And so, yes, I suffer when these waves of grief overtake me. However, I know that I do not want to feel like a victim in this life that stretches out in front of me-a very short stretch, I might add. How do I withstand these appearances of grief without succumbing to the crippling sadness? Now that’s the true question because afterwards, I feel wounded and weak.
I try not to feel “set apart” but that is just what I am. I am no longer the everyday person going along finding the daily routine enough to make my life complete. It is painful to try to become involved in a normal situation at this point. Much of life seems so trivial and without merit. People seem shallow and unfeeling but, somehow, I need them. I need the unimportant details and the focus of the ordinary.
I watched a movie, Last Love, in which a man had lost his wife-the love of his life. He explains this same feeling of desiring to escape the world. He isolates himself and, then, he says, “But in solitude, you wither.” These were the words I remember. And so I think, yes. I must reach for a greater strength and come out of my solitude. I do not wish to wither away or to fail to be amazed by this beautiful world that we live in. I want to love and feel joy in the days ahead. I do not want to feel guilty because my son can no longer feel these things.
The day is sunny. I am up and moving and a glorious day stretches out before me. I make my way to my screened-in porch to wait for that necessary cup of coffee to perk. “Everything is going to be just fine,” I say to myself. Confident that all is well, I pour that cup of coffee and sit in my swing thinking of all my many blessings: my husband sleeping in the next room, my daughter and her three precious children, the large oak tree dancing with the breeze in the backyard. And all is well until I go back through the bedroom to my bathroom to brush my teeth. I glance to the side and there it sits. Why in the world do I not move that picture! He emailed it to me early one morning, as he strolled through his yard- unable to sleep, I am sure. The email accompanied by a beautiful picture of yellow and white flowers simply said, “The flowers are back.”
Even at the time of the email…such a simple, beautiful message…I fell apart. I cried quick, hot tears and I thought how it was impossible to bear this horrible feeling in my heart. Then, as now, I crumbled. This grief of mine is not new. It should have abated by now. But no, it is as if I have been hit by a great wall of water. It drags me under and I am tumbled and tossed by the current, scraping the bottom of this dark, watery world. I can’t distinguish top from bottom. I am lost. I am confused. But, more than anything, on that first morning, I was afraid.
My son was sick. He was in peril and I was being forced to watch. So now he is gone for almost a year. I had plenty of time to prepare and more than enough of watching him suffer. Why is it that now, it is more real than then? Why do these small things send me spiraling out of control?
Yes, I will kick and reach upward toward the light, and I will surface. I will breathe and live on. For a little while, the grief will be like the water in a stream, meandering around the rocks and crevices even being warmed by the sun. But at any moment, it will gain speed and hurl itself at me again. Strange how that happens.