“This is the cost of sharing your life with someone worth missing”

The other day, I spent the day in a familiar place with a friend, a place that holds so many beautiful, but now painful memories. Odd how something that was a place of immense joy for me, could now haunt my soul. It was very difficult for me to venture back and truth be told, i nearly did not go. Because I knew of the immense fear that my nemesis my anxiety, would work hard at sabotaging my day.

I did go and am glad, even though several times I had to fight back the notion to want to leave. I did my best to instead, try to embrace the beauty that still existed here. I focused only on the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, and to try to be in just that moment, even when i felt consumed by pain and grief.  I laughed and i enjoyed myself, but the day also had tears and sorrow. A constant reminder that my life will always hurt and feel as if i am but a fraction the person i once was. I am constantly struggling, so very hard to hold on to what of me is left.

While up in Morgan and my old stomping grounds, I ran into someone who knew the old me, someone who knew Morgan. For anyone living in the fog of grief, you know you have perpetual mush brain, you tend to block out a lot or  forget people, or events, because it is easier than the pain. I knew i recognized this person but yet could not place why? She embraced me with a warm smile and a hug, to which I reciprocated both actions. It came back to me who she was and as I smiled and made small talk.  I was told how much better I am doing, and how i am moving on, because my smile was back……..UGH!!!!  And out of nowhere, I felt as if I had been swallowed up by a heavy haze and could  feel the rush of overwhelming anxiety starting.

She did nothing wrong, and was sincere, but yet my mind, heart, and soul immediately was thrown in to a state of fight or flight. You see, when you are lost in a constant expedition to find some happiness, monsters accompany that journey… For within that momentary jubilance, you always know that lurking  and waiting for the opportunity to steal your thunder is your grief  and it will do everything it can to overshadow it with guilt and anguish. You fight it and pray and long to hold on to that  brief feeling of normal, you ache for it to  last, but it never does.

Grief is evil, it takes everything you once knew and takes control of your mind set like a narcissistic person. It makes you second guess every action, and critiques your movements like it owns you, and for the most part it does……I guess where i am going with this is, yes I smiled that day, I laughed, i enjoyed my self, at the end of the day i was glad i went. With that said, i also cried, and felt pain and had to fight all day to stay above the grief and it is exhausting to the point of wanting to sleep the entire next day….. Grief does not end, i am not better just because i can smile. But I am oh so thankfully to have some of those few moments that are exultant… Please understand we bereaved parents have to fight with every ounce of our being, every moment of everyday to find something to smile about and to do so without guilt and pain. What comes easy for most is the battle of a life time for us, this is the price one pays to have loved someone who is worth missing and for that gift, i will humbly pay the price.  

John Pavlovitz, summed up very well for me when the day i will finally stop grieving will be.

The Day I’ll Finally Stop Grieving

tears

“How long has it been? When is he going to get over that grief and move on already?”

I get it.

I know you might be thinking that about me or about someone else these days.

I know you may look at someone you know in mourning and wonder when they’ll snap out of it.

I understand because I use to think that way too.

Okay, maybe at the time I was self-aware enough or guilty enough not to think it quite that explicitly, even in my own head. It might have come in the form of a growing impatience toward someone in mourning or a gradual dismissing of their sadness over time or maybe in my intentionally avoiding them as the days passed. It was subtle to be sure, but I can distinctly remember reaching the place where my compassion for grieving friends had reached its capacity—and it was long before they stopped hurting.

Back then like most people, my mind was operating under the faulty assumption that grief had some predictable expiration date; a reasonable period of time after which recovery and normalcy would come and the person would return to life as it was before, albeit with some minor adjustments.

I thought all these things, until I grieved.

I never think these things anymore.

Two years ago I remember sitting with a dear friend at a coffee shop table in the aftermath of my father’s sudden passing. In response to my quivering voice and my tear-weary eyes and my obvious shell shock, she assured me that this debilitating sadness; this ironic combination of searing pain and complete numbness was going to give me a layer of compassion for hurting people that I’d never had before. It was an understanding, she said, that I simply couldn’t have had without walking through the Grief Valley. She was right, though I would have gladly acquired this empathy in a million other ways.

Since that day I’ve realized that Grief doesn’t just visit you for a horrible, yet temporary holiday. It moves in, puts down roots—and it never leaves. Yes as time passes, eventually the tidal waves subside for longer periods, but they inevitably come crashing in again without notice, when you are least prepared. With no warning they devastate the landscape of your heart all over again, leaving you bruised and breathless and needing to rebuild once more.

Grief brings humility as a housewarming gift and doesn’t care whether you want it or not.

You are forced to face your inability to do anything but feel it all and fall apart. It’s incredibly difficult in those quiet moments, when you realize so long after the loss that you’re still not the same person you used to be; that this chronic soul injury just won’t heal up. This is tough medicine to take, but more difficult still, is coming to feel quite sure that you’ll never be that person again. It’s humbling to know you’ve been internally altered: Death has interrupted your plans, served your relationships, and rewritten the script for you.

And strangely (or perhaps quite understandably) those acute attacks of despair are the very moments when I feel closest to my father, as if the pain somehow allows me to remove the space and time which separates us and I can press my head against his chest and hear his heartbeat once more. These tragic times are somehow oddly comforting even as they kick you in the gut.

And it is this odd healing sadness which I’ll carry for the remainder of my days; that nexus between total devastation and gradual restoration.It is the way your love outlives your loved one.

I’ve walked enough of this road to realize that it is my road now. This is not just a momentary detour, it’s the permanent state of affairs. I will have many good days and many moments of gratitude and times of welcome respite, but I’m never fully getting over this loss.

This is the cost of sharing your life with someone worth missing.

Two years into my walk in the Valley I’ve resigned myself to the truth that this a lifetime sentence. At the end of my time here on the planet, I will either be reunited with my father in some glorious mystery, or simply reach my last day of mourning his loss.

Either way I’m beginning to rest in the simple truth:

The day I’ll stop grieving—is the day I stop breathing.

 

Keeping Afloat

 

Wow, I cannot believe I stopped blogging, or even understand why i did?…..Looking back and reading some of my raw, honest, and sometimes verbally violent post, I realize they were so therapeutic and for the most part,  productive for my needs at the time. Importantly it also gave me an outlet with little judgement. when writing, i don’t owe anyone anything. I hope my writings will have some positive outreach for others than just me, maybe to touch someone, or educate them, or to simply validate the feelings of those, that may be fighting the same evil game.  Although at the end of the day,  i only owe myself the luxury of purporting my life, all be it a life that seems to be a fallacy.

I am not sure who this will reach as it has been almost three years since i have done this, but it is definitely  time to reflect. It has been five years 8 months since life as i know it was changed and it has been 2 years 8 months since i have wrote about it…I cannot even begin to compute that time has passed by so fast and yet most days i still feel like it is November 16, 2011 or the end of my life as i once knew it.  I still find myself so lost, lonely, and isolated, and yet it seems to be by choice, because i feel as if my new normal does not fit into mainstream. I have come to understand that I literally have shut down and only challenge myself for short periods of time and than seem to bottom out…. I have bounced from several jobs as well as houses since my last entry, i suppose in search of some sort of purpose or hopes of a miracle cure. Although, i suspect the odds of a miracle cure are probably about the same odds as your child being killed at 16, ironic, huh?

So now, i am not considered newly bereaved by societies standards, whatever still feels new to me. Time seems to have stopped for me and resulted in a constant quest to survive to find some sort of magical thing to make me feel like me again. while trying to accomplish this, i seem to hurt more people because of my pain. I have lost the ability to open my heart to many and keep most at arms length because it is easier than dealing with my not so always buoyant moods. I find people want to fix me when i can’t fix myself, they want to genuinely bring back the old me, when in truth that person died with Morgan.

Although, i can say, i have experienced some joy i mean actual joy without guilt, that in itself is huge.  Even with the draw bridge up and the moat dug deeply in my protective haven, i have found solace in new friends who have become like family, somehow who have found a way over the walls and made me feel safe and loved and genuinely embrace the new fucked up version of me, and for that i am thankful. I have learned to do what i want when i want, (well when i can) to find some assuagement, like backpacking across Spain. I have learned I am only capable of living a day at a time and not allowing expectations for that day, just to be in the moment, good or bad. I have learned that friends and family that are in it for the long haul with me are gold and a blessing.

But my reality is, I just miss Morgan so much, i truly think more in so many different ways. Hard to explain but the initial pain of the loss and the reality of the loss are two different animals. I am still bitter and angry that not only did my baby girl die, which stole her future, it also stole so much of mine. All the things a mother wishes for not only for her child/children but to share with, is gone.  Her friends have all graduated high school, she never got to. A lot of them went to college, again she did not.  Her friends are now graduating college, getting married, starting their lives. Morgan remains forever Sweet 16, and I  remain stalled in time, trying to figure out how to live a life without my best friend, my daughter and all our future dreams. I still can’t handle going to baby showers, or wedding, hell even graduation parties, because it hurts too damn much. I am happy for those celebrating but so pissed that i will never get those pleasures…

So, although 5 years 8 months has gone by, i still find that everyday is a  new challenge which seem to be ever changing. Time does not change or lessen the pain, as some would like to tell you, on the contrary it only changes the struggle, giving a different kind of pain. Losing a child is by far the most cruel thing a parent will go through and I now see will be a lifetime pain that has left so much void in my heart and life.

I hope to get back to blogging more often with hopes of continuing in trying to be an anchor that refuses to sink, although it seems like i spend most my time treading water.  To my club members of the club nobody wants to belong to, I will not lie, this new normal life we are forced to live, is the hardest road any parent can ever travel. Keep treading

Choices

amys_lg_fave_morgan

Three years ago today, A mother made a choice to provide alcohol for her son. She chose to allow her drunk son and his friend to get behind the wheel of his truck and drive, which resulted in his own death, as well as killing my daughter.
Their choices took away my child, her future, the life of a beautiful young woman who had just begun to live.
Three years ago today, their choices determined what would from now on would be a “Normal” life for me.

This Is Now What “Normal” Is …
Author Unknown

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family’s life.

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, July 4th and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable at a funeral than a wedding or birthday party.. yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can’t sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don’t like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand ‘what ifs’ and ‘why didn’t I’s’ go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute you walk into the house to have noise, because silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every young girl who looks like she is my daughter’s age and then thinking of the age she would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child’s death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone’s eyes at how awful it sounds, and yet realizing it has become a part of my “normal”.

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child’s memory and their birthday and survive these days, trying to find the balloon or flag that fits the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special that reminds me of my daughter. Thinking how she would have loved it, but how she’s not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to even mention my daughter.

Normal is making sure that others remember her.

Normal is that after the funeral is over, everyone else goes on with their lives but we will continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you – it doesn’t compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but never having met any of them face to face.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food in the house.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my daughter is in Heaven. Yet when you say you have two children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your daughter.

Normal is knowing I will never get over the loss, in a day or a million years. And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become “normal” for you to feel, so that everyone else around you will think you are “normal”.

Please think about your choices……Because when you choose to drink and drive, yours is not the only life that may be changed.

 

The Walk

I have this friend who to me has always been the epitome of an itinerant. I have had the pleasure of knowing him for 25 years or more and never understood his way of life, sometimes even criticizing his choices because it was not what i inherently believed society has deemed to be that of the human norm.  In my eyes I had the perfect life, beautiful children, the monitory esthetics, and a husband who was the definition of a good man, and father. Life is complete, right? How could everyone not want that and strive for that?  I always felt that my friend must be missing out on so much, such as love, stability, security, instead it seemed as if he focused on the proverbial pipe dream. How can one believe that they will ever find solace in a life that is not grounded with the tradition of the set of sacraments we are engrained with for what “Life” should be? Maybe the answer is that there is no consolation in one place, especially for those whose soul are tortured. Whether it be grief, or feelings of inadequacy or purely that the expectations of who you are suppose to be has left you feeling as if your soul has been sucked out of you.  Maybe for some the pipe dream is just that a fallacy, for my friend this seems not to be the case.

Maybe my friend chose for his life style to be more of a journey than most will ever fathom, because he knew some where deep inside that for him to seek fulfillment was to break the tradition of what was expected. We as humans seem to instinctively bind ourselves with chains, but I believe we all  have a visceral part of our psyche that craves to see past what has for us become an abstraction of what should be our reality.  So I ponder and succumb to the ugly truth that my being is no longer what once was a life full of certainty and promise, it has pragmatically become something that is neither derivative nor dependent but more of an existence where I lack active strength of body and mind. I feel as if I am standing outside witnessing the suffering of a chronic illness that will enviably consume and  succeed with the demise of my soul.  I mean shit, one can only snuggle with your demons for so long…..Finding a new normal has been almost as exhausting as how i feel i came to be in my predicament, and I am so tired of trying to fit in to what the standards tell me i should do….So what is to be learned from this? I wish I had the answers, I wish i could whip up some witty smart ass thing to say, because we all weather our own storms and we would like to believe that the storm will run out of rain, but as of now I cannot say this….So what is left to do with a life that is not mine to take, continue the journey which may just start with a walk. Thanks for the book Peppi ❤

 walk

Frozen In Grief

timeOne of the difficult questions to answer is “How long will I be grieving?”

The process can go on for years, in some cases even a lifetime

The answer to this question is highly variable, depending on many factors including the type of loss, extraordinary circumstances surrounding the loss.  It also depends on an individuals coping skills and number of prior losses, and how those were handled.

Tragedies can be much more difficult to recover from quickly of at all depending on the nature of the tradgedy e.g unnecessary or accidental death, rape, loss through natural disasters, death during war-time, unnecessary acts of violence. These types of losses are the ones that lend themselves to counseling and seeking professional help to deal with the loss. Depending on the nature of the loss, it may be something that a person may never recover from, but one must learn how to incorporate the loss, learn what one can and move on.

Part of what needs to remember about grief and mourning, is that the same event experienced by many different people can affect individuals very differently. This is especially important within families, because certain members may be in different stages of the grieving process, go through the phases more quickly than others or stay stuck in certain phases for years  Anger, or Depression.

One needs to be mindful when dealing with others, that they will probably not be in the same stage as you are. Understanding the stages of grief and the grieving process can help deal with the hard feelings and the arguments that may arise from two individuals trying to communicate when in different stages

Grief

There is a grief that ages the face

and hardens the heart

yet softens the spirit

 

A grief that cast shadows on the eyes

yet broadens the mind

 

A grief that keeps the pain and has no words

But increases the understanding

 

There is a grief that breaks the heart and wounds the soul

That lasts and lasts and can shatter in a minute

But will inspire for a lifetime

I Grieve

it was only one hour ago 

it was all so different then 

there’s nothing yet has really sunk in 

looks like it always did 

this flesh and bone 

it’s just the way that you would tied in 

now there’s no-one home 

 

i grieve for you 

you leave me 

‘so hard to move on 

still loving what’s gone 

they say life carries on 

carries on and on and on and on 

 

the news that truly shocks is the empty empty page 

while the final rattle rocks its empty empty cage 

and i can’t handle this 

 

i grieve for you 

you leave me 

let it out and move on 

missing what’s gone 

they say life carries on 

they say life carries on and on and on 

 

life carries on 

in the people i meet 

in everyone that’s out on the street 

in all the dogs and cats 

in the flies and rats 

in the rot and the rust 

in the ashes and the dust 

life carries on and on and on and on 

life carries on and on and on 

 

it’s just the car that we ride in 

a home we reside in 

the face that we hide in 

the way we are tied in 

and life carries on and on and on and on 

life carries on and on and on 

 

did I dream this belief? 

or did i believe this dream? 

now i can find relief 

i grieve

 

-Peter Gabriel

 

There is no limit to ones time for Grief

broken heart

When someone is grieving i believe in my heart that many if not all outsiders have the best intentions to help I truly do, but understandably  they have no real concept  on how long and how often the mourning need support or just understanding. People that lose loved ones, I have come to find that there is no limit to the time it takes for each individual to find their new normal. I think that sometimes when people view the lives of the sorrowful, they think that the person or people grieving should have come to terms with their loss after a certain amount of time. I have found  this not to be true, I have sadly gained the knowledge that every moment to everyday is different. It is so hard to help people understand that we need to grieve as long as it may take. We all seem to have our own way to do this, whether it is to submerse our time into our work so that our mind has little time to feel the pain, or that we become some what of a recluse trying to understand our torture. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are no rules.  I personally try to battle the pain by writing my feelings at that moment. I think some may not understand and my God am I thankful for that because I would not wish this on anyone.

It is so important to me to put out there that when you see someone struggling and they may seem as if their path is destructive, it might not always be as it seems, sometimes we must  look outside the box! This is  because anyone who is grieving that keeps having emotions whether negative or positive has not given up the fight. I cannot identify my grief with anyones else, I have learned to accept the death of my father and step mother and although it still hurts, I have learned to move forward. I have found that burying a child is a completely different kind of grief for me anyway. I am moving forward, I am fighting to become a new normal.   I have found that  not just me but all other parents who are trying to win the fight are on this similar  path and they may feel like there is no end, keep fighting.

I want to post this link for those that may be fighting this fight to maybe offer support that you are not alone. I also want to post this for people who may just want to understand some of the process grieving parents may be going through. I am also posting some writings from this site that have heart felt meaning to me.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grieving-Mothers/162680380444494

no limitDear Clueless

I would like to share with you my pain but that isn’t possible unless you have lost a child yourself and that I wouldn’t want you to have to experience. So with that being said, I would like to say this. I will try to my best to understand you if you try to understand me. I lost my child. My life will never be the same. I will never be the same again. I will be different from now on. I no longer have the same feelings about anything. Everything in my life has changed from the moment my child left to go to heaven. I will, on some days be very sad and nothing you say will changes that so don’t feel like it is your job to make me feel better on those days, just allow me to be where I am.
When you lose a child you not only lose your reason for living, you lose the motivation to go on. You also lose your sense of self. It takes a long time to come to some kind of understanding for why this has happened, if ever. Of course we who have lost children know we have to go on but we don’t want to hear someone else tell us too. Especially from someone who has not lost a child. It makes me and anyone who has lost a child want to say who are you to tell me that? Did you bury your child? I don’t want this to sound like I don’t appreciate everything you say because I know you mean well, but I just want you to appreciate where I am coming from too. I want you to understand that some of the things you say hurt me and others like me without you really knowing it. I know it must be pretty hard to talk to people like myself, not knowing what to say. That is why I am writing this letter.
If you don’t know what to say, say nothing or just say I’m sorry. That always works for me. If you want to talk and say my child’s name feel free I would love to hear her name anytime. You not saying her name didn’t make me forget it, or what happened to her. So by all means say her name. When special dates come or holidays come please forgive me if I’m not myself. I just can’t keep it up on those days. I may wish to be by myself so I can think about my child without putting on a front. Most of all I want you to know I’m having a hard time with the death of my child and I am trying my very best to get back into life again. Some days it may look like I have accomplished that, and other days like I am at square one.
This will happen the rest of my life periodically. There are just no words to explain the living hell this feels like. There are no words that could ever do it justice. So please bear with me and give me time and don’t put your own timetable on my grief and let me be the person I am now and not have to live up to the person you think I should be. Allow me my space and time and accept me for me. I will try my best to understand you.
Love, Your Friend in Grief

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