I dreamed about my family last night.
I’ve dreamed about my middle son, who was tragically taken from us two and a half years ago in a car accident, a few times since he left us. Most of those dreams seemed like messages from him about how perfectly okay he is. Some were my own sub-conscience trying to sort out our loss.
But never have I dreamed about him being dead.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had dreams that we were all doing something very normal for our family and he was with us, but we were unable to touch him or talk to him. I knew, immediately upon awakening, that my brain was working on accepting that he is really gone.
Last night, though, I knew he was dead – in my dream, and when I awoke.
This is so depressing. Reality is sinking in. And it is a reality I absolutely hate.
I’ve been told some crazy things lately by people who haven’t lost a child. Just “blah, blah, blah and you’ll”………….what? Be over this? Be happy? Find peace? I don’t know what they are trying to accomplish. I do know………..it always causes me more pain.
Here is what I hear when they tell me to do something to try to help me “get over this”, or whatever it is they are trying to do: “You aren’t grieving correctly. Let me help you do it right.”
Is there a right way to grieve? Does it make them uncomfortable that I am grieving the loss of a child? I’ve been told that some people are reminded that they could lose a child when they are around me. Seriously? This isn’t contagious! And, it could happen to anyone at anytime.
Do people think I should be through grieving? That two and a half years is long enough to grieve? Is there a certain amount of time that parents (or anyone, for that matter) are allowed to grieve, then we’re to move along and act like nothing tragic happened?
One of the first blog posts I wrote after my son died was about this wound being a real wound, just like a physical wound is a real wound. This is more like an amputation, though. It feels like I lost a leg – and not by a surgeon. It’s more like a horror movie with a monster in it that took hold of my foot and yanked on it until my leg was pulled off at my hip. This wound has left a jagged rip in my skin that refuses to heal quickly, if ever. The edges of the wound are beginning to congeal, but the middle of the wound is still raw; the slightest amount of pressure causes deep pain. And this makes me extremely protective of my wound.
I was recently told that I’ve built a box around myself. I agreed. This person continued on, telling me I’ve closed myself in so much that I can’t enjoy my husband or kids. This, I completely disagreed with. I know how quickly and tragically someone I love more than life itself – which would be my husband and kids – can be taken from me. Does anyone think for a second that I don’t enjoy them to the greatest extent possible? I savor every second I have with my husband, my children and my grandchildren. They are almost everything to me.
The box I’ve allowed around myself has nothing to do with my family, whom I love with all my being. It has been built to protect me from the insensitive, inexperienced, and unwise comments and suggestions made by people who think they are being helpful. It would be completely unnecessary if I could do what I’m feeling more and more like doing, which is to forever avoid any other human beings except my husband, children and grandchildren! I’m exaggerating to make my point. But not by much.
The sudden, unexpected, tragic loss of a very healthy 25-year-old son is not something you “get over” quickly, or at all. I love my children more than life itself, and that doesn’t stop because one of their hearts’ stopped beating. I can’t just say “he’s gone, but my life continues, so off I go to continue living it”. I. NO. LONGER. KNOW. WHO. I. AM. OR. HOW. TO. CONTINUE. LIVING. I simply don’t know.
I do know this: I know God loves me and my family. I know we all love Him. I know He knows all the answers, and I know He is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-wise. I know He holds us, even though we don’t usually feel like it. I know my faith in Him is a gift from Him, and “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”. I know He “will never leave me or forsake me”. I know that He loves me with an everlasting love and “underneath are the everlasting arms”.
I believe in Him and trust in Him. And I won’t stop believing and trusting in Him, even though I may be walking through the valley, the deep waters, or the fiery furnace – every metaphor for suffering seems to me to apply. But I believe and trust and will continue to believe and trust.
I am a hyper-sensitive person; I hate admitting that, but I am. I told my dad once that I feel like a porcupine with its quills pointing in toward its body, instead of out toward any predators. Every time anyone comes close enough to touch me, my quills pierce my own flesh. He was vigorously nodding in the affirmative as I was saying this:) And this trait of hyper-sensitivity has multiplied exponentially since my middle son passed away. Everything everyone says that even hints at judging where I am in this horrendous grieving process makes me want to hastily retreat into myself and my humble abode.
Last week, after a few days of (unsuccessfully) dealing with 3 separate “observations” and suggestions about my grief, I gave up trying to function and went to bed for an afternoon nap. I woke up just as angry and upset as I’d been when I laid down. Moments after I awoke, my phone rang and I almost didn’t answer it, as I was already in tears again. It was my dad. He listened to me cry and moan for a few minutes, then said one of the few things that helps, and it instantly quieted my sobs and the deep, deep pain in my heart…….not permanently, but for long enough for me to get a grip on the emotions and continue trying to live again.
“I’m so sorry you have this burden to carry.”
That amazingly compassionate statement doesn’t make comparisons, doesn’t offer suggestions or advice, doesn’t judge or condemn, doesn’t dismiss my pain, and doesn’t suggest anyone else could carry it for me. It acknowledges the pain is here, it is real, it is valid, and you have my sympathy for your sorrow.
That is all that is needed……..or wanted.
“Sorrow shared is sorrow halved.” Author Unknown
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens, The God who is our salvation.” Psalm 68:19