Untold Stories #1
Online content never goes away, or so we are told. If that’s true, then a blog containing deep personal thoughts can be a dangerous platform, given its longevity. Never is a long time. Never doesn’t really exist, yet in our limited human ability to truly understand time (if anyone can), the idea of never can be daunting. Never is an absolute, a superlative, so not to be taken lightly.
For the past (almost) five years, I’ve shared my personal stories of our family’s lives with and without Owen. I’ve shared from my mother-heart. I’ve shared from my ongoing mothering nature as it regards Nat. And, I’ve shared with an open eye to how my posts might affect the rest of my family and friends. All of my posts have been true; and all of my posts have been colored with finely drawn outlines, so that some are highlighted with poignancy, and some more carefully sculpted in order to keep safe the players, the loved ones.
Truth is, with tomorrow being the 5th anniversary of Owen’s body being found in the Petaluma River, I know what I need to share. I don’t know what I think I want to know – how he died and under what circumstances. Yet, I wonder at how much more awful it could be if I did know. Conversely, could it have been easier? What colors, what tones, what hues might appear in a different light if I knew that Owen’s death was caused by accident, murder, or suicide? I can’t know, given the tangible and circumstantial evidence, so I live in the mystery. I live with the knowledge that Owen loved mysteries and this might be exactly the path that he prescribed for his life, and therefore, part of mine. Every time I write “I” in this post, I could write “we”, but I don’t honestly know what my family, my friends might write on the same subjects. So, I write from “I”.
This post is the first of those that I wouldn’t have shared in the early days. I wouldn’t have been able to navigate grief if I hadn’t deified Owen after first learning that he was truly gone from this plane. My path is my path. Part of my journey has been to imprint every single thing that was precious and dear in his memory. This blog has served me well in that intent. So have my conversations with my friends and family over the years. Only a few of us have ever talked openly about the difficult side of his life, and the dark side of his death…if there is one.
So many more stories than you have ever read here have made Nat, Lea, Michael, Dave, and I laugh with love. I remember these times in the late night or early morning hours, or sometimes, when I’m driving to work or the grocery store. Often, they are initiated by music – makes sense. Music lives on and aids us in living in the moment, whether with memories of the past or our imagined futures – or, the pasts and futures that might have been. What we get, what we understand, what we accept, in the distant aftermath, is what actually happened…to the best of our ability. And, that’s where this storyteller finds roadblocks, and, acceptance. What did happen?
On finding myself here, five years later, I am often amazed that my family has survived Owen’s loss as well as we have. If you haven’t lost a child or someone with the same depth of relationship, you might not understand the protective nature of sharing the lost person’s history. They, the lost loved ones, never imagined that you might tell their stories for them. They, after all, were immersed in telling their own stories – no editors, no critics required, none welcomed.
If you hope to find some revelatory stories in my future posts, titled “Untold Stories #x” you may be disappointed. I am not the detective who will reveal the answer to the puzzle. Would that it were. It’s possible that there is no grand climax, no setting full of clues, no protagonists or antagonists that will point your way to a mystery solved. I’m writing these memories for myself, and, therefore, and by way of this seemingly unnatural tool of communication, for the other people who hold mysterious or untold stories of their loved ones. No one gets a “pass” in life. We all have our strengths and deficits, and upon reflection of those of us left behind, our stories will unfold in unique, although not our own, ways. Owen was not guarded from life’s infallibilities. He lived in them. He told me on numerous occasions, “This is my life, Mom. I have to live it fast. I won’t be around long”.
What did Owen know? You can’t unknow what you know. He couldn’t. What did he last see? What did he last think and feel?