A year ago this morning, I was sitting in a grey room, alone, with a white table and no windows. I had spent the morning riding along with an investigator whose presence I was beginning to enjoy despite the circumstance. I was hopeful. I was confident. I was wrong.
“We found your mom.” the lady said.
In that moment, the colorless room began to bleed into my world. Everything had violently become bland - people, nature, objects, feelings, God. It was like a Tsunami. The first phrase, “We found your mom.” was the receding water off the coastline. The words, “She’s dead.” was all that water returning at nature’s full force, swallowing me into the wreckage. If I didn’t drown, I’d be crushed miles down the way - my inevitable fate, I believed.
But here I am; one year later and still breathing and uncrushed - scratches and bruises aside. I’ve found the surface, but no land in sight. I’ve become used to surviving in the disorientation death brings. I will always be treading in the loss of my Mom, and I’ve come to be ok with that. I’ve met some beautiful humans afloat in their own Tsunami, but a Tsunami all the same. We survived; some by great lengths and others by inches, it doesn’t matter. We’re stronger. Broken, but alive.
I have a tattoo of the word “Grace” on my hand. I got it after I had found my mom near dead on her kitchen floor when I was 19. The string of events leading me to her home at that exact time was a miracle. I wanted to be able to explain to people that grace lives in the most dark of times. When she died just over a year later, I remember thinking I made a mistake. “Where’s the grace here?” It was a dark season where days were slow and nights were slower. My mind was busy trying to make sense of all the pain my heart was carrying. A year’s gone by and I still believe grace exist in all places in many forms. It’s a very weird thing to see good things come from such an awful experience such as death. It doesn’t make sense but it challenges my doubts of there being a God. Yes, the unknown is a bitch, but she’s beautiful and kind when you accept her for what she is - a mystery. And mysteries aren’t so bad when you remember that there is always hope. Always.
Matthew W. Kennelly