Sunday, February 3, 2008

Triggers

People have asked me if there are triggers that cause me to really feel the pain of my loss. I wonder if knowing what they are would be helpful. If I knew, would I avoid the trigger? I don't think that would be healthy. And what would it do for someone else to know what the triggers are? Would they try to keep me from encountering them? I've been crying so much this past month that those triggers have been difficult to identify. But I have identified three.

The first trigger has to do with when people show kindness to Lucas. This has happened on many occasions. His cousin, Robert, from Elk Grove was playing Transformers with him on the day of the burial and funeral service. The next day, Lucas asked me if he could play with Robert again. So Robert and his family (my cousin Bryan's family) came over for a few hours. Upon leaving to go back home, Robert decided that he wanted to give Lucas one of his Transformers named "Blackout". It was such a beautiful gesture of kindness. I was moved to tears. On another occasion, Midi's cousins were over for dinner. As the evening drew to a close, they told me of their plans to watch over Lucas throughout his childhood and into his young adult life. I was moved to tears. Many others have showered Lucas with love in many forms.

I think that there are two reasons why others' kindness to Lucas triggers tears. First is that kindness is of God. It is a beautiful thing to give to one who does not have the automatic reaction of reciprocity. Even more beautiful to give to one who cannot pay you back. Secondly, kindness to Lucas, especially provision for his future, makes me sad because it triggers thoughts of Nathan. I think of how Nathan's life was cut short and how we were all robbed of his future. I know that I must learn how to celebrate Lucas and all of his accomplishments and milestones without it triggering thoughts of how Nathan did not have a chance to reach those same milestones. I don't want Lucas to feel that he is incomplete in any way or to feel guilty because he is here and Nathan is not. This is something that I must reflect on much more.

The second thing that triggers grief for me is when I see others around me grieving their own sense of loss. Midi and Nathan were loved by so many. Everyone around me is hurting. That is not to say that I don't want others to cry or express grief when they are around me. Like I said before, we walk through this together. It is healthy for us to grieve together. It feels especially painful when I see Lucas suffering. While I am glad that he is expressing his grief from time to time and not bottling it inside, it still hurts me so much to see my boy suffering.

The third trigger is visual images of Midi and Nathan. I have so many pictures of them, especially of Nathan. My computer wallpaper is a photo of Lucas and Nathan wrestling and laughing. My cell phone's wallpaper is a photo of the boys playing. My house is filled with family photos, baby photos, vacation photos, wedding photos...pictures of happiness. And though I haven't returned to work yet, my walls at work are covered with pictures of my sons. Every year I had a T.A. make a photo collage of Lucas and Nathan for me. I have three beautiful collages of them in my classroom. One showing them from birth to 1, another showing them from 1 to 2, and the other showing them from 2 to 3. I cherish all of these photos.

Today at Fountain of Life, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary as a church. It was a wonderful time of celebration, but it was also a very difficult time for me. At the end of the service, we watched a video which highlighted the most important moments in our young church. We celebrated our family center. We celebrated our outreach. We celebrated those who have come to faith this year. We celebrated our different ministries and all the people that they have blessed. Then we mourned together as we remembered Midi and Nathan. It was the first time since the tragedy that I have seen video of them. Video is so much harder than just photos. Video captures movement and expressions. It is a much closer image of life. I saw my little boy Nathan playing baseball with me. I saw him moving. I saw the sun on his face. I saw him standing with his brother. And I saw my beautiful Midi teaching my children and other children about God. Oh how I miss them!

Midi and I bought a video recorder when the boys were born. I have many tapes, mostly of Lucas and Nathan growing up. I don't think I am ready to watch these. But I know that they are a treasure. Someday I will watch them. It's just too painful right now.

6 comments:

Michelle Kim said...

As each day goes by, there is always a reminder somewhere of our loss. I have final video clips and photos on my camera as well from our family gathering right before the accident. I've seen the video clips once and it's very painful to watch now. However, it's definitely one that I will treasure forever... Mark, our family will always be here for you and Lucas. We love you both!

Atziri said...

Hi Mr.Mikasa,
I am glad that you have opened up to everyone. I am glad that your family and love ones have been there and still are there to help you out through this tough time. Even though i have not seen you in about five years i remember how great of a teacher you were and how excited you were that your wife Midi was having Nathan and Lucas. I was surprised to hear about your tragedy especially because i had just spoken to you throughout those days. I take it as a sign because i have been struggling with me becoming Jesus daughter, but through your hardships you have inspired me. I think that out of all this grief the best thing is knowing that Midi and Nathan are with Jesus. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you again for helping me realize the love that our savior Jesus Christ.

Mary said...

Dear Mark,
I think of you and pray for you often. Thank you for posting your blog and sharing your grief with us. When I think of you, I wonder how you are doing but am so encouraged by how you are leaning on God's hope. I also think about the things that God has faithfully done in our lives. Being at the memorial service and worshiping our Lord together that day reminded me of the wonders he has done in our lives, in good and hard times. I also remember silly moments, like us trying to muddle through physics homework during our "study" sessions that ended up as poor excuses to eat ramen and goof off. Or that time I gave you a haircut and accidentally gave you a bald spot (sorry). But I also remember that our IV staff taught that that "friendship comes from common mission." It was our common mission to follow Jesus together on the college campus that instilled in us the ability to laugh and mourn, rejoice and repent, forgive and seek forgiveness. Midi blessed me with her generous love in college and prayed for me when I struggled to have hope. In the best way I am able, I hope to be one of the "paralytic's friends" to you: to help you get to Jesus when you are not able to do so yourself. May the Lord's peace be with you, my friend. Much love and prayers, Mary Hao

Christine said...

mark, thanks so much for letting us into what's going on so vulnerably. you and lucas continue to be on my heart and in my prayers. i know it's still very hard, and i pray for god to continue to be with you in this time. much love, tina

Mark Mikasa said...

Michelle - someday I would like to watch whatever video clips you have from the family gathering on the day of the accident. Don't know when, but someday.

Atziri - thank you for getting back in touch with me. Keep the faith. When you are back in town, let me know. I'd love to see you and hear about your life more.

Mary - thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. And thanks for reminding me about that bad haircut. I had totally forgotten about it!

Tina - I'm glad that you are reading my blog. And I'm glad that you have been encouraged. I still feel like a big bro for you, Little Hunk.

Atziri said...

Mr.Mikasa,
I will be down in L.A. in a couple of weeks, but let me know if you are free. I am glad that we can keep in touch and thank you i will keep the faith. My family and I will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers. Thank you for the response. Hope all is well.