Before Devastation Day, I never gave the word grief much thought. Yes, I have mourned other loved ones but the physical and emotional ambush that descended upon my mind, body and soul when my Amy passed away has been unlike anything I have ever experienced in my entire life. It is frustrating that anyone could possibly assume that any part of my reaction to Amy’s sudden passing has been orchestrated by my own intentional free will.
Words hold the ability to send me to a place of deep despair. Words like children, family, daughter (even though I still have a beautiful daughter here). Phrases like — how are you, how many kids do you have, have a good weekend — all serve as a cruel reminder of how much my life has changed and whom I have lost.
Grieving is excruciating, foggy, unpredictable, heart wrenching, painful, frightening, relentless, lonely, debilitating, infuriating, raw, irrational … all-consuming. Existing in this “beautiful” world becomes a chore, an effort, and remains difficult because my youngest child died.
Grieving is hard work. It’s not a death sentence, it’s a life sentence, where you spend many years doing hard time. There is no time off for good behavior. There is no time off at all and the pressure leading up to holidays and dealing with certain dates on the calendar are excruciating as the world continues to turn without Amy.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I am reminded to count my blessings, despite the reality that one of my most precious blessings is not here to count. So, the world’s response to that is to count your other blessings. Oh you silly world, it’s just not that easy to do, but I assure you I do try.
My family had many holiday traditions which are too painful to continue. So the world says, go create your new normal, but I say, you stupid world, if only I could wave my magic wand over the holidays and repair the damage of Devastation Day.
Even families which are built on the strongest foundation crumble when one of their strongest support beams disappear. So, the world insinuates we are strong enough to just close the ranks and continue on. Not so simple, clueless world. We are each grieving our own unique relationship with Amy and we are helpless to fix one another or become what Amy was for each of us individually.
There is still so much confusion as we frequently gather as a family in a continued state of shock. Each of us secretly wishing we were once again blessed to be a complete family of 5. The world is not our friend as the freaking family holidays keep coming around to remind us that our once upon a time family no longer exists. Our familiar warm well-worn cozy family blanket is now itchy and feels odd. Yet, we remain a family in the midst of our despair because we love each other.
So the big beautiful know-it-all world says live your life because life is short. Screw you know-it-all not so wise world. If only all of the words on the other side of Devastation Day were helpful.
Return to work, keep busy, count your blessings, create your new normal, happiness is a choice, everything happens for a reason, she is in a better place, you still have your health …
Stop talking beautiful world because we no longer speak the same language and you are not helping me. I promise to look up from my life to count my blessings but you may have to wait until January 2.
Excuse me, but I am still mourning my youngest child and always remembering Amy and when it was indeed a much more beautiful place for me and my family.