Earlier this week, I was almost struck by a tractor-trailer truck driven by a man who had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel. His carelessness infuriated me and I found myself chasing him while honking my horn and giving him a one finger wave. Despite using that wave frequently while driving, I am not someone who chases after anyone in a rage.
When it occurred to me how angry I was that he could have killed me and compounded my family’s already broken hearts, I had a little epiphany. The next morning as I was walking around my yard with my dog, I had a flashback to Devastation Day when I was in that same yard when my world as I knew it came to a screeching halt. Again, I was reminded how my thoughts about that sleepy driver incident have changed.
It will always amaze me when someone asks me how I am as if they are patiently waiting for my answer to change. IT TAKES MORE THAN 16 MONTHS TO PROCESS THE LOSS OF A CHILD. Should I get my first tattoo and have it painfully etched across my forehead or down my arm? Will it fit on my middle finger? Sorry, but it’s so frustrating and I am so exhausted.
In the early months, as I have written before, I REFUSED to say I was fine and dishonor Amy’s value in my life or lie to make them feel better because I was as far away from okay as you can get. Okay wasn’t even on my radar. Now I can say okay as an automatic response because it’s just easier. But I admit, there are days when depending upon whose asking, I am honest.
When I read about grieving or articles written by smart, yet clueless, authorities, it continues to boggle my mind that a parent’s heart would ever intentionally choose to tuck their child away and move forward. Just throw your favorite photo of your child at their forever age in a frame and stick it up on a shelf, light a candle and go forth and live your life… If anyone agrees, please don’t comment as I am not up to defending my right to mourn my child, my way, today. It’s been a rough week.
Time and time again, a spokesman for those who have hurt me remind me to ask myself how I would react to another’s loss of their child. Not difficult for me to do because I lost my youngest brother seven years ago and I remember feeling helpless to ease my mother’s pain. However, I have no serious regrets about the way I chose to support my Mom. True, I did not know the depth of her pain, but I do remember worrying how she would survive. I admit that I remember watching and waiting for her to get better, and it did seem like it was taking forever. Now I remind myself that grief has no timetable and love has no ending. Forever may just be the time it takes to heal. Sad, but true.
After sixteen months, I still want to sprint from arenas that hold unrealistic expectations of me. My goal is to embrace my daughter’s energy and carry her love with me the rest of my life until we meet again. It’s my life and I’ll do what I want or so the song goes. I realize I am on the cusp of making some major decisions in my life. All the grief books encouraged me to wait one year so I hope with their permission I can now proceed. Yes, the ramification of having my mind blown and my heart shattered has indeed totally changed me, so I understand the advice to proceed with caution.
As I have maintained from Day One, to insinuate that my youngest child’s death served as a sacrificial lamb to save me or make me a better person makes me want to vomit. What an egotistical concept that I cannot comprehend. My husband and I have always rejected that theory which was presented to us in the early months. To quote my husband, “you do not need to lose a child to become a better person. The option is always available to you.” We also reject the theory that anyone was put in our life because Amy was going to die at age 27. Unless you were going to save her, and that didn’t happen, or are magically pulling us through the saddest chapter of our life, which is impossible …
Yet, I can sometimes allow my mind to wander to flirting with the idea of the predetermined day, etc. … and the possibility remains that this was between God and Amy and I was just caught in the crossfire .. The God whom I have trusted and loved would be taking wonderful care of my youngest child … I NEED to believe Amy is happier now under God’s loving special umbrella than I can ever imagine. Amy’s eternal life in the better place just HAS to be the trade-off for my family’s pain.
That being said, please let me be clear, this blog was created as a dumping ground for my thoughts and experiences and a place where I mourn Amy and in no way intended to ask anyone to embrace my thoughts. These thoughts belong to me and are a by-product of who I am, what my daughter meant to me and where I am in the grieving process and life. We all travel our own journeys. (oh how I still resent that stupid word “journey” which is now part of my limited vocabulary as words do not come easily to me.)
Losing a child has felt like I have been stripped down to my raw core. Trust is broken. Language is foreign. The world is unrecognizable. Pain is unimaginable and relentless. Some friends become strangers; strangers become instant friends. You wake up and go to sleep with the same debilitating thought — a thought that is unnatural and can’t possibly be true. My child has died. 16 months later and I am still trying to digest that unfathomable truth.
This blog is where I mourn my precious child. I remain forever grateful to all of the friends whom I have made along the way who encourage me to keep writing and releasing my thoughts when I want to just throw away my stylus and close down this freaking blog loaded with so much pain, anger, confusion and sorrow.
Recently, I have been focusing more on the confusion as it seems my mind is trying to reconnect some of its fried wires which disconnected on Devastation Day and the trauma that followed. All sorts of memories are filtering through. Memories which seem so insignificant yet in hindsight hold a different view. Grief really does fry a brain. Those are not just words used for effect. It fries comprehension, replays devastating scenes, and creates its own slide show of your child which never ever stops playing. Now the slide show is slowing down and these other memories keep surfacing.
No one needs to understand me or even agree with one word I write today or any other day. I am feeling particularly disconnected at the moment. Blame it on losing Amy compounded by the most wonderful time of the year.
Today I am grateful for pizelle cookies … Today I am reminded I have an understanding friend when there are times it seems no one truly understands the significance of losing a child. Maybe they just don’t want to go there.
I would be remiss if I didn’t focus on those who willingly jump into the valley of grief with me, i.e., my compassionate friend who I met for lunch on Wednesday or the friend who I lunched with yesterday. Or the friend who is moving to California and whom has willingly listened without ever feeling the need to change the subject. I will miss our tearful lunches where we shared our hearts, but am so happy for you as you start this new exciting chapter in your life.
There are times I feel so fractured and misunderstood where I cannot even put words together to form a complete thought. It makes me pause and wonder if there is any value in anything I say or do. This was indeed a very rough week and I so needed that pizelle and my time with my girls who are always remembering Amy in their own special ways.
Remembering Amy and a friend in Tennessee along with her brilliant child.