It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
Some days are just hard. That's a truth I've come to understand over the past 22 months. In the first year, especially those first eight months, I came to fully expect that every day was hard. As I've written before, those early days went by at almost a surreal pace. Grief was ever present and seemed to hold time at bay. As we approached the first anniversary of Matthew's death last October, things shifted a bit, time picked up and the acute days of grieving became less frequent.
Now I notice that there's no anticipating when grief will sneak up and wash over me like a rogue wave. It just happens. It can be a song, a special place or just a memory that slides into your subconscious and suddenly all you can think about is the tremendous hole that now fills your life.
You see, grief lies just below the surface. Even when I'm laughing or absorbed in a conversation, if you were to scratch me just a little bit, my grief would come bubbling up. I've come to view grief as not the enemy, but rather as an emotion that I now can acknowledge and move into, knowing that eventually she'll go back under and I'll just carry her around with me.
I bring this up because there have been some days in August that have been hard, and I'm not exactly sure why. It could be because the end of summer always makes me a bit melancholy. It could be because two of my friends have the anniversaries of their daughters’ deaths this month and both have written poignantly about where they are at five years and two years later. It could be because that's how it's always going to be.
When I started this blog I wrote about the transformational power of grief, and I believe that more than ever. My grief has changed me in ways that I'm only just beginning to understand. I am more mindful of things, big and small, happy and sad. I just don’t take anything for granted.
I also bring this up to remind people that for those of us who have lost a child, our grief is always there, even if you don’t see it. It doesn't go away, even with the passage of time. It doesn't go away even if we seem "better." And that's okay. The beauty of the human spirit is that we have a remarkable ability to continue on, even in the most adverse of conditions. But bereaved parents will always mourn their child. We don't want them to be forgotten.
Some days are just hard. Some days grief rises up and reminds me that she’s there. She reminds me that mourning Matthew will always be a pivotal part of my life. That’s okay. I also know that I will move through it and feel better soon. I know that life continues on almost with a renewed sense of purpose. And for that I’m grateful.
Thank you for this post, Robin. It is good to be reminded, whether we are bereaved, or a friend of a bereaved person.ReplyDelete
It has been a full month for us. I am glad I'm not alone in seeing the changes grief has made in me; they are profound. Those who love us will love us with those changes. I am so thankful to know you - your way of being in the world is a light for me and many others.
Thank you, Karen, for your comment. You have been a real guiding light for me as I continue on a journey that you are a little bit further along. I so appreciate your friendship. Thank you!Delete
Thank you so much, Robin. I really needed to read this post at this pivotal and extremely hard time in my life. It's hard to mourn losing a child. I know I will feel the grief, in small or large doses, for the rest of my life. Reading your post helps me to remember that I will survive and that life will continue on. And in time, I will feel happiness again. Love, PegReplyDelete
You WILL survive, Peg. Thank you for your kind words. I'm thinking of you...Delete
Thank you for your words. My grief is older - my husband died 14 years ago this month, but grief is still there, it just doesn't show itself as often or in quite the same way. It has shaped who I am now.ReplyDelete
I have not always been good at carrying gratitude as a companion to grief. I like that idea. There is much in our life together and in my life since his death to be thankful for.
Thank you for reading my blog, Sarah. I am sure I have much to learn from you as you are further down the road.Delete
I've shared your post with my family. My beautiful 23 year old son died 14 weeks ago and right now the grief consumes us completely. I hope that someday it will become more manageable and that we'll be able to function better.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment. My heart goes out to you and your family in these early days. Be gentle with yourselves.Delete
Graham's Mom, my heart goes out to you. It will be four years for us on Sunday.Delete
It changes. My experience has been that I am filled with grief always, but these days probably few people know that. (Unless they read my blog, ans then do they ever know!)
Thanks to both of you (and I do read your blog, Robin).Delete
I am a friend of Karen Salsbury. My sister lost her husband year ago and I read your blog to her last night. You have an amazing way with words.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Annie. Please pass on my condolences to your sister.ReplyDelete