Matt, I find it shocking how those waves of emotion can hit and cause me to crash back into that dark, angry place. My mind continues to battle anxiety, grief and guilt. I feel like a juggler. Trying to keep those emotions high in the air, far away from my heart. Life is different now. Time has done nothing to lessen the reality that continues to send shock waves through my soul.
This grief is like none other. I continue to tell myself that this is my new reality. That you really did die. It’s like my brain knows the truth but continues to put up that barrier protecting my sanity. My body has taken a hit. When the memory of hearing those painful words replay in my brain my throat starts to constrict. My heart starts to race and my stomach turns inside out. There are days I feel like I’m silently dying. That little by little my body is slowly disengaging from life. I feel like I’ve been knocked senseless. There are days I feel like I’m losing my mind.
Memories are so bittersweet. Flashes of your smiling face, images of you walking on the beach with the dogs continue to take my breath away. I want so badly to reach out and touch your skin. To see you turn around and open your arms to me. I want to wake up from this nightmare and hug you. I want to be transported back in time.
I struggle trying to make sense of what I never saw coming. Why would a parent ever think they would outlive their child? My worry was how you would fare if something happened to me. Now I touch your urn and force my heart to accept that this is all that’s left of your beautiful face, your amazing eyes, your contagious laugh and your heartwarming smile.
I struggle with my faith. My belief in heaven. My hope of seeing you again. Of never again being separated by death. I continue to question why God allowed you to die. Is it punishment for something I’ve said or done? Was your death at 37 already predestined at your birth? So many unanswered questions haunt me as I lay in bed enveloped in the darkness of my grief.
I struggle with societies perception of how long grief should last. I question myself. Its been 4 years and 2 months yet it continues to hurt like hell and feel like yesterday. I feel like I’m starring in Groundhog Day. Reliving your death every morning as I remember I can’t pick up the phone and hear your voice. We can’t share whats been happening in our day. I relive it every night as I drag my exhausted mind into bed realizing I haven’t wished you a peaceful night.
I search for book written by other grieving parents. Looking for answers on how to survive this devastating loss. I’ve found we all share the common bond of shock, numbness and despair. That others like me share the feeling of losing their minds over the unthinkable loss of their child. That like me their bodies and brains have taken a hit. That life will never return to normal. We all live in the reality of before and after. We’ve learned that everything we thought we knew about grief was a lie. It knows no boundaries. It has no timeline. It hits hard when least expected. It moves in and never leaves.
I struggle with friends who are no longer. Those who chose to walk away. As if my grief was a virus they needed protection from. Fellow nurses who’s ups and down’s I’ve shared. Holding them up as they buried husbands. Celebrating marriages and grandchildren. Giving me one last hug at your funeral and disappearing into the sunset.
I struggle with the disappearance of family members. Life is just too busy for a visit or phone call. Those I though would have become closer have drifted away. I’ve learned we are not promised tomorrow. I was one of them before your death. Always thinking there was time to make that call or plan that visit. I struggle to lower my expectations of people. I struggle with the reality that along with you I’ve lost many more..
I struggle with expectations of myself. Who I am and what I must do to survive the rest of my life. I struggle accepting that I had no say in how my life would be. I struggle with self kindness and care. I struggle with giving myself permission to throw my mask against the wall allowing the world to see the real me. I struggle with cutting myself a break when I realize that tears flow at a moments notice with no warning as to why.
Then I remember. I lost my son. I have earned the right to scream if I need to. I’ve earned the right to take a step back and hold onto whatever or whoever is throwing a life preserver my way. I’ve earned the right to be pissed at the world. To be pissed at people who complain about their lives on days when reminders of you are everywhere.
Most of all I’ve accepted that my struggle to find peace will continue for a lifetime. As will my longing to see you again…….