Eric and Lynn
My daughter, an aspiring nurse, and "every dog" lover, a vibrant and chatty twenty-four years old was hit by a drunk driver last year on her way from work to home. After a week in the ICU in the very same hospital she was working, we had to let her go. Everything changed after that.
They say that time heals all wounds. It didn't for us. They said that we should be allowed to grieve, but grief is not something to do for comfort. Grief takes you by the hair and throws you against the wall, striking you, over and over until you are blind with pain. You can not go to work, you can not go about your daily duties, while you are "allowed to grief" as if grieving is something you do for fun, as if you have a choice to grieve or not. You can't function, think, breathe, love. You don't want to move one foot in front of the other. You don't want to live without your loved one and see no merit in living this way.
I lost my employment, and Eric and I separated. Our family fell apart. My husband and I...he reminded me of her, and I reminded him of her. We just couldn't be together without tremendous grief and guilt sitting between us like two elephants. My younger daughter dealt with it by shutting down and partying with the wrong friends. I think she just wanted to feel something else, rather than grief.
One day a friend of mine told me about Mel. Her mother has hired her before, and she was signing the woman's praise. I did not want yet another person to come and tell me how sorry they are for my loss. I did not want to hear another family therapist asking me to come back next week. I did not want any more pity. But Deborah insisted that Mel is nothing like anyone I know, so I agreed to meet with her.
I will spare you the gruesome details of our work together, mainly because I'm embarrassed by my behavior. I threw everything at her. My pain, my grief, my loss, the burning need for justice, my hate for God for taking my child, my envy of all the happy people walking around. I would see a mother in the store scolding her child, and I would burst into a rage for her stupidity. Doesn't she know how precious this child is?!
Not once did Mel try to comfort or confront me, or cuddle me for that matter. How did she keep her head cool is beyond me. But when I was with Mel, I started running out of rage. She made me realize how ridiculous I looked. My pain was no excuse for my behavior. Then my hatred turned numb. The grief was replaced by the best memories of my daughter which I shared with Eric, with Mel in the middle. We were learning to live as a family again and we were no longer afraid to mention Katie. She was home with us, with her silly jokes and medical trivia. The more time we spent with Katie, the less we could feel Mel in the room with us.
Mel came with me to meet with my previous employer, and she helped me to get my job back. Eric and I found understanding and unconditional love for each other we never knew before. Now when I see a mom in the store, scolding her child, I can feel her love for her child, and I know she is a good mom, concerned about her child. And I am soon to be a grandma of a baby girl.
Together with Mel, we met with the family of the driver. This was the most difficult and the most healing experience in my life. They suffered just as much as we did for the loss of our daughter and their father. I learned forgiveness.
Mel came in during the worst storm and left behind nothing but light, gratitude to God, and understanding that every minute you can choose to love somebody.
I will never forget that phrase, Mel kept repeating to me quite loudly if I might say,
"Take all the love you have and spread it out to others. Do not hold back for Katie. No one deserves to be loved more than another!"
If you stop and think about it, we are all guilty of doing this, picking whom to love and how much to love them. I no longer do this. I spread the love Katie had on her behalf. We all do, as a family.
Words can not describe my gratitude to Mel Brooks. She did not allow us to give up. She would not!
No wonder why everybody calls her "The Fixer!"
Eric and Lynn