, would commiserate and honor her death and would use this tragedy as a starting point for a more evolved, greater tomorrow.
And for those lucky enough to have certain gifts, you know … you know for certain, that you are guided by inspiration, by sorrow that is turning into resolve. You have clarity. You have purpose. You have a clear path.
And the reality is … you are so incredibly naïve and in such pain. This fog has you in its icy grip. Perhaps your eyes are more open. Some of the things you begin to see are not what they appeared. What was once clear, is now less in focus. But still, you must persist. You have no choice. You have no control. Something far greater than you is in control.
October 30, 2018.
Year two. And occasionally you are touched by glimpses of that indomitable spirit which exists within us all. A 10 year old boy two weeks before Christmas being entertained by firemen as their firetrucks sit outside of your complex. That precious Angel Boy’s arms conducting a symphony of joy, a smile “as big as Texas” on his face, a big firemen’s hat on his bald head… and you see the tears well in the eyes of those young, first responders, those firemen. Those heroes.
Through eyes you can’t imagine are not clear, you conduct hours of meticulous research looking at various aspects of a hurt, divided industry and community. You question why can’t people see the divisions? You are filled with righteousness! Everyone except you is going in the wrong direction!
But, for one glorious night, on October 30, 2 years to the night that your beloved Morgan was taken, at the exact time, you are sitting awake with two very special people, Patti Geolat and Elissa Myers. You are so touched by Patti, for her strength and that she may see beyond the scarring, the pain, the agony. For Elissa knowing that against a number of people’s advice and warnings, she came to Dallas. Whatever Elissa saw, whatever soulfulness she saw, how would I ever be able to turn away from that bright light?
And so, with (I hoped) more strength, more wisdom, more experience, and much more faith and a belief in a far greater Power, one pushes on. But now, and you don’t even realize the importance at the time, humility has come. Drop by drop upon the heart. You understand you do not have all of the answers. And you slowly try to learn how to trust again.
Against all odds, an incredible man comes into your life. A man whose daughter fought eating disorders for years. And yes, survived. But, you see something in this man that you know is missing in yourself. You see an incredible heart, you see the very essence of love, of faith in humanity. And you feel humbled in his presence. He lifts you up to a higher place. He instills in you a gift that has been lacking. Grace under pressure. A humble servant of God. You know that that incredible gift was brought to you for a reason. You don’t question it. You only embrace it.
October 30, 2019.
Year three … three long years of remembering. And the grief is heightened as your dad, a man who had lived 89 good years, breathed his last on October 24, 2019, just six (6) days before the day you dread so much. Your siblings by his bedside. In the same hospital. You hear those words again, those words that ripped out your heart three years before … “[s]he’s gone.”
Four days before that, a tornado ripped through Dallas costing as much as $60 billion in property damage but against all odds, did not take one human life. But, that horrific tornado and remembrances of your beloved daughter were only the precursors of global events to come.
The catastrophic fires in Australia. The rise and then explosion of Covid-19. The looting and rioting in many cities in the United States. The idiocy of self-important political views being paraded in public for all to mock. 2020 will mark the most recorded hurricanes with 11 hitting mainland United States (a record). Wildfires scarring more than 4 million acres in California. For the first time in recorded history, two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. So many other disasters, both man made and natural which try men’s and women’s souls.
Covid-19 took a personal toll. My elderly mother, who entered a rehabilitation center in February, never left the facility … alive. Like all elderly and nursing homes in Texas, in March this facility was closed down to all outside persons because of Covid-19. The last time I saw my mother was on September 18, 2020, just 30 minutes after she passed away, alone, in her room in that facility.
Life. Death. Remembrances. Love. Laughter. Triumphs and Failures. Insight and Idiocy. Which brings us to …
October 30, 2020.
The 4th year. And I am reminded of an expression: “An avalanche starts with one pebble. A forest with one seed. And it takes one word to make the whole world stop and listen. All you need is the right one.”
Sometimes a point is reached where enough is enough. Four years of research. Four years of investigations. Four years of uncovering facts and evidence. Four years of figuratively “hunting” so called leaders. Four years. And now? You reach the Point of No Return.
For those who wished me to just stay home, community “leaders” who plotted with others to silence my/our voices … your opportunity is over. Your time to strike was before. As for now? The chess board is set, the moves have begun. And all the time while you were playing checkers the pieces of a 3D chess game were being set and strategies were implemented.
Persons, foundations and organizations which thought they were impervious are discovering, perhaps too late, that the curtain has been drawn back. And we shall see what we shall see.
Meanwhile, there remains, grief and humility.
As for grief, at least for this one person, I have come to understand that grief is not linear. As time marches on, we do not “get better,” or grieve less. I believe instead that grief is on a movable spectrum. There are those days in which we do not even have a conscious awareness of the grief that will forever exist in our heart. We “feel good.” God has granted us gentle mercies on those days. And then on other days, a certain scent, a song, a memory, seeing past familiar places, take that conscious awareness you have, cruelly casts it aside and you remember. You remember just as surely as if the tragedy had happened that very day. You feel a knife in your heart. It is a reminder. A reminder to remain humble. To know that you are merely a conduit. You have no control over a greater message. You are reminded.
As for the future … you dare to hope again. You dare to believe again. You dare to have faith again. Not because of anything that you can control. But instead, because of the circle of life which both confounds and amazes us.
For a new life is about to come into the world. A child. A granddaughter. Perhaps as soon as today! You hope and you pray that it will be today. A day which has been a day of mourning. Perhaps becomes a day of rebirth, of new life.