Something is over. In the deepest levels of my existence something is finished, done. My life is divided into before and after.
— Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstorff
I am unable to re-read my early postings because it’s too difficult to revisit that raw pain. Yet, I am almost positive at one time I shared my thoughts on how my husband and I mark our time in the world by before Devastation Day and after Devastation Day. That before time will always remain so sacred to us — a time when our own little world was as it should be.
By now, should I be brushing myself off in my dazed and confused state of mind and jump right back onto the merry-go-round of life? Time is marching on without me. I am frozen in a weird and horrible time zone which only other devastated grievers have visited or are existing in now.
As more time goes by, I find it more difficult to fit into the world. Maybe it would be easier if I turned a different color on the outside to match the way I feel on the inside. This would give people the heads up to avoid me (oh right, some already are) or remind them to lower their expectations of me because I am broken. The death of my child has stolen my peace of mind. Amy is not the thief; death is the grim reaper.
Wolterstorff also writes:
I have become an alien in the world, shyly touching it as if it’s not mine. I don’t belong any more. When someone leaves home, home becomes mere house.
If a natural disaster destroys your house, you are forced to rebuild or move to another home. You have no choice but to pick up the pieces. However, as long as your loved ones have all survived, most would still consider themselves blessed. Am I being a martyr because my house is still standing but the head count is coming up minus one which is devastating me?
After 17 months, I realize there is no going back to the days of contentment when my family was complete. Our life was not perfect, but it was perfectly normal. Now existing is difficult. Yes, I have referred to myself as an alien many, many times since devastation day. Mr. Wolterstorff knows my heart.
When I have the courage to venture out and try to engage, I rarely last long before a big slap of reality forces me back to retreat. Conversations are excruciating for me. The fear of where are they going with this? Innocent comments such as, “I can’t believe my son is 30.” Oh how I wish I would be able to say the same thing about my daughter some day as my nieces and nephews and my friends’ kids eventually hit that milestone and become older than my forever 27-year-old angel. It’s unnatural that people born after my daughter will turn 30 but so is losing a child. So the world expects me to just chalk it up as another part of living in my new normal world? Sorry, stupid world, you must have flunked basic arithmetic.
I can pretend but the reality is that I do not fit in anywhere. All conversations and interactions hold the possibility of a trigger to once again remind me that I have lost my status in this world. I am no longer a normal woman, mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
Who am I? I am a woman who has lost a child. That is my identity now. Lost is the word which best describes how I feel as I wander through my days. I openly admit I want what you have. I want to have all of my children in this world with me.
My home has lost its peace and joy and yes, is merely a house now. There is a wreath hanging on my front door but draping the door in black seems more appropriate.
I believe Mr. Wolterstorff has a brilliant way of summing up my life in every quote my husband points out to me. Someone many years ago traveled the path I am on now and validated with words the unnatural horrific tragic devastation of losing a child.
I do not want to carry the traumatic memories of Devastation Day and what it’s like to bury a child. I do not want to visit a grave which belongs to my daughter. So you think you want to judge me for still crying every day as the loss continues to eat away at me? Walk in my shoes, exist in my mind and carry my broken heart before you utter one word of judgment. Then kiss all of your children and thank God or the universe that you can.
My friend told me she wants to read Lament for a Son. That is one of the kindest gestures of sympathy I have ever heard as she continues to read her broken friend’s blog and continues to try to understand her sorrow. Thank you, Marcie.
Always remembering Amy.