KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Mayfield: Love always has a place to go, even in grief

Apr 13, 2024, 11:16 AM

Image: A person holds a candle at a memorial and vigil outside Los Angeles City Hall in November 20...

A person holds a candle at a memorial and vigil outside Los Angeles City Hall in November 2015. (Photo: David McNew, Getty Images)

(Photo: David McNew, Getty Images)

It has been eight years and two days since our son Tommy died. He was 2 1/2 years old when we took him to Seattle Children’s Hospital on a sunny Saturday morning with a nosebleed that would not stop.

Twenty-four hours later, we would make the most impossible decision to remove him from life support, holding him in our arms and singing to him until his tiny heart stopped beating.

My heart broke that day. My life burned to the ground. Everything I thought I knew about the world shattered into a billion pieces. Our family has spent every moment since that day trying to rebuild a life that makes any kind of sense.

Today, I can say to you without hesitation that we have done just that I can say we live a life of meaning, purpose and joy. I can look at my husband and our two living children and know we all share that kind of love. We do it for Tommy and with Tommy still.

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Some who hear me mark the death of Tommy will know exactly what it is to feel this kind of loss. To those who know, I hope you hear me today, reminding you that you are not alone. I hope you know I hold you and your loss in my heart too. I hope you understand that in saying our Tommy’s name aloud, we say your loved ones name as well.

Others will hear me and you may ask, “Why share this grief so publicly, still, after all this time?”

For you, I say that I am glad you do not know the loss that we feel. I wouldn’t wish it on another living person. And, yet, I also know you cannot escape this life without your own losses.

Today, you may not understand, but tomorrow you will. Today, you don’t need a light illuminating your path forward. But tomorrow, you will.

I hope, in your darkness, that some day you can remember that it is possible to put one foot in front of the other and to live again. I hope you can remember that in Tommy’s name.

Some people say grief is just love with no place to go. But I say love always has a place to go, and it is our job to share it with as many others as we can, as often as we can.

Editors’ note: This commentary was delivered on KIRO Newsradio’s “Seattle’s Morning News” on Friday, April 12, 2024.

Travis Mayfield is a Seattle-based media personality and a fill-in host on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of his stories and commentaries here.

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Mayfield: Love always has a place to go, even in grief