December 19th -It has been one of those weekends where I have been aware of my thoughts much like when you become aware of the ticking of a clock and would like for it to be quiet. I wished for a more restful quiet time, but it was not to be had. As far as physical activities there were a variety, but all seemed forced and artificial. Intentions were good, motives were pure but the overlying mood dampened all enthusiasm.
My husband and I have talked a lot this weekend. I reminded him this morning as he left for work how fortunate we are that we do talk, that among the scattered debris of our emotions, this is one habit we have established that is of value. We each dwell on different aspects of our son’s death, processing things through our filter of knowledge and perception. We each have our own particular triggers for sorrow. The other thing we do very well is to hold each other and allow the other to cry. That is really all we can do. There is no making it better.
People say the things they have learned to say to people who have experienced the death of a loved one. Those things really did not help much when my husband and my parents died, and it sounds ugly to say, but those deaths do not compare to this. Our parents did not die young. We were unwilling to part with them, but by the time they passed we (my husband and I) had a family of our own upon which we focused. They are missed at times. After their respective deaths I do not remember dwelling on that loss on a daily, hourly basis. This ticking clock of grief concerning our son is relentless.
January 2nd will be six months. I see the looks on the faces of some of the people who know me as an acquaintance, they do not know what to say, or how to gauge me because of our superficial friendship. They are the ones who make me most uncomfortable. I have other friends who allow me to say my son’s name and do not flinch. That is something all grieving parents need to be able to do, to talk about their child, and have someone allow them to do so.
When I talk of him, I picture him completely in my mind. He is more substantial than the world around me. Maybe healthcare givers, experts in helping people with grief would say this is unhealthy, a fantasy. Maybe I think it is unhealthy because I want something to be wrong with me other than the fact that I am just aggrieved.
I talked a couple days ago about how we try to punish ourselves. Talking about it does not make it stop. It is a process we have to work through, and like many processes it is a slow one.
December 20th. I am having difficulty talking about my feelings this week. I can’t seem to focus. Invasive thoughts, self-pity, weighty grief all wash in over the day. I feel guilt because I want to be able to enjoy my husband and daughter and friends and I get lost in all the aforementioned things.
I went to see the Russian Ballet Nutcracker last night with a friend. It was a great evening. I tired not to let any thoughts about my son enter into the evening. I did let thoughts of my daughter invade. I knew how much she would have enjoyed being there watching.
My husband is continuing to battle allowing himself to have joy, to have pleasure. It is a difficult hurdle, I have thought a lot about recently. My fable addressed it to some extent. It seems wrong to be happy, and I can’t explain why.
My thoughts are so fragmented since the weekend.
I don’t wear a watch. Maybe I need to give up the calendar too. If I were not aware of dates, perhaps . . . But then there is that darn inner clock that seems to alarm at certain times marking events that are engraved on my heart.
I think what annoys me most is how much time I spend trying to make sense of things, trying to figure things out. We try to impose order. We work long and hard on habits that take only a day or two to break. Those things we want to forget we can’t and those things we want to remember we forget. The most solid and certain of ideas that might survive for generations eventually erodes or the foundation slips and a different presumed truth emerges. It is messy, and order is an illusion.
I might write more this week. I might not. I miss my son, I miss the way our family used to be, I miss my husband’s confidence, I miss my daughter’s sense of security and joy, I miss my ability to trust and believe and have the faith I once had. Things had changed over the years, but the changes had been more subtle and gradual in the past .
I hope this season brings to everyone the things they need most (and those things God only knows). I hope there are moments where you can focus on new joy. I hope that we can all extend grace to the difficult, forgiveness for the inept and empathy for those we never have identified with before. I hope.