Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thirty-Five Years

I noticed
was smiling
not thinking
my dead

that mean
I don’t
love her?

Thirty-five years is a long time to go without ever seeing my “beloved child”.  It has been always that tension between my grief and living my life.  How to honor both the living and the dead is  a never ending process of blending the two.  It has been a gradual process of choices that have built up over time, like a coral reef.  Each individual animal---or choice in my case---is small and insignificant. but the sum total is breathtaking, though invisible on the surface.  By now there is little drama left, and less and less to say.  All the building and changes are under the surface.  A reef and the human spirit are easily to shatter, but both are also resilient and tend to rebuild in changed forms.  Many other losses have occurred along the way, each with its own pain and recovery.  Nothing comes close to the up-side down, inside-out world that the death of my child wrought.
What is breathtaking is the healing

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fifteen Years: Weariness and Shutdown

                                                       If you
get out

You cannot
dead child.

I cannot

I can

I began to retreat from mentioning Sharon much at all. When new people would ask me how many children I had, I began to skip over her death, respond that we had three boys, and quickly change the subject. It felt terrible, but the alternative felt even worse at that time in my recovery. The choice here was to quietly withdraw and batten down the hatches. Sometimes grief is an exhausting journey. The problem was that many folks would respond that it was too bad I hadn’t had the joy of a girl, so the truth usually came out anyway. It doesn’t seem to matter if the story is told up front or later on; it so dominates the conversation that other issues and considerations often get sidelined.
     I don’t know exactly why this time was so difficult. It may have been that we left Illinois and moved to Montana, so I had to leave the only tie I had left to her—her grave. In retrospect, it seems like this was just another cycle in the never-ending grieving process”; this particular time, the phase of bargaining. I just wanted to feel safe for a while and not engage, or be close to anyone. It is hard to articulate that long-term weariness. Like so many that are different” and don’t quite fit anywhere, I only wanted to be like everyone else. Being a bereaved parent is unusual, but being up front and vocal about it scares people, or puts them off. There is no all-purpose good choice in this arena, so it becomes a choice every time I meet someone new as to how to handle discussing that part of my life.
There was often some sort of antidote to all the downers, like a sweet, small, touching thing that happened every year for as long as I lived in Illinois. There was always a single red rose on Sharon’s grave on her death day. I don’t know who was responsible for that; I never saw the person. I wish I could thank him or her for that remembrance. It was nice to know someone besides me missed her and visited her


Saturday, July 5, 2014

One of Those Days

                                                              For those
of us
who are
our grief,

Life has
can never

Today is one of those days when I am tired of myself and the undertow of my forever grief.  It’s not anything anyone else can see; especially after all these years it would not occur to anyone that I still miss her terribly.  How do I explain the hole in my soul, that is smaller then day one, but still unfilled?  Grief is such a secret in this culture that even mentioning it people turn away.  That is probably the great divide between people. The difference in the experience of the bereaved and the nonbereaved.  The nonbereaved can be happy, don’t worry.

Don’t worry this is just a brief sidetrack because her birthday is 7/11 and I always have to honor that day somehow.  It never comes exactly on schedule, but it always demands my attention.  It is a long, lonely journey.   The magic in this little tirade is that I will post this and have a great day, until grief demands my attention again.