Much to the dismay of many who have offered their own interpretation of what my life lessons should be after losing Amy, I have personally learned a few grief life lessons of my own since Devastation Day. These are most of the same lessons I have been ranting about for the past 20 months. Sort of a synopsis of what continues to resonate even now and maybe in some way an early beginning to wrapping up my frequent postings as I plan to do at the end of August.
Lesson #1 — Time heals all wounds. Wrong. Check your calendar or your crystal ball as I am not healed so please stop trying to rush me as I mourn my child. Grief is another chapter in a love story between a broken mother and her beloved child. The universe is not large enough to close this wound. Over time I believe it’s possible to learn to love and live around the crater in your heart, but I am not convinced that complete happiness is ever possible again for me. Yes, one person is that important in my world.
Lesson #2 — Everything happens for a reason. Bite your tongue before you throw this one at me now as there is no peace in this theory. Natural order did not prevail here and please stop throwing platitudes at me. It is beyond your wildest imagination what certain losses do to an individual.
Lesson #3 — God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. He does and He did. Nothing ever prepared me to live in a world without my child. Not even God. Yet I do not believe that I can do this alone and I remain open to finding an umbrella in the universe which speaks to my broken heart. However, I will have to find my own way when I am personally ready. Throwing scripture at me does not always serve as a compass for me. It sometimes blocks my path and causes confusion. I have earned the right to be disenchanted in blind faith. The God I trusted before Devastation Day would not judge me in my broken state, so neither should you.
Lesson #4 — You find out who your friends are! Well, whoever came up with this line is certainly correct. I have learned so much about what those around me are made of that I prefer ignorance to this clarity. There are never any guarantees who will be willing to stick by you when the going gets tough. Over time, you learn that their choice has nothing at all to do with your loss, but more to do with who they are. They will have to find their own moral compass to determine whether their actions honor themselves well and reflect who they are in this world.
As a community, we are failing miserably to support one another. I admit I have been consumed and hurt by the inability of some of my family and friends to remain present. PLEASE DONT JUST TOSS YOUR CHARITY BONES AT ME AROUND THE WORLD’S DESIGNATED HOLIDAYS TO CHECK ME OFF UNDER YOUR PERSONAL GOOD DEED LIST. I have my own two significant days which have become more important to me. One day which I treasure and is filled with lovely memories and one day which can have me on my knees sobbing from the deepest part of my soul.
Lesson #5 — Happiness is a choice. Seriously, oh wise one! No one, and I mean no one, would ever, ever choose to feel this way. Yes, one person can hold the missing puzzle piece to total happiness in someone’s life. Of course, we do each have a responsibility to do what we can to keep ourselves functioning and remain open to glimmers of joy, but go away with the clueless idea that I made a willful choice to feel this way.
Lesson #6 — What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stole that one from my girls’ favorite, Kelly Clarkson. This may be true. But I would prefer weakness to gaining strength under these cruel circumstances.
Lesson #7 — Stop reminding me to count my blessings and assume I have not already done so. They (my fractured children) are the only reason I am able to get up each day. My husband has been my lifeline. I always notice my loved ones and it is insulting for anyone to insinuate otherwise. However, I do not assume or put the burden on them that their presence is enough to cover the absence of Amy. Each child holds a special place in our hearts and has their own special key.
Lesson #8 – Comfort and support come from the most unexpected places. It has been a surprise who has stepped up and a disappointment that there were those who could not. I could write a book about those who have compounded this unimaginable pain as I have addressed above in Lesson #4, but as I evolve from my grief fog, I realize they are not worthy of my energy. Grieving their absence in my life has taken enough out of me that it’s time to lick my wounds and move on into another arena where I feel accepted and not rejected. This was a difficult lesson to learn. Time to be grateful to those who have willingly supported my family and I when the worst possible thing that could happen , happened.
Lesson #9 – People and experts will try to explain the unexplainable. It can’t be done. In the early days and months, everyone seems to knows the way. Neatly stuffing my grief into outdated stages which in my dazed and confused state I misinterpreted as the laws of mourning my child. Unless you personally have experienced an unnatural devastating loss and experienced this unimaginable loneliness and pain, it’s beyond my comprehension how anyone can offer me healing guidance using the 5 stages of grief. However, compassion is always welcome.
Lesson #10 – Amy would not want you to feel this way! Well, let me tell you I want to be on that party line if you have connected to my daughter and have first hand knowledge of how she wants me to feel now. I knew Amy. Amy would understand my suffering. And shame on you if you ever insinuate that my grief is holding Amy back from where she exists now.
Lesson #11 — You cannot evaluate where I am on my grief “journey” during a meal or a visit with me and then have the audacity to send your report to others. You have no idea of the challenges life holds as I exist among you. As time goes by, trust me when I say I could win an academy award for some of my performances in a world which is now so foreign to me.
Lesson #12 – Pay it forward. I would swear on a stack of bibles that I never, ever knew a pain such as this pain existed in the world. Yes, I cannot stop saying the word pain because that is a key component of my identity now. There are no words which can adequately describe this relentless pain. Carrying this pain has opened my heart to those whom I meet along the way who also live with this unimaginable pain. I do whatever my energy provides to show other grievers I understand. As grievers who “know” please remember any small compassionate deed goes a long way. Don’t just seek compassion, be a compassionate friend.
Always, always remembering Amy.