Today is a day just like the day my middle son passed away. It is sunny and 70 degrees, with a light breeze coming out of the north. I’m sitting by my office window listening to the crickets chirp, an occasional bird sing, and a train clacking down the tracks a couple of miles from us. Oh, and the tick, tick, ticking of my wall clock. This clock is the loudest clock I’ve ever heard. I’ve taken the battery out of the back of it, once or twice, just to get a few minutes relief from the constant ticking of the second hand. I really should replace it. I just don’t think about it when I’m shopping; I only think about it when I sit here at my desk, wanting a moment of complete quiet.
Sometimes, though, these coveted moments of complete silence are dangerous for me. Sometimes, what I lovingly refer to as my “grief monster” rears his ugly head and roars through my thoughts in such a way that I can’t ignore him when it is completely quiet. Not so today, though. Today is an absolutely beautiful day, even though it reminds me so much of the day my son passed away. I see this – my enjoyment of this lovely day – as a step in the right direction; another step toward healing. Even though I have a distaste for the word “healing”, it is occurring anyway, whether I like it or not. And, really, I have begun to like it better than the constant pain.
I despised the idea of healing for a very long time, because healing from the loss of my middle child meant I might forget him. It also meant I might break again. If I stayed broken and another tragedy happened, maybe I wouldn’t break again. Not exactly a logical train of thought, but very few thoughts during a deeply grieving time seem logical to me. And it seems lately like I’m having a lot more logical thoughts than I have had for the past 1,000+ days. I think I might be beginning to heal enough that I can come out of my cocoon a little more often.
I was regularly meeting with a group of ladies for several weeks before my son died, but stopped attending those meetings immediately after he died and haven’t met with them again until recently – the past 2 weeks, in fact. We met again in the same place we were meeting when I stopped attending some 1,000 days ago or so, and I was astounded at the feeling of deja’ vu I had when the meeting began. It was as though no time had passed since we’d last met.
When I am home and with my family, it is as though an eternity has passed since we’ve seen our son and brother.
But meeting outside my home with ladies who are not members of my family was just the opposite.
It was such an interesting emotional phenomenon for me.
As I muse on that strange occurrence of a couple of weeks ago, I’m taken with the word I used above to describe my existence for the past almost 3 years – cocoon. That is how I have felt, though I didn’t realize it until I wrote that word. And I think the feeling of it being an eternity since my family and I have seen our family member that is now in heaven comes from the notion that my family has been in this cocoon with me. We have all been huddling together, so to speak, trying to protect our wounded hearts from the outside world, which seems o, so cruel after a tragedy of this magnitude. The few times I’ve tried to resume normal activities in the past 35 months, I’ve encountered someone who thought they knew what I needed more than I did, and it knocked me back into my safe place – my cocoon, at home with my family.
But I have begun to feel as though I’ve turned another corner on this awful road of grieving – I think it’s about the 75th corner I’ve turned – and I am traveling down another road, still called grieving, but with slightly different scenery. This road has more color, more peace, more laughter and enjoyment than the one I was on just recently. And I am so thankful for that. I know there will be more tears, more days of deep sorrow, more questioning and more times of anger. But I am thankful that the days without that are beginning to outnumber the days with it.
“The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my Father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” Exodus 15:2