Home from a week existing close to the ocean. As my friend commented when she and her husband visited us, the ocean is healing. Yet I reminded her that the same ocean has the power to destroy and cause devastation day in more ways than one. However, the peace prevails over any threat as you watch the waves roll in and out with the tide on a beautiful sunny day. I am not a sunbather so I place my chair as close to the water’s edge as possible to stay cool; 5 perfect beach days with lots of time to reflect as I stared at the amazing ocean.
Going to a different beach town this year was a good plan. Same ocean, similar beach, unfamiliar territory. No memories with Amy on that beach or in that town. None of her favs, yet the grief ambushes were relentless and it’s easy to find numerous similarities even in foreign territory. I am beginning to accept the tears as a permanent part of my life on the other side of devastation day as they flowed frequently as I remembered more times than I can count why I was running away from home in August.
We only ventured onto the boardwalk for a short time, but it was long enough to almost knock me out as so many past memories of happier times with my three children kept bubbling to the surface. WTF happened to my life? I miss my girl so much!
On our way home, we stopped to see my oldest daughter. She showed us a letter she had received from her thoughtful neighbor who remembered how difficult August is for us because she also lost a son who was born and died in August. Her son was 26 years young at the time he passed away. I was going to mail her a comfort shawl but when my husband discovered that her son’s birthday was today, he insisted we deliver the shawl last night instead of waiting to mail it next week. Luckily, I had one in the car which someone had just delivered to me. Visiting with this lovely couple gave me hope that some day I will find peace again. She lovingly and proudly showed me the photo of her son while her eyes welled up with tears…even 25 years later. It was a pleasure to learn more about her oldest child. She reminded me that my grief is very fresh and that others may try to rush me, but based on her experience, it takes years… and even after that, you never heal completely from the loss, but joy and peace will return — just not with the same gusto.
This morning I was reflecting on how everything has changed. Maybe when you are broken to your core, you have to find a new way to live. It makes perfect sense why I have difficulty connecting with others the way I did before Amy died. After all, they are not on the same wave length as I am because for now, their world has not been shattered. Not to disrespect any of their losses because I have seen them suffer, but this losing a kid thing is in a class all of it’s own. When I shared this with my husband, he said having to rebuild your life reminded him of the movie Regarding Henry (1991). Actually this was one of my favorite movies when we were able to go to the movies. Henry Turner, played by Harrison Ford, is a despicable and ruthless trial lawyer whose life is turned upside down when he is shot in the head during a robbery. He survives the injury with significant brain damage and must re-learn how to speak, walk, and function normally. Similar to a parent coming out from the shock after losing a child and trying to jump back on the merry-go-round of life.
In some ways, I feel as though we have been left behind. Many parents ahead of me warned that others will tire of our grief and check out. The old Dee would be fearful of the isolation but there is no way I could be any lonelier than I am now, living in a world without Amy. Most parents do not expect anyone to understand what it feels like to be us. I recently read “grief is a vicious, demanding, necessary process.” We don’t expect advice or anyone to make it better. Just remaining present and saying our child’s name helps. No worries it will make us cry as we cry every day anyway.
I received this card which said it all (of course, sent by another grieving Mom):
Nature goes on,
Continuing it’s cycle,
Even while grieving hearts,
That time is standing still.
Thank you to those who reached out to comfort us on Devastation Day by remembering us, but more importantly remembering Amy.
Thanks for sending us so many feathers, Amy, and for sending the angel to comfort your brother on Monday when we couldn’t be with him.
Feathers, Amy, Feathers!