I am sure you have seen them, and maybe even wear one or two – those different color silicone awareness bracelets – and they all have their own meaning. Camouflage to support the troops. Orange for Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus and Melanoma. Silver for Dyslexia. And on and on.
Black, the color I focus on, is for mourning, POW/MIA, and for some reason Restless Leg Syndrome and Colitis.
Matt and I were talking about the black bracelet and what it means to us, the bereaved parents, and why black. But we both agreed it was very appropriate.
Black is the color of death. It has long been associated with mourning, with death, with the end, with the unknown. There is a very long Wikipedia page on black:
and it is very interesting, you should read it some time.
But to us, the bereaved parents, black has its own meaning. It is the color that you can look at and it does not have anything to give back to you. There is no reflection, no tonal changes, there is no joy, there is nothing there. That is the way most of us see our lives after the loss. A very precious and dear part of our lives has been taken from us and we have been left with a void. A very large, black void. We look into it, into our future, into our hopes and dreams, and nothing looks back. We see just that – black.
Our children, who were our rainbow of life, are now gone. And with them they took the blue from the sky, the green from the trees, the yellow from the sun, and the red from our hearts. And what was left behind is black hole. Our lives are now just shades of grey and black.
But as time goes on, and we live past the initial shock, past the numbness that embodies us, past the deep, deep crevices that we try to crawl out of, we start to see something. For some of us it is months, for others years, for some many years. But we all do start to see something more. We start to remember the joy our children brought us. We start to remember the pink in their smiling faces. We recall the green lawns that they played on as a child and enjoyed for soccer. We see them swimming in an ocean of blue water, or sliding down a tan water slide.
We remember their blue hockey jersey, and their orange soccer shirt, and their red band jacket. We see pictures of the colors of their graduation gown, or their first, and maybe only baby blanket, and the colors of their bedroom. We start to recall the colors that were their life. We recall the color of their favorite clothes. We can see them drawing with a crayon and recall the colorful picture. We somehow remember one day what their favorite color was, and we all of a sudden cherish that color. We even remember them when we see their same make and model and color of their car.
A green or red or white VW Jetta means nothing to me. But a dark blue one, any year, and I remember him. I see him driving his first car again in my mind. I feel so happy and at peace recalling how he loved to drive his blue Jetta. It brings a tear of joy, and sorrow to my eyes. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, his last car, his favorite car, the one we searched for and almost went to Florida to purchase, the one with the most memories – was black. But I’ll get over that.
We all learned something that seemed so insignificant when we were kids that is so important now, that means so much. What really is black? What is black made up of? What happens if we decompose black? It is made up of all of the other colors. It is not just black – there is no such thing as black. It is a combination of all of those colors that were our children. It is Andrew’s blue jersey mixed with his maroon graduation gown, mixed with is tie dye concert shirt, mixed with his orange lava lamp, mixed with his red hair, mixed with his blue blanket. It is all of Andrew, all that Andrew was, just mixed together.
For some of us the black that has painted our lives is still too wet to touch, still to hard to penetrate. But for others, we have to start to un-mix the black. It my job, our jobs, to start to separate those other wonderful colors from the black. To come out of the black – or to look deeper into the black and to see what really makes up the black that has immobilizes and encases us and embrace it. Yes, I will always miss Andrew, more than anyone can really comprehend. I will always cry for him and mourn his loss and have that hole in my heart forever.
But instead of seeing black, instead of staring into a void of nothingness, instead of just black, I can separate the black and see the colors that were Andrew. And I can smile and be happy that he was such a colorful person.
This New Year will bring colors. This year, grandma’s Christmas tree will be green again with an overflow of colorful lights and tinsel. The menorah candles will be blue and white with their dancing orange flame. The snow will fall white. The sun will be yellow. And I will see Andrew in all of these colors. And I might smile, maybe, once again when I think of him.