After one year of heavy grieving, some may say it’s a choice of whether I find happiness again, but I assure you no one would ever choose to be this sad and unhappy. Losing a child changes EVERYTHING! I keep hoping that if I continue to push myself to be engaged with life that an auto pilot switch will begin working again and the deep pain and sadness will quiet down and allow me to rest my broken heart and weary mind.
On some level, I was operating under the assumption that after I got through Devastation Day and Amy’s birthday that there would be some relief. Let me clarify that no one mislead me into that false hope nor did I read that I would be “all better” after passing the one year mark; I just assumed it would be easier. I will admit there was a slight shift which offered a bit of relief for a few days after Amy’s birthday, but it just didn’t last.
I want to move — not to another house in this town, but somewhere that is completely unfamiliar. Yet I can’t move too far from the cemetery or more importantly, away from my kids. If only there was a compromise which would ease the pain. I loved my home up until Devastation Day; it’s still a nice place, but … Suffice to say I understand why many parents choose to move after the loss of their child.
Last week was the absolute pits. Other than the surprise email from the kind fellow in The Bahamas who found our message in a bottle, no encounters with any person, place or thing helped. It was as if all of my filters disappeared and I was back to square one. Words cut through me like a knife; even words which were not directed to me had me running for a safe place to release the tears. It’s as if I have stumbled across the final chapter of this so called nightmare of a “journey.” THE TRUTH. A truth which is final and no prayers will change. A truth that shatters all hopes for the future. A truth that leaves me wondering how I will ever feel okay again.
Last year, every evening I had a meltdown as soon as the sun set. I read somewhere sunset is indeed difficult for grievers and people suffering from depression. Grief depression is so complicated because there are so many unpredictable ups and downs. Years ago, I suffered from hormonal depression which sucked me under for a few days and then magically lifted. Grief is relentless and has so many highs and lows and unexpected ambushes.
One night last week when I was having trouble sleeping, I stumbled across a book entitled Comfort: a Journey Through Grief written by Ann Hood which I had downloaded onto my kindle in the early weeks. The prologue could have been written for me as I heard all of this recycling in my head .. still do. Ms. Hood writes:
She is in a better place.
She is still with you.
You should walk every day; you should write this down; you should go to church; to therapy; to the cemetery; these things will help you.
There is a Heaven and you will see her again there.
You are not dreaming about her because you are closed to the possibility.”
All just words. Nothing comforted me in the beginning. I was in a coma. Nothing sunk in through the intense shock and pain. All I knew for sure is that I wanted someone to call me and tell me it was all a big mistake.
Here is another quote from Ms. Hood’s book which rings so true:
“Grief is not linear. People kept telling me that once this happened or that passed, everything would be better. Some people gave me one year to grieve. They saw grief as a straight line, with a beginning, middle, and end. But it is not linear. It is disjointed. One day you are acting almost like a normal person. You maybe even manage to take a shower. Your clothes match. You think the autumn leaves look pretty, or enjoy the sound of snow crunching under your feet. Then a song, a glimpse of something, or maybe even nothing sends you back into the hole of grief. It is not one step forward, two steps back. It is a jumble. It is hours that are all right, and weeks that aren’t. Or it is good days and bad days. Or it is the weight of sadness making you look different to others and nothing helps.”
“Time doesn’t heal, I had learned, it just keeps moving. And it takes us with it.”
― Ann Hood, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief
The author then proceeds to discuss how she learned to knit as a way of coping with her grief. Ironically, I picked up my crochet hook a few months ago which I referred to as my Cry and Crochet project, crocheting comfort shawls for other grieving mothers as well as others whom I thought might be comforted by receiving a shawl.
I admit I didn’t finish reading the book because I still have trouble reading. However, based on what I did read it just confirms my personal theory that it’s as if we cross into a new dimension the minute our child leaves this world and suddenly there is a special language only other grieving parents are able to comprehend. That is not a slight to anyone who continues to help me, because I say time and time again how much I appreciate those friends who have been there to support my family and I during this effing nightmare. It’s just that regardless of how long you have known another grieving parent, there is this deep seeded compassion and understanding which is impossible to get anywhere else.
Yesterday I made a decision to find a grief counselor to help me through this second year without Amy. When I called Carebridge, I was brutally honest and asked if they could find me a grief counselor who had lost a child… The kind man who was trying to help me and was sympathetic to my loss responded with a … now Dee, that is a tall order and we have no way of knowing details about these provider’s personal lives. So he sent me a list of four grief counselors in my area and I started doing a little research. The task was making me crazy when I decided to just asked Amy to help me to pick one. (As a sidebar, I rarely ask Amy for anything as my hope for my daughter is that her energy is not dealing with my grief; I do not buy into the theory that my grief is holding her back in any way). By the end of the day, I just felt a gentle nudge to reach out to one person in particular who emailed me back immediately asking that I call her. All I said in my email is that I had lost my 27 year old daughter and need grief counseling.
Today, we spoke briefly to set up an appointment. Before we hung up, she admitted that she contacted me so quickly because she had lost an adult child too. Of course it goes without saying that I was so sorry to hear about her loss but a bit hopeful that she may be able to help me because we speak the same language. And the thought occurred to me that maybe I can help her too. Oh, Amy …
Actually, there are a lot of things I wish for … mostly that my daughter was still here living her life with me. I also wish I was lying in bed winding down by reading a good book instead of crying and writing on this blog in an effort to release more of this debilitating pain.
I stopped wishing on a star on August 4, 2013.
Always remembering Amy…