And I won’t be the last, yet why does it feel as though I am the only one? How many bereaved parents have I met since Devastation Day? Each reminding me that I am not alone and my family is not the only family who lives without someone whose presence was so significant in the completion of a family. Someone who cannot be replaced. Grief is so lonely.
There is a large toll bridge which I travel over frequently. This bridge logistically connects me to my children and my home. There is something about that bridge with its beautiful view of the city’s skyline that offers glimmers of peace. Even on my worst days, I never fail to notice the most stunning views of sunsets, which now remind me of Amy, through my tears. Rarely do I cross that bridge without crying since my world as I knew it came to a screeching halt.
For almost 16 years, I was unable to drive across bridges. This phobia started in the August before Amy’s first birthday as I was traveling to Maryland and experienced my first frightening panic attack while driving. Now my adrenaline rushes as I cross that bridge for a totally different reason. For some reason that bridge screams my overwhelming loss. It’s as though I am sucker punched each time I drive over the bridge which knows my life. Many times since August 4, 2013, I have wondered whether my soul knew what was coming when I was ambushed with that first panic attack so many years ago. Could that have been the day it was decided it was a done deal that my youngest child was going to tragically die? It was August. August just rips my heart out now.
Yesterday before I headed over the bridge, I was driving home from my grief counseling appointment as that now familiar pain of loss hit for the umpteenth time that day. The pain starts with a thought, followed by a crushing physical pain felt mostly in my stomach similar to an internal screaming sense of dread, followed by intense sadness which ultimately results in tears. I experience this sensation numerous times a day. Anything at all can trigger it. Yes, you can cry every day for 20 months. I started thinking about the pain I now exist in. An emotional pain of the most intense sadness that is beyond anyone’s comprehension unless you have tragically experienced its relentless wrath. It boggles my mind that anyone would judge a person for the way they handle the magnitude of grief pain which is unique to when the natural order does not prevail. A unique pain that runs so deeply which most people fortunately will never experience in their lifetime. Yes, no one who loves is spared from grief, but trust me when I say not all grief is the same. If our eyes are a window to our soul, take a look for yourself.
Believe me, I do realize that I am not the first person to experience and now love and live with this debilitating pain. My compassion is endless for every mother, father, sister, brother and child who knows exactly what I am talking about.
Finally, as a PS to my recent blog about new normal. It is my opinion that the pressure to find my new normal pulls me away from a time when my daughter was here. I am not some young spring chicken who wants to quickly scurry away from that time in my life when Amy was here on an eager quest to design a new and exciting life for myself. That ship has sailed. A quest for peace and the ability to be present in a meaningful way for my husband and kids is all I am capable of now. Time will march on without my daughter and each day I get out of bed creates its own memory, good or bad. I want to savor the time my daughter was here. I will find my way … The love I feel for Amy continues along with the heavy heart of grief which resulted when she left my life on that beautiful summer day. Maybe that’s why sunshine sometimes makes me cry. The world turns and the sun shines … It still makes no sense.
I love you, Amy. We miss you and will always remember you.