My Dear Morgan,

Goodness, things have to lighten up soon.  I am about at my limits of strength and ability to process information.  I am just back from a quick trip to NYC to shore up Alex.  It feels like I have been in constant motion since returning from Africa – to NYC twice, to D.C., to Charlottesville, to North Carolina…. spinning like a top at times.  I have been traveling so much that I’m getting disoriented when I open the fridge and think “but I know I just bought milk. Where is it? Oh, that was another fridge.” Much of my busyness is to stop the despair that Dan and Alex slide into during my two weeks away in Africa.  We have all become like delicate plants that wither quickly when nurturing and tending is withdrawn.

So I am on the circuit to do my Mama nurturing, leaving filled refrigerators, clean laundry, and order in my wake.  That is a particularly hard task to do in NYC where I have to cart the fixings of every meal through the streets and up three flights of stairs to Alex’s apartment.   I found myself considering meals dependent on their weight.   Somehow, I couldn’t get Alex to buy into a dinner of rice cakes, popcorn and marshmallows.  Pity, it would have been so easy – and light!  It is funny to figure out what value you add on.   I see that mine is to provide sanctuary to those I love, easing things up a bit.

This is a nice gig to have and pretty intuitive for me.  I know how to make the daily grind recede and the sense of home emerge.  When Dan and Alex fall in the door, I can be there to catch them with the sustenance of food and music and love all around.  Then, they are able to take that nexus of calm and use it as a foundation to take on the world – the next day.   With my caring, I chip away some of the anguish from your death and the incessant demands of work.

The habit of joy is so easily forgotten and most difficult to recapture.  We have definitely lost our way on this – we have got the work side of the equation down solidly, but the pleasure/reward part is missing since your murder, Morgan.  I believe that the way out is to add the grace notes, wherever possible and to guard the space where contentment might grow.  Exuding joy into your life is like the letting down of milk; it cannot be forced, but creating an environment of serenity allows the nurture to flow.   We need to pay attention to this process and help it along.  Otherwise, I fear we are at risk of essentially becoming collateral victims of Morgan’s killer, alive, but without a life.   No way, no how, will I let him inflict further damage to us; we will work it out.  I happened on a phrase that resonated and that I want to create for our triangulated family:  “post traumatic growth”. It IS possible – it even has a name!  Morgan help us conjure this reality.



5 Responses to “Gil Harrington’s thoughts from June 27th, 2011”

  1. Dear Dan and Alex and Gil, What a beautiful, smart post. The milk drops, when the cues are irresistible, and the blueberry bushes make sugary treasures, because that season arrives. I wish overflowing relief and joy for each of you.

  2. Moonchime says:

    Dearest Gil,

    Once more, your words create such beauty in the midst of your family’s incomprehensible loss. You are always in my prayers. May God grant you much joy and peace.

    With love and hugs,~Moonchime

  3. tammy says:

    What amazing strength you have and your writing is truly comforting for me as a reader and I’d imagine must bring some healing to you as well. I love how you use words to describe healing, it is beautiful. I lost someone also around about the time of morgans disappearance, not in a tragic way, but in my pain i was drawn to the news coverage of your loss. I am also a nurse and in that i witness pain and sufferring of all sorts. It brings me comfort to know that you and your family are learning to find peace. It helps me move forward in my own grief. Thank you for sharing your gift to write. May God Bless you and your family.

  4. Gil , So beautifully you express your thoughts with us . So quietly & gracefully you speak on air over the radio to those of us tuning in to listen . You are a shining example of grace & beauty under fire . You have what all Moms should be made of . Blessings to You & your beautiful family . Love to You , frances

  5. Ann H Tearle says:

    POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH–I love it! Yes! Yes! Yes! You, Gil, have coined a new phrase and it will flourish. Ann

Leave a Reply