How many times have I come face to face with that tombstone yet recently it struck me how Amy was the last to arrive and the first to leave in our family of five. The date on the other side of that hyphen and her lonely name etched on whatever tombstones are made of is my never-ending reality. 26 plus months later, I have no idea how to live without my daughter, Amy. All I know is that I miss her more with each passing day and the invisible wound continues to bleed.
There are days it feels as though I exist inside of the cracks of this world. The limbo is isolating and lonely. Outside of these cracks, the world remains confusing. Many times sitting in a grief arena is the only place I feel understood. Well … sort of, kind of, not always. Time continues to march on without Amy which feels so wrong and I cannot keep in step with those around me.
Grief has its own lens which dims the sunshine and clouds my ability to witness or fully participate in life. There is no excitement which bubbles to the surface as the promise of another day in paradise unfolds regardless if I am on a new or old familiar path. Depending on where you are standing in your life, you will diagnose me as severely depressed or suffering from the ramifications of relentless grief.
While we feel slighted by those who cannot support us or hang on with us, the reality is that it is a natural inclination for others to return to their lives and assume time will work its magic. As they ” check in” periodically, it is impossible for anyone to grasp the full magnitude of what has happened to your family. In my experience, the fact that we have so much trouble finding the pieces of our shattered life will most often be misconstrued. While we let go of those who cannot stay, it becomes more important than ever that we use any limited energy we possess to look for our own oxygen mask and then assist where we are able.
Prolonged heavy grieving will never be attractive or popular. We will offend and be offended; that is inevitable. Our inability to easily put our lives back together after a certain period of time will always be perceived as willful intention among those who do not carry our pain. They just don’t know and in all fairness, how could they? Out of order death changes families and no one can speak on this subject unless their life has been derailed in the same manner. That is a simple fact and save your breath and energy if you are planning on convincing anyone unfamiliar with this devastation.
Many of my coping tools are broken and I admit I am so exhausted from living this life that I am unable to shove myself along the way I did before time took its toll on my mind, body and spirit. So yes, I am retreating more and more into my unflattering victim role when there is no energy left inside of me.
As I do my own self evaluation of where I am now, I realize that I have only taken a few forward baby steps and have fallen so many times that I find myself resorting to crawling again.
My grief is not some peaceful cocoon where you do your time and then evolve into a graceful butterfly. It’s the bad guy lurking in the shadows just waiting to mug you and then gives you another kick in the stomach before it leaves you helpless on the ground. Photos of Amy make me cry harder now. Recently, I dumped a drawer into a box with my eyes closed because I just wasn’t up to the grief ambush. Horrible terrifying nightmares (PTSD) returned in August and just in the past week are not haunting me. A simple trip to a grocery store, a background song, the scent of designer perfume, a glimpse of the back of a young woman with perfect posture wearing a baseball hat with a ponytail swinging in the breeze can send me running for a place to crumble.
Did everyone name their child Amy?
Moments of grace are fleeting yet do exist but not frequently enough to keep me balanced. Is this as good as it gets?
Will I ever be able to pray again without keeping one eye open? Faith? I recently confessed to a friend that my faith has misled me in many ways yet I find myself searching for it again. Counting my blessings still doesn’t help to ease my pain or magically reset me. The universe misled me with that notion too.
My daughter’s presence in my life is vital to my peace, faith and personal well-being. To go off on some quest for happiness without her is not possible for me. The days between then and now have not empowered me or offered healing. Each new layer of grief presents its own unique challenges. As more time goes by, I know this is a done deal and that produces fresh tears. The regrets and secondary losses continue. My own inability to look beyond my pain has been the culprit in some instances yet I cannot shed the victim role after out-of-order death stole my child away from me and in many ways totally blew my life to smithereens.
I will never ever try to convince anyone that this loss has molded me into a better person because it has not. The only shift I have noticed is that I am less bitter and angry. Maybe because those emotions require energy. It has become more important to me now that you believe me when I say I am struggling to survive than do anything to fix me. Instead of searching for words of comfort, just believe me and trust me that Amy’s absence has changed every thing.
26 plus months later … have I written all of this before? Who cares. It’s where I am now and yes, I am still mourning my daughter, Amy.
Always remembering Amy.