Those who are farther along say it won’t always hurt this much. It is my belief that while the hole in my heart and in my life is eternal for this lifetime, I will probably continue to learn how to co-exist with the pain which shadows me. I suppose I should be hopeful when I hear others say they have found joy again, but based on my age and where I am in life, joy does not really seem like a realistic goal. Peace would be a blessing, but joy is too light and carefree.
Joy reminds me of being 9 years old, laying on fresh cut grass, during the first day of summer vacation from school, watching the white puffy clouds roll by with a brilliant blue background sky. My friends and I would play a game searching for familiar shapes and shout out our interpretation of the sliding cloud show. Now when I look at the clouds, if I manage to look up from my grief, I search for signs from Amy. Show me a “feather”, Amy, so I know you are euphorically happy, I secretly pray. Recently, my friend who decided we needed to make 1,000 origami cranes in memory of Amy decided that a cluster of clouds reminded her of a crane!
Carefree joy … Light happiness which is impossible to buy. Today at this moment, I, personally, cannot imagine feeling that joy again because the pain is so persistent.
Laughter — well, I am able to laugh at something funny, but that doesn’t mean I am happy. The other day I passed someone at work who asked how I was as they walked by me without stopping. Without thinking, I said “good”. Good?!?! Where the hell did that come from? Then I realized it was my autopilot response and just something people say…
I am depressed but it’s not a depression that can be treated by a magic pill. I function out of sync, but I do function. While this may make others sad to hear that I live with so much pain and suffering, it truly is what goes on in my heart which is the result of my own personal relationship with my daughter and the impact that her death has had on my life. Amy and I spent a lot of time together. Many who read or stumble across my blog do not know me or my daughter so they can’t even imagine how close we were, but those that “know” could attest to what a challenge it is for me to live without Amy. In hindsight, I am grateful that we spent so much time together. Who knew I would have to stuff her lifetime with me into 27, almost 28 years?
I am fortunate to have support from good friends and some of my family as well as very kind people who have suffered the loss of a child too. But if you combined everyone I love or who cares about me in an effort to fill that void in my life where Amy existed here with me, there would still be a huge crater.
I have decided that it is impossible to use words to describe what losing Amy has done to me and my life. Years ago I took an online course “Awakening Joy”. We were instructed to divide into groups of 4 to work together each week to complete our assignments. Somehow, our group started out with 7 people because I couldn’t say no to anyone who wanted to join our group. However, before the class was over, I believe most of our group stopped participating. Being mindful and joyful required too much internal soul searching and work. Wow! If it was hard to be joyful back then, imagine what it must be like now … Out of nowhere today when I opened up my iPad and checked my mail, what did I see in my inbox: “Awakening Joy — joy is not for the lucky few — happiness is a choice.” I didn’t read any further but it made me think if only it were that easy? I have always maintained that surviving the loss of a child is a choice because it’s so darn difficult to live in a world without your kid! Our bodies may continue to work until the stress wears it down, but our minds are short circuited from the shock and don’t even get me started on what the loss of a child does to our hearts.
Too often over the past months, I have read griever’s vents about their friends or family’s thoughts on the way they are grieving. I, personally, have no recipe on how to grieve and as long as it’s not destructive, I have no opinion. All I can speak about is my own life on the other side of losing Amy. My husband has called me the grief rebel since the very beginning because I was rarely comforted by books or “words”. The truest comfort came from finding others who were familiar with what I was going through and did not criticize me. They also reminded me that I was not a victim or personally targeted, because they too were loving parents when life happened and stole their child. I am learning they all go in different directions to ease their pain and find their way. I have also learned I have to find my own way, but without Amy, that seems daunting. Where’s the internal GPS that will help me find myself again or help me to find glimmers of peace and maybe even some happy times.
Awakening Joy! Certainly not impossible to wake it up but I wonder how long it would take to get it to stick around until the reality scares it away. Just thinking outloud.
Always remembering Amy.