Waves or Vortex?

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I am a little more than six months into this process of grieving the loss of one of my children, and this is one thing I have learned for certain. Grief does not just slowly recede over time. It ebbs and flows like waves on the shore. Brushing against you and pulling away most of the time, but occasionally swamping you in a sea of emotion that both startles and overwhelms you. One moment you feel like you have mastered your surroundings and the next it is like a rogue wave, you didn’t see it coming, and it soaks you- sometimes even pulling you under- without any prior warning.

Today was a rogue wave day for me. For no reason, I was swamped with the depth of my grief… Made worse by the fact that I was in public all day. You simply can’t go around crying all the time. I mean, for the first day or two, everyone kind of expects that, but after that, you are supposed to buck up. Which is ironic because I think a lot of us are too overwhelmed to cry much in the first few days.

I have had the unfortunate experience of experiencing the death of people close to me since I was a young child. Grandparents, uncles, cousins, a nephew have all passed away prior to me losing my son. For all of them, I grieved immediately and then sporadically throughout time. Some more than others, and of course, none of them prepared me for the death of my own child. None of them, no matter how beloved, had been part of my very being the way your children are.

I can talk about David with fond memories and smiles. But sometimes the mere thought of him in my head causes me to break down in tears. It is pretty hard to explain why you have just started crying in the middle of (insert location here). So you feel the need to just stay home so that you don’t seem like a crazy person.

That is a fairly impractical plan, however, so off I go. Striking out each new day, never knowing if I will make it through the day or not. As I type this, I’m on a plane with the odd tear or two streaming. It’s blessedly dark, so I think I’m under the radar.

I guess I just wanted to put this out there in case any of you get blindsided by this kind of grief. It doesn’t always happen in stages that can be measured off. My grief is more of a swirling vortex than “stages”. David would probably appreciate the sci-fi way that sounds, which makes me smile. I guess life is all about learning to smile through your tears.

6 thoughts on “Waves or Vortex?

  1. (((((Hugs)))) I still believe that tears are a sign of how deeply you loved and lived. They aren’t a sign of weakness but a badge of bravery for having dared to take life on, knowing all the while that it isn’t an easy trip. You made me laugh with the sci-fi part. 🙂

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  2. I lost my dad almost 8 months ago to a glioblastoma. We found out about it almost a year ago Dec 12 2011 and we lost him April 7, 2012. I havent been able to figure why there are some days that I can think about him and smile and feel his warm presence, and there are other days that just the mere thought of something we used to share or do together sends me over the edge. The hurt feels like it is coming from a bottomless cavern inside..I often feel like I am going crazy and no one wants to hear my woes..I dont understand how the world goes on around me without him…
    This year of firsts has been brutal and I wish I could fast forward to February just get past Christmas and my birthday in January ( first one without him)

    Ive been told that you never get over the death of a loved one… you get thru it with the help of friends. I am fortunate ( or unfortunate) to have within my circle of friends 5 of whom have lost a parent in the last year, so they somewhat “get it”.
    I found your blog via NBTS. I did a walk here in dc a few weeks after dad passed and it was overwhelming. Since then Ive had the opportunity to get involved, visit Representatives and tell my story in hopes to continue their awareness and help fight for better treatments and ultimately a cure.

    I just wanted to thank you for your words and to tell u that they are overwhelmingly touching helpful and inspiring.

    Thank you and look forward to your posts…

    Mary

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    1. Mary,
      Thanks for sharing your story. We do the walk in DC, too, although I missed the one in 2012 because David was so sick. Maybe we can see you there in 2013? It is emotional to be in that environment, but it is so helpful to others that it makes it worth it to me.

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  3. Thanks for your reply.. would love to meet up at next years race for the cure….
    Thank you again for sharing your story…its nice to know I’m not losing it…:-)
    Thanks

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  4. I came across your blog at just the right time. I just found my son has a brain tumor about a month ago and he had a surgery to reduce the pressure. They are not able to remove the tumor and with several weeks until the fluid is completely drained, we are waiting to find out what this tumor really is. Reading your blog gave me some comfort. I am going through similar things. While currently my son is feeling well from the recent surgery, we still have a long uncertain road ahead. We are from Iowa and will be attending the DC event and would love to meet you there as well!

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    1. It is a small world. We live in Kansas, but get to Iowa every few months for business. Would love to meet you at the DC event, and please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of any support to you. Sometimes, only a person who has been there can understand. I had other mothers who lifted me up through the process, and I would be glad to do the same for you. I’m on Facebook, and we have a group “Operation: Annihilate Brain Cancer” on Facebook as well. With brain tumors, gaining knowledge quickly is critical, so please don’t hesitate to ask!

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