Recently I read something that just hit me the wrong way. Never will I claim to be a mental health professional or someone who knows the way out, through, over or around grief, particularly the loss of a child, but I do know what helps me and that which does not.
When I read something filled with predictions on what could happen to me as I struggle through this mourning and grieving saga, the forecast of doom or unrealistic comparisons to how an individual should be grieving, I get pissed off.
If you have ever climbed a mountain or have driven up a picturesque road to that mountaintop, you of course noticed the view is different depending upon where you are at the time, right? Would the scene be the same when you were just starting to climb? Or would you be able to predict the view if you were only half way up the mountain? How about if when you arrived at the top you realized you had forgotten to bring your glasses with you or there was fog blocking your view? It would handicap your ability to see the full view in all its glory from the top of that mountain! My view is mine and your view is unique to you. And unless you are standing on my mountain, in my shoes, experiencing the loss of my child, you have no right to predict whether my reaction is healthy. No one gets to predict my journey or what it’s like or what’s on the other side for me No one gets to proclaim that I will never be the same.
In my opinion, for what it’s worth, our view/outlook on the other side of devastation day changes all of the time, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. There are days when I tell myself “I can do this — yes, I can go on with my life without Amy’s physical presence and I will just remind myself that her energy is still here all around me!” I tell myself to pretend she is in the most beautiful place, happy and patiently waiting for my day to come when I will join her. You know, I do believe that day will come, but I miss her so much now!
Amy, is this where you are waiting for me? This is a photo of Amy standing in her favorite place — Bermuda. Maybe she is waiting for me in Bermuda. Maybe, I can get a second of peace from that thought.
The weather prevented me from driving to see my mother today so instead I decided to save all of our family photos from our computer which is ready to crash any day now. Every photo of Amy has become a family treasure. I definitely was not up to this emotional task and I could not stop the tears. Thank goodness it’s Wednesday, my designated crying day. Anyway, what I noticed the most when I looked at all of the family photos was the joy I felt being me — the mother of a family that I treasure so much. I still treasure my family but now I rarely feel moved to take a photo. The pictures of my family must continue. Amy would never approve of this being the end of our family albums. Yet, it’s hard …
There are days I try to remember my life before Amy was born. I had a good life and doing well. But those memories were forever changed the minute she arrived and became part of our family. We were complete! There is no changing that part of my heart and mind once she arrived. She instantly wormed her way into our life with that first little wide eyed look she gave me in the delivery room. There is no time before that which my heart remembers which gives me enough peace to live without her.
No one should stand from their part of their untouched mountain and tell us if we are stuck or that we will get a disease if we don’t stop missing our kid?! Put away your crystal ball please. And excuse me, but if everyone’s day is predetermined and the grief is what’s going to lead to my predetermined day, well so be it. But because there are others I love, I am still trying very hard to keep moving along to the best of my ability.
No one should ever give us a timeline as to how long we are allowed to grieve! And if you are not better by their deadline for you, well … Well, what? Put away your calendar because I have no real concept of time anyway except those “days” that I try not to pay attention to and dread. I have turned into Forgetful Jones. When I paid my bills this month, I didn’t realize it was April, soon to be May. Thought it was March. Yet I get up each and every day.
It continues to irritate me when anyone evaluates how I am doing and reports to another person their assessment of me based on an hour lunch or a short interaction with me. I stuff it well when necessary and never am able to spend too much time with anyone for very long as the grief release is typically pulsating and demanding my attention. The grief does not respect the designated times I have given it as I recently decided I could cry freely before and after work, and on Wednesdays and weekends. But, grief didn’t read the memo I sent.
I have a big case of the “who cares”! What stage is that? I laugh at times. But overall my baseline is blah and tired.
Yet, I realize this is my life and remind myself that survival is a choice for me. Sometimes, in one of my self coaching sessions, I think about what I can do to help myself change my view. Maybe I just need to really take in the changes that losing my youngest child has caused in my world and let that sink in before I push myself any further. Oh wait, isn’t that what I have been doing for the past 8 months now?
We live in a feel good, fast paced, get over yourself, self indulgent world. As a newly bereaved parent, I can’t keep up. I smile, but my eyes don’t seem to cooperate with the effort. I keep compulsively busy when my natural inclination is to retreat and hide. I try to be interested in others who are sailing through life normally despite the reality that my life is shattered and it hurts to be me.
Note to self: do not read any more grief articles or books unless written by someone who lost a child. Just not helping.