I Don't Want to Grow Up!
In the musical version of Peter Pan, the lost boys sing: We won't grow up! We will never grow a day. And if someone tries to make it. We will simply run away. I won't grow up! No, I promise that I won't. I will stay a boy forever. And be banished if I don't! And Never Land will always be. The home of youth and joy. And neverty. I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up.
There are moments when it would be so lovely if there was a place called Never Land. Then I could run back to the day before Butch died, and remain there, frozen in time. It would be like that country western song where you get everything back, including your dog. Those are the days when I wake up and the sadness washes over me like a tidal wave. All I want to do is pull the covers over my head and stay there. On those days, there is the faintest glimmer of hope that when I emerge from my hiding place, it will all be a dream. I will be in Never Land; he will be here with me; all will be right with the world. I am amazed that even after all this time there is a part of me that still entertains that fantasy.
The downside of Never Land is that in order to escape and live there forever, I would lose the rest of my world. All the things in my life now that bring me joy and give my life meaning would be sacrificed. I would miss the miracle of watching my granddaughters, nieces and nephews grow up. I would lose the relationships that I am developing with my sons and daughters-in-law as they step up to fill the gap. I would not have the opportunity to pursue my career as a therapist which feels so much like a calling from God. I would miss out on the wonderful peers, friends, and family members who have shown me so much love and support in this desperate time of need. Not to mention calling Butch back from heaven and requiring him to die again someday.
The good news is that we will never have to resolve that dilemma because there is no Never Land, no way to turn back the clock, and we can’t call someone back from death. The bad news is that it is still possible to escape. If we get stuck in denial and focus only on the past, we will lose out on the rest of our world. We can do whatever it takes to move slowly and painfully through the mourning process. Or we can deaden ourselves to the agony and guarantee that we will never find ecstasy again. We can define ourselves by what has been taken from us, missing out on the miracles happening all around us. And that is like escaping to Never Land but being frozen in time at the moment after the loss.
Becoming us without them means leaving Never Land and moving forward. We can remain in neither the moment before nor the moment after the loss. Before there was us with them, there was us with God. He promises that he has not come to harm us, but to bless us and to give us hope and a future. The people we allow to help us will look hopefully into the future with and for us until the fog clears and we can believe again. Its what they would have wanted for us. Now we just have to want it for ourselves.
We can’t have our loved ones back. But we can get us back……………