Jason Dykstra is our guest writer this week. He lost his son Ezra to a stillborn death.
by Jason Dykstra
Seven years. Seven years later and I still don’t know whether I should be calling next weekend Ezra’s birthday or his death anniversary. After seven years, I still feel silly not knowing how to comfortably label that day. And yet, it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
When I was a kid, we would often go to my Opa and Oma’s house to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Of course, it’s not a proper celebration without cake, right?!? But one cake was never enough for our family, so often we’d have a couple of cakes there, with each family bringing one. From time to time, I got to be the server, and so I’d go around the room taking orders. When I’d get to my Opa, he always had a mischievous smile on his face, and he’d give the same response when asked which he would like; “A little of both, please…”
My Opa knew that he was being presented with an either/or question, and yet, he paid no attention, knowing that often an either/or question typically had a both/and response.
I’ve realized over the years of grief, both from my own experience and from working with others through grief, that my Opa was right. The either/or that is presented is typically never the only option that’s available to you. Rather, it’s a both/and. A lesson that I’ve learned time and time again in both my professional and personal life. Something that is just life. Life is beautiful and brutal. We get it all - the good and the bad. We get to experience those beautiful moments that bring a tear to our eye, make our chest pump out with pride, or cause us to think that we had an ab workout because we’ve been laughing so hard. AND life is full of brutal moments. Just watch the news or open a paper, and you’ll see moments that take your breath away, leaving us feeling empty and in pain. Our heart being ripped out from our chest. Then there is everything in between. Sometimes, we experience those moments at the exact same time...
To read the entire article, go to Jason's Substack newsletter, The Flock.
To learn more about Jason:
Jason’s bio says, "I have a M.A. in Leadership from Royal Roads University, a B.A. with a double major in English and Psychology, and an Advanced Certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation. I am a Chartered Mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario and an Accredited Family Mediator through the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario and the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. Lastly, I teach at the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College, and am a past Director on the Board for the Alternative Dispute Resolution of Ontario." Jason has written two books titled Healing Hereafter: Finding Rational and Refreshing Answers for Why We're Here and Where We're Headed, and his newest one, drawing on the stillborn death of his son, Ezra, Welcome To The Sh!t Club: A Male's Perspective on Stillbirth, Grief, and Loss.