I had a long, painful conversation with my sister who understands what it feels like to lose a child; she has been my rock. I know how much it hurts her to see me in pain. When she asked me if I had prayed for God to take away some of my pain, I had to wonder why I was holding on so tightly to my grief.
I realized that because people were getting back to the business of living, I was afraid that my son would be forgotten. That would be like losing him all over again.
The next day, I awoke knowing that my son was sent here for restoration and reconciliation. In the 6 months he lived with us before he died, he learned to love himself, and accept that he was loved.
I’m so grateful that God sent him here to me before taking him home.
There are times when I need to be alone, so I withdraw into my head – to think, to remember, or to just be.
After a while, I become aware of my isolation, and the loneliness creeps in. I feel heavy – as if I am draped in sadness; and I am convinced that no one could understand how this feels. At these times, I’m so tired of being in pain, I start projecting my self-disgust on other people. I have to force myself to reach out and break the solitude. Even then, the support of family and friends can’t always reach that place deep inside where it hurts.
just hanging on
Getting through the day without breaking down is now a bit easier. When I reach the point where it gets to be too much – I can “hide” in plain sight. I stay in the bubble and try not to think, feel, or deal with anything painful or controversial. It feels safe there: no fatigue or tears, but also no laughter – and no strong emotion of any kind. I just realized today that I spent the last 3 days there.
“The pain of grief never really goes away. Healing is not a cure (there is no cure for grief). Healing means facing the future with acceptance, gratitude and hope.” Grieving God’s Way by Margaret Brownley
Right after my son’s accident, I could only recall memories of his last 6 months while living with us.
It is only recently that the early memories have returned: my son as a baby, toddler, adolescent, and teen – such heartbreaking images.
Allowing myself to remember what he was – to me and to others, takes me to a dark, lonely place. In this space, I have no wish to speak; to listen; or to invite anyone in. Time passes, much like you see in a movie when everything freezes; white noise and nothing-ness blocks the world from getting in. It is a seductive, solitary place…….and I find it very healing.
“Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
There are days when I feel so broken that I want to plead with God – – to cry out to him – – that I’m not ready to let my son go. I wake in a panic, afraid that I’ve lost him forever, because I can’t remember the sound of his voice, or his laugh. My struggle is to find peace in knowing that my son and I will be together again in a new place (he just gets to go there first).
I wonder if it is true that when you lose a loved one, your mind forgets things so your heart doesn’t keep breaking over, and over again.
Life will never be the same – I will never be the same; I’ve simply lost too much. And yet, I look around and see all that I’ve been given. I’m just not sure how to reconcile this realization with the pain in my heart. I’m constantly reminded: if you give God the pieces, he can take anything broken and make it whole again. That is my prayer
“The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18
It helps to be with other mothers who have lost a child. Three moms visited me after the accident, and gave me comfort and some very good advice. They didn’t ‘pull any punches” when they told me, “You will never be the same. Just know that when people tell you it get better – it doesn’t. It just gets different. There will be a new normal.” (I was still dazed, but I remember thinking, “I just read somewhere that… “normal is just a setting on a dryer.”)
sometimes, there is such cruelty in hope
You have a “good” day, and you delude yourself into thinking that you might be getting better, or nearing the “end” (as if the healing process was somehow linear). Then, the next day you do a virtual “face-plant” on the floor. After the third or fourth time you pick yourself up, most people would get it. But the pain is so great, you continue to hope – against all evidence – that THIS time, it might be different. You just crave a bit of “normal.”