When Alex died, I buried myself into learning programming and mathematics while working the third shift at a Boy’s Ranch for delinquents, thus quashing any semblance of grief from being expressed. I pushed it away at every turn, manically doing everything, anything except self care.
When Emily died, not only did I grieve her loss, but also Alex’s to some degree. Instead of ignoring or burying the grief, I allowed it the room it needed so I could be sane. My world caved in on me and most people disappeared. This took me to strange places in my head and then in my faith. I questioned those foundations I would never have thought to question, scary questions!
When Caleb died, everything shattered except my faith. If my life was a voyage on a boat, I suddenly became a survivor clinging to a piece of the wreckage, yelling out in the night at shadows passing by with no response.
Caleb died nearly five years ago, thirteen since Emily, and close to thirty-two years since Alex died. Yet tonight, straying far from my normal, I talked to all three of them, if that is possible. I wanted a hug from them all so badly that I bawled. Yes, even after thirty-two years, I still long for my baby, who is by now a grown adult in Heaven. I am no closer to being “over” it or “healing”. That will not occur in this lifetime. I function, do my job better than ever, run errands, cook dinner, spend time with my family, volunteer at church, participate in two bible study groups, and host a grief group. I think this is about as good as it gets in my world.
Someone messaged me on Facebook after reading a blog post that touched him and said they lost their only son thirty years ago. His message gave me strength to embrace the longevity of grief, though I had scarcely started. Please, you do not have to ask, but if you ask “What’s wrong?”, be ready to listen and respond with an “I’m sorry.” Also acceptable are prayers or something other than a wild-eyed stare. I’m getting these stares more often lately and it makes me think the person believes I should be over losing my kids. Do you know many grievers talk in private grief groups about not sharing because so many people have no clue how to respond? It’s actually really easy. Listen, and then say a kind response.