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Grief Is Like This Sometimes

Today was another one of those days.  Those days when everything reminds me of him, of my loss, of the hole in my heart, of the longing for someone I can never see or hold again, and the feeling of hopelessness that accompanies all that.

The day started out cold and cloudy, which is the hardest kind of day to get through.  But, I was going to have coffee with a cherished friend, so I was not going to let the weather get me down!  I met my friend at Cracker Barrel, and was looking forward to some good old-fashioned comfort food and great conversation.  She greeted me with a warm hug, we sat and sipped the already poured hot coffee, ordered our meal, and began to catch each other up on the latest news in our respective families.

I have learned, over the past 18 months since my son died, to guard my heart, no matter who I am with; not necessarily because who I am with is a complete insensitive moron (although I do know one or two of those!), but because my heart is so completely hyper-sensitive.  But, this particular friend is such a sensitive and careful friend to me that I don’t feel quite as great a need to be so guarded.  But, guarded or not, grief is sneaky.  It pops up in the least expected places and at the most unusual and inopportune moments.  I have begun to notice, though, some times of progress in the healing process, too.  A little while into our conversation the topic of “death” surfaced.  I internally braced myself, awaiting the onslaught of emotion I knew was coming.  But, this time it didn’t come.  I sat and marveled at the relief I felt from something so inane as discussing a topic without tears.  I felt utterly……….normal!

What is that old saying -“All good things must come to an end”?  That feeling of normalcy was extremely short-lived, as the topic quickly changed to her son’s hair, and his need for a haircut.  As soon as she started talking about her son needing a haircut, I was, in my mind, in my utility room in the home we built out in the country, with our son sitting on a bar-stool in front of me, waiting for a haircut.  I could hear the buzz of the clippers and feel the softness of his beautiful blond hair.  I could see the faraway look in his eyes, as his mind drifted while I cut his hair.  Then I could see that disapproving look he gave me when I accidentally brushed the mole on the back of his head with the clippers.  I remembered the stiff, prickly feel of his hair after I cut it.  (I always loved to rub my boys’ heads after I cut their hair.)  I no longer felt normal.  Well, I felt like the new normal; the normal I’ve been since I’ve been a bereaved parent.  I was able, this time, to snap out of it and continue conversing, still without tears.  Another small step.

My hubby and I decided to go shopping for some bushes for our front yard when I got home.  As we were browsing through the barberry bushes in the gardening area of Lowe’s, I was “there” again.  I turned to Dan and said, “I remember what his head felt like.”  It is both comforting and gut-wrenching to have these little moments of memory.  I have a great love/hate feeling about them.  They so un-do me, and I hate that.  But, I’m comforted in these moments that I’m not forgetting him, and I love that.  One of my fears is that I will begin to forget him.  I don’t really think that is possible, but fear is not always reality.

As we were driving home with our little Kia full of a variety of bushes, we had to take a detour because of road construction, and ended up driving by the doctor’s office I took our son to for his orthopedic visits after he broke his leg a year or so before his car accident.  I’ve driven by this office building several times since he died, each time a little easier, with the last few times being tearless.  I pointed out the building and elaborated on its significance as we drove by it today.  Of course, my husband was already aware of where we were and why it was significant to me.  I glanced at the building as we drove by, and heard myself say, “I grasp at times and places I remember spending time with him at, trying to find a connection to hold on to”.  Now the tears began to fall.  After a few seconds, my wise and compassionate honey said, “That is probably because you are still connected to him”.

I am still connected to him.

Those were the most comforting words anyone has said to me.

I am still connected to him.

I believe it is true.

I am still connected to him.

Can a mother forget her child?

I think not.

I am still connected to him.

Since our son’s death, I’ve spent more time reading the Book of Job than any other book in the Bible.  It has been more than comforting to me.  But, recently I’ve returned to my favorite book of the Bible, the Psalms, and have found it to be just as comforting as the Book of Job.  I recently read Psalm 13, and had the sense that somehow the Lord, many centuries ago, had allowed King David to look into my heart, then directed him to write what he saw there.

“How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?  Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.”



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