Matt, Grief is defined as keen mental suffering over loss. It encompasses sharp sorrow and painful regret. Grief and Guilt take turns pounding pain into my heart. Each hitting me when I least expect. Sweeping me up in emotions I can no longer control. I never knew that Grief could physically hurt. I never knew that Guilt could be so cruel. My body feels beat up. Every muscle and bone feels the pain of loss that no one can see. This incredible anguish cannot be described. I could never imagine that this type of pain existed until it crept into my soul the day you left me behind.
My books on Addiction have been replaced by books on Grief. Books that no mother should ever have to touch or read. Books on the stages of grief and how to survive each one. Titles lining the shelves that bring tears to my eyes. The Bereaved Parent, Transcending Loss and When A Child Dies From Drugs have replaced Stay Close, An Addict In The Family and Beautiful Boy. Those books gave me a false sense that you like their children would also survive. Those books met their demise on a snowy, grief filled night as I tossed each one into my roaring fire. These books made me feel like I failed to be that perfect parent who did everything right. You know the parents who can brag that their child beat the demons and now leads a productive life. My jealousy rears its ugly head and my Guilt slaps me like a foulmouthed child. Where were the books that had our ugly ending? The books that would have warned me that endings are not always answers to our prayers. The books warning of middle of the night phone calls that bring parents to their knees..
Guilt then replaces my grief. The what if’s and I should haves wrap me up in a tight cocoon refusing to let me go. Feelings of failure course through my veins replacing my grief with powerful emotions of hopelessness and regret. Flashbacks dance through my brain . Things done and said in anger and frustration whirl through my mind. Knowledge I have now eluded me then. Trying to save you and survive life changed my rational mind into a crazy, calculating one. Your addiction became mine. Staying a step ahead of your demons took every ounce of my being. Now, in a calmer state I see things clearly. My mind in a rational state sees things I should have seen when I was losing it. I have become someone I do not want to be. My soul caught in a perfect storm. Tossed between two painful emotions. Grief and guilt holding hands as they dance over my heart.
Some days weathering the storm is almost impossible. There are days I want the storm surge to carry me out with the tide. To drown my grief in the sea we both so loved. To stop my pain, to sweep me away allowing my pain to dissipate with the sea spray. Sadly, I have become a swimmer. I am the one pulling parents out when I find them struggling to stay float fighting the same storm surge that has consumed my soul. I throw the life preserver forgetting how soaked I am in my own grief and rescue those drowning in my sea. Still there are days that even rescuing another has no impact on my heart. I fall into the abyss of the perfect storm. I wonder why your grip kept slipping from the life preserver I continued to throw in the midst of our storm. Why were you swept so far away from my attempts to save your life? I look at the sea and remember holding tight to your small hand. So tiny, but fitting perfectly into mine. As you grew, your hand became harder to hold slipping away again and again until you disappeared.
There are days the grief storm is manageable. Putting on storm shutters and hunkering down, I survive. There are days the power of the grief and guilt pulls me into the undertow of reality sucking the breath from my lungs. This sea of grief and guilt ever changing is where I live since you left me that cold January day. Navigating through the powerful waves on a daily basis. Some days the waves hit gently and I can walk through without falling down. Other days a wave hits without warning knocking me to my knees. Learning to weather the unpredictability of my storm takes practice, patience and self forgiveness. Navigating through this storm is tough. Attempting to hold myself together while I slowly pick up pieces of broken sea glass that used to be my heart.