September 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm
Nothing ever really ends without something else beginning, and it really never begins without something ending. We go through life graduating through stages and ending one milestone to begin work on another. I am thinking that loss is like this, with grief somehow buffering you from feeling the full brunt of your pain all at once, but using an ending to introduce a new beginning.
I have had many endings in my life, relationships, school, jobs, etc… Some happy endings, while others far from happy. Unhappy endings bring a sense of grief, fear, uncertainty, and discomfort no matter what the situation is. Happy endings give us an immediate launching pad into new discovery…..and uncertainty. Loss in our lives, no matter what we lose, leaves us empty and downright scared.
I have used my grief to hide behind, and distance myself from reality, not just with the passing of my son, but with other situations in my life. I tell myself I cannot handle certain situations because I am weak at the given time of loss….I cut myself off from life. Being numb from my loss and ignoring my grief does NOT make me happy. This is a tried and tested experiment that I can tell you will not work. So, do not try it at home. What I can tell you, is that loss, and unhappy endings….they are a starting point for a new journey in our lives.
Half the time I cannot even remember how old I am…so I have to stop and do the math real quick in my head. Birthdays and age really do not mean that much to me anymore, but I still feel like it was absolutely just yesterday that I was making bottles in the kitchen for my babies or taking walks in the park to feed the ducks. I suffered as a child, in many ways, but became a survivor when I did not even know what that meant. I experienced loss in different ways, still traumatic, but different than today. I was young, mother of 4 kids, married, working, and falling apart. I tried to ignore my grief at that time, buffer all the loss and pain, and try to build a “new me” with NO guidance, no direction, and no clue.
Something I have never talked about, because I was ashamed. I failed at the age of 22, and my husband was forced to find me help. You see, it was not grieving a lost loved one I went through at this time. It was not even just stupid growing up crap. As a child I suffered trauma, a trauma that no child should ever have to experience. The grief I went through at this time was loss of self, family, identity, hope, faith, trust, feeling…you name it. And, I fell apart. I spent 4 weeks away from my kids and husband in the scariest place I have ever been in my life, as a result of the trauma. I will never, as long as I live, forget the look on faces, the tone of voices, and the feeling of disappointment that I brought to the family. I have always felt that I disappointed them and made them ashamed of me…because I was not strong, because I did not know how to deal with it.
So, why should now be any different. I was 22 at that time….and here I am, 22 years later, sitting here at 44. The pain of losing a child for a mother is something that another mother cannot understand if it does not happen to her. I have heard it described as PTSD that you go through after your child commits suicide…..or worse.
At times I feel myself falling apart. Things feel “messy”, unorganized, unmanageable, unthinkable, useless, and pointless. And I mean just simple things, really simple….all the way to the larger day to day things, and the big picture. It feels like I did when I was hopeless at 22, when I was a victim and a survivor before I ever knew those terms.
I did not give up then, and I will not give up now. My pain draws some people closer to me while it distances others….my experiences and thoughts help some be open when they have not been able to be open before. The loss and trauma and grief in my life gives me credibility to some, and leaves me inadequate in the eyes of the others. I know I have to use this ending, this loss, as a new beginning. I also know that I need to gather up the other loss and pain and bring it along.
While I struggle through my grief and pain of losing Fred, I will try to find my new beginning.
The wider I open my heart and my mind in these past four months…the more I learn, the more I heal, and the more I want to get through this. It is true that unconditional love exists beyond family and kids. It is true that you can step over the true pearls in your life while looking, and chasing the imitation. It is true that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
I am currently going through hell, but I will not stop here, I have to keep going.