I am repeatedly surprised at how raw my grief is. I have no gauge by which to measure it. I talk with other parents who have experienced a loss. We do not compare our feelings as such but we do reassure each other that “everyone must go through this at their own rate in their own way.” I am sure that probably seems self-evident. In a world where almost everything is rated and quantified we find ourselves wanting to have a chart to tell us when we can expect to feel differently. I was going to say better but I don’ t really know what that means.
When I was in shock ,reminders-triggers sometimes slipped past me. Absolutely everything seems to remind me of my son now. That sounds impossible even to me yet, it is true.
I have plantar fascists in my left foot. I’ve had it for months. It hurts at varying degrees and nothing I have done so far has worked for long to stop the pain. It has prevented me from doing some of my normal exercise and it always makes me hesitate when I first wake in the morning and put my feet on the floor. I wish I didn’t see analogy in everything, but this is how grief seems too, in a nutshell.
I am constantly on guard trying to avoid anything that will make it hurt more. I do the exercises, I wear the prescribed guards and do-dads that are supposed to make it better. It flares up and settles down intermittently. I am aware of it every evening when I go to bed and it is something I think of when I rise. I guard my steps.
I miss my son. I can’t believe he is gone. Watching his contemporaries continue through the stages of their life journey is so bitter sweet. Family gatherings are tough. I see the pain and grief in my husband and realize it simply reflects my own. I still get lost in photos of my son. I want to hear his voice, feel his arms around me, see that face. I know I am not the only one doing this. I know, unfortunately, there are so many of us quietly going about the day – keeping this to ourselves as much as possible. We get weary of it, but fear that others will tire of us or withdraw from our company and we desperately need company.
I keep thinking I should have come up with something – a mantra? by now to tide me over during those intense bouts of pain. Scenes replay. Thoughts I don’t want – invade. Images based on imagination taunt. Second guesses turn to third and fourth guesses. Wishing, futile futile wishful thoughts tease. None of which make any difference to the current circumstance. He is gone.
When I married I did not know then how much of yourself you must invest in that relationship to make it work. Not having been married before or even having been in anything that resembled this relationship was all new and I learned the hard way. The man I married was an adult and so we as adults had to butt heads and negotiate and compromise.
Then the children came. Tiny and helpless we cradled them thinking that this was trust, a gift, an endowment for the future. We marveled over every aspect of their development and were amazed at how quickly they learned, developed and became individuals – so separate yet so intwined with our own being.
The June before my son died, when a storm came through and split one tree and ripped up another I took photos after the event. In one picture my son is there with his back to me as he goes to examine that uprooted tree. The tree is on its side with a huge rootball covered in wet earth. The workman cut the tree and the root ball dropped back in – but the tree was lost. Where it once stood there is no evidence it ever existed.
This loss can’t even be compared to that tree, yet I feel like something has been ripped out of me. And the evidence that he ever existed? It is right here all around me, in me and ever present.
This was not supposed to happen. This was not something I ever expected. I don’t want this to happen to anyone ever again.
The conflict rages in our heart and head while we remain. It makes no sense. It has changed everything and yet the world seems to go on unchanged around us. It cannot be resolved or cured or mitigated.
Memorial Day has passed. There were movie marathons which may have made grieving families cringe. There are concerts whose music brought tears. There are articles in the papers where grieving parents said “the right things.” The radio station had a memorial pause for one minute while TAPs was played. For those parents and myself – memorial is minute by minute, day by day, month by month.
If it changes, I might share that insight. For now, things are the same as they have been for the past twenty three months. I’ve stopped trying to imagine it any differently. I will continue to guard my steps.