You can remember the good times, and even smile perhaps laugh. But when the laughter fades you simply miss them.
You can mount a campaign against the disease or drunk driving or texting while driving or warning other’s of the potential danger that took your loved one, but in the evening light you simply miss them.
You can rage in anger against bureaucracy that claims your unfocused time and attention with paperwork and information gathering with the final result being your loved one is still gone and ultimately you simply miss them.
You can write and write and talk and talk and look through pictures till your heart feels like it will burst and as you finally close your eyes for sleep, you simply miss them.
You dream of them, you look for their face when in a crowd, you hope for something like a message sent to reassure you that they are okay but it does not tame the part of you when you simply miss them.
And simple is the wrong word here. Simple is too simple because the missing is so huge and threatens to take over your day and if not paid attention to, take over your life.
Days come when your mind takes a break and concentrates on other things – and you feel guilty that you allowed yourself a moment not to miss them. But in the doing of things that are your bailiwick you honor who you are, the person that they loved. Could it be as simple as that? To shift your energy to focus on the things you will do each day and do them in honor of the loved one who is now gone? With purpose and forethought to say, “today I will do what I do because I loved them, because they loved me.” ?
The downside is that after you become busy times of grief and missing them seem, when they come, acutely painful – bigger because they are concentrated and intense. It is a painful trade off. Surrender every day to the dulled down existence or parts of days to intense grief.
I am not talking about the first months after our loved one departed. I don’t know that this can even apply to the first year for some. I don’t know if it can ever apply for some. It is not mine to choose for them. Not adding to the guilt of still being alive by allowing yourself time to do those things you need to do without thinking about your departed loved one is a huge hurdle. It is one you have to jump more than once – in greater and lesser degrees.
I am told again and again by those who have been on this side of things longer that this will change with time. I think it does, but the change is subtle and almost imperceptible.
The death of our precious loved one was abrupt. Our path from here on is uncharted. Crumbs are dropped by others who are further up the path and they shine a light back to us now and then to reassure us they are there. Sometimes on holidays and painful mile markers you just have to sit down and be where you have to be for a while. It is frustrating to feel like you have made no progress at all. You are weary because you have had to work so hard to get where you are and there is that pain again.
You want to be able to talk it out to someone. You still might want the stage, front and center to dump some of this pain, to have others empathize. It was difficult when this first happened it is almost impossible now. It takes them a moment to realize why you might still be upset at times. They might say it, though most out of respect won’t. But they all think on some level that you should be “getting over it” by now. When they get that look of concern or the look that says, I’m going to run if I get the chance perhaps we should say “I simply miss my child”. I simply and purely miss my son.
I can’t tell you all the things I miss because that would take 29 years. As complex as this simple is, I miss him.