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.