Christopher’s birthday is this week (May 15, 1974). He would be 39!
I have been “practicing” grief for 17 years. People, who meet me, now see a happy thriving person. They cannot imagine me 17 years ago.
I went from: There is not enough Kleenex in the world to dry my ocean of tears and barely feeling anything because I was so numb, to days where I took a baby step in the direction of a much calmer place, where joy could occasionally come for a visit. I was surprised by joy the first time it visited. It came, and then left and I asked “joy” to stay. I wanted to be happy.
Deep down, I felt within myself that I would be okay. That does not mean any of this was easy. It was not easy.
The transition from acute grief to occasional joy and then more joy was sometimes unbearable, sometimes filled with tasks I did not ever ask for, the memorial, the trial, and then all the firsts – birthday, 1 year, the trial and life moments without your loved one. Time is a good thing. When the 363rd day came, I didn’t want to go to sleep. “How could it be a year?” It was and now it has been 17 years.
I speak easily about grief now. When I say that I am “used to it,” that does not mean that it is easy. I still have paralyzing moments of incredible sadness, but, I have lived my story for 17 years. It is part of me. Part of the gift my son, Christopher left with me. I can now, and for some time, have been able to say “It gets better; there is HOPE!”
If you are in the midst of deep, deep, paralyzing grief, you too will experience what I have lived. Every year is different. You can try to brace yourself for the feelings you know will arrive, but, these feelings will change. Sometime the anticipation is the worst of it and when the anniversary, birthday and holiday day arrives, you sail right through. Other times you get so truly sad that it is hard to do anything.
Here is a great quote from: Kayak Morning, by Roger Rosenblatt
Grief comes to you all at once,
So you think it will be over all at once.
But it is your guest for a lifetime.
How should I treat this guest?
This unwelcome, uninvited guest.
Think of who sent it to you……
I would love to have Christopher back in my life. I know that this is not possible so, I am choosing to have a happy and significant life. And I will keep practicing! It is a wonderful life to live!