This is the very first time I have ever shared my thoughts in a public (sort of public, because well…. the internet) setting, and to be honest it’s a little terrifying! Writing is so personal to me, it’s like purging my soul one teeny tiny word at a time. My therapist even suggested writing and then burning it- which of course sounded FANTASTIC to my slight obsession with fire! Ha! So this is my attempt to share me; please bear with my excessive use of commas and my sometimes very inappropriate humor! :)
My son died last year, he was 6. This defines my life. There is a before the accident me and an after the accident me; and those two me’s are so very different. There’s a lot that comes with losing a child that no one ever thinks about. The heart stopping pain, the sometimes uncontrollable grief, the sinking depression… those are the things that came to mind before. I always thought “Wow, I can’t imagine how hard that must be, I would never survive that!” But the harsh truth, the part that nobody thinks about or acknowledges, is that you do survive. Sure the grief is all consuming for a while, but we just aren’t made to live in that state forever, so eventually you start surviving.
You start going to work, grocery shopping, paying bills, spending time with friends and family and at some point, you do the utterly unthinkable…. you smile. You enjoy a fleeting second of your day! And then you crash. You beat yourself to death with your “How could I be OK without him?” “How could I let myself focus on anything but his absence??” Nobody talks about that part. No one mentions the part where life goes on and the world keeps spinning. No one tells you that the rare moments of pure happiness you will experience are going to be peppered with doubt and guilt and disbelief.
I haven’t grieved traditionally, not even close. And while I was absolutely floored by the outpouring of love and support I received from my small town after my son was gone, I am equally as floored by their judgement. I am absolutely amazed at the sideways glances and the judgment written all over their faces. And more than anything I’m taken aback by the number of people who have so much “helpful” advice! Note to self folks: don’t tell a mother how to grieve. Don’t tell her how you would feel, don’t tell her what you would be doing… because we (I may be using “we” too freely here, but I’m gonna roll with it) don’t give a crap what YOU think. Even if you have suffered a similar loss, it’s not the same. Do yourself and a grieving mother a favor and don’t pretend like you get it; you don’t. You don’t get it.
There are times when I am a perfectly functioning normal human being just going about my day and there are times when just the sight of you and your child may bring me to tears. I may absolutely lose it on you in the middle of the grocery story if I see you mistreating your children. I may sit down next to your little boy with blond hair and boots on and start a conversation about his favorite video game. The fact of the matter is I am just like everyone else. I could react to anything differently at any time…. just like you.
“ I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” (Carl Jung) This quote is life to me! (So much so that I’m getting it in a tattoo!:) ) I am a completely different me than I was a year and a half ago, sometimes I’m happy about that and sometimes not so much; but I am still just a person. I have hurts and tears and happy and laughs, good days and bad days and everything in between, just like everyone else.