Recently, I have heard from a few newly bereaved families who unbeknownst to me have been reading my blog. I am a worrier and I worry my raw words could be discouraging.
I feel a responsibility to say that I am just an ordinary woman who misses her daughter and uses this blog as a way to release my frustration with things people say and the grief process which I detest … I have no counseling or writing experience and I definitely do not know the way to proceed on the other side of Devastation Day. I can’t even figure out how I set this blog up and have no idea how to modify it. However what I do know is what it’s like to live without my child and my heart breaks for anyone who has been thrown against their will into this dark tunnel of despair.
Quite honestly, I remember very well the excruciating pain of year one with all of its painful firsts. I am not referring to just the holidays but the change of season, the first frost, the first time we ordered a table for 4 instead of 5. Little firsts which no one realize could possibly be so excruciating unless you have experienced the loss of a child. And the pressure leading up to holidays and significant dates is relentless.
Also, I remember where I was last year at this time and I honestly do not have the courage to re-read my early posts. Nothing in my life prepared me for Devastation Day. The pain is unimaginable. It still is, but it shifts. I am still obsessed with the loss of my youngest child but if at any time my honesty is too depressing, please stop reading.
I have met parents who are farther along who reassure me that over time the two ton elephant sitting on my chest loses weight. I am not there yet but I remember reading books written by parents who lost a child which scared the living daylights out of me. I would never ever want to do that to anyone else so please stop reading if anything I say gives you no hope because I am
new to this horrible journey too and still struggling myself. I am so very, very sorry for your loss and that you find yourself searching for comfort on the Internet. I found myself doing the same thing when no one seemed to understand and my iPad became my best connection to other grieving parents.
No one can fix us, although many will try, but the support of others has been vital to my survival. I attend Compassionate Friends meetings and see a grief counselor once a week. My connection to the wonderful grieving parents I have met has offered me the understanding I need as I exist in a world which no longer makes sense to me.
That being said, here is where I am 15 months later. Still doing the grief cha-cha because there is no manual on how to survive the loss of a child.
— I still cry every day, numerous times some days.
— I want to cry out from the most tender part of my heart because there is a hyphen on a tombstone that has a date on both sides of it which is associated to my youngest child. Yes after 15 months I “know”, yet there are still days I just cannot process this information with the tragic ending.
— I am still not able to sleep at night
— To this day I loath pity and the sad puppy dog eyes which look at my loss as their thank you God victory. Again I write what I should keep tucked away in a vault because I should not be admitting some of my thoughts out loud. Maybe I should apologize for what I am about to write, but on second thought …
I have had interactions with a few people who I truly do believe have that smug look of I am blessed and you are not. Absolutely not intentional, but regardless, message received. In the very first week of Devastation Day, a woman mentioned to me that she felt guilty at the end of the day because she could count all of her blessings and I could not. Well, that confession just infuriated me. Of course, many would say that I am overreacting to that comment in my broken, I am not as blessed state of mind, but I assure you I continue to feel blessed, just not as blessed as I once upon a time was blessed.
— Most people in my life are innately good. Losing a child shows the depth or lack thereof of people in your life.
— As more time goes by, Amy’s death evolves into just another sad story which happened to someone they know. Seems they assume by now I am all better and should be much farther along. Do I need to wear a tattoo on my forehead which reads I am not over my daughter, you fool!
— I will always be surprised how there are those among us who must believe that our children are so insignificant in our life. Otherwise, how else would they be surprised that I am still grieving so hard. Idiots.
— I have not changed my mind that people own their words. I realize it’s hard to know what to say but at least think before spouting off. In my opinion, from where I stand now, the traditional grief sayings do not offer healing. Maybe this is my pre-devastation day ego talking, but I know I would have never spoken some of the hurtful and insensitive words which have been said to me.
I am always surprised how many expect me to just forgive, forgive, forgive while they continue on their ignorant path. Yes, we do teach people how to treat us and there is nothing wrong with telling someone when their words are not helping you. Or when someone really crosses a line, to ask them to step back because regardless of the intention of their words, they hurt just the same.
— 15 months later and my thoughts still take me in so many different directions but every thought leads back to the saddest truth. My sweet, sweet Amy died. How could this be possible?
— 15 months later and I miss Amy more with each passing minute.
— I always said daily prayers and never lost sight of how blessed I am. Now when people insinuate that I need to count my blessings in an effort to heal, I am offended because grieving Amy while counting my blessings are two separate verbs. One is not contingent upon the other.
As a grief-stricken person looks up from time to time, I assure you they see their loved ones and feel the compassion that comes from the kindest people in the world who come out to support them. However, give me the time I need to assimilate the loss because I am dizzy from living 15 months without Amy. My body, mind and spirit are exhausted from living in your world.
Oh yeah, I know, I know … some are anxious to get me on the road to my new normal so I can start my new journey. I think that would be fine if I was planning our retirement and moving South or buying a houseboat and preparing for all of the challenges that living on a body of water may cause, but how in the hell to do you merrily skip on a journey that no one wants to be on. How do you just accept the new journey without your child? What is the address for my new normal journey anyway?
— I have not lost sight of the fact that many people face horrible challenges in life. Even on my foggiest days, I know I am not the only person in the universe suffering. Yet, again, I admit that some days it feels that way. That is probably part of my new not so perfect normal way of thinking.
Is it reasonable to expect that others realize the depth of what the world is asking me to do? I suppose that is impossible unless you have walked in my shoes.
Is it reasonable that I expect others to respect my loss? My answer would be absolutely. I am unable to grieve any faster than I already am yet I am the first to admit that I am in no hurry to “get over” my daughter. Does that mean I am stuck? Oh go away with that “stuck” word and take it out of your grieving assessment of me! I am earnestly searching for a way to keep Amy’s spirit and energy alive and your deadlines just annoy me. Surely, after 15 months, some may have different expectations of me yet I have regained a bit of my strength which now makes it easy to tell you to stop talking.
Yes, I want what everyone wants. To live my life with all of my kids. And yep I get it that my path is certainly different from those around me.
After 15 months, time has not healed me, but I do have moments where I am a bit sturdier. The grief ambushes continue but I am better able 7 out of 10 times to reset myself by asking Amy to fill me with some of her peace. Because after 15 months, I continue to feel my daughter’s love as I continue to love her. There is a peace in the gift of eternal love which no words can describe and no death can steal. Forever in my heart, my sweet daughter.
I will never ever understand why it turned out this way and why my family had to have this devastating chapter in our family history. However, 15 months later, all of my kicking and screaming will not change the events of Devastation Day.
15 months later, I am still mourning, loving and remembering Amy…