Life Moments #50 – Another Change is Coming

 

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For six months now, I have been living in despair. I don’t mean so much in despair that I can’t do what I need to do to take care of me or my family. I mean the despair that is a broken heart. I am surrounded by memories of my son, but I am also surrounded by life that continues to go on.

So, go on I must.

We are very close to the season of giving. I love the holidays as it is a time when family can get together without feeling guilty about not doing this or that in their every day, busy lives. We relax. We mingle. We talk. We joke. We enjoy. So often in the midst of every day life and every day struggles, we seem to miss the little things that make up the big things. And it’s the little things that matter….

But, before I go off on that subject, I want to focus on what the upcoming season really means to me:

  • family togetherness
  • good fortune: I don’t mean material riches, but those of the heart
  • time to rest
  • a few days without running here or there, to this sporting event or that meeting
  • hopefully some sleep

These last six months have depleted me – mind, body, and soul.

However, there is a change coming. We are expecting some excitement in the very near future.

Not only will my family be celebrating Thanksgiving in the coming days, but we will also be celebrating the birth of my first grandchild. My son and his girlfriend are having a baby – which I think I may have mentioned a time or two. 1 (13)Their precious baby girl is due on November 28. As I continue to grieve for the loss of my son, I will witness a miracle as all babies are beautiful miracles. As I continue to grieve for loss of one life, – a life I loved more than my own – my son and his girlfriend will bring life into the world.

Oh, I can’t wait to meet that precious, beautiful being. It seems our blessings multiply most during the times we feel so broken.

~ Shannon ~

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Life Moments #49 – His Peace is My Peace

2018-05-21 11.19.58I was lying in my bed this evening, nursing my baby girl and as I looked around my room, my eyes landed on this photo of Darren. It’s hung beautifully above the piano, positioned perfectly so that it’s the first image I see as I awake and the last image I see before I close my eyes.

As I laid there, with my baby girl all snuggled in close, my thoughts began to wander to Darren just as they always do throughout the day. Nights are different though. My mind is calm. The peace surrounds me as my children lie in slumber. Of course, the noise of my husband snoring put a damper on the peaceful silence, but I guess….well, I’ve gotten used to it! Anywho……enough rambling….

In the silence, I began to think about Darren, about how much peace he must have now. I looked at that particular picture, the way he has his hand on his cheek and I realized….that is exactly how I hold my hand when I am worried or upset. It’s funny the things we notice when we aren’t really paying attention. As a parent, I often try to look at any given situation from the perspective of my child. It was no different with Darren. I really tried to understand what he was thinking. I was often perplexed by his silence, by the false pretense of strength. He was a soft-hearted person, but he built a protective wall around his heart as most people do when trust is gone and doubt creeps into every crevice of the mind.

I started asking myself questions while I was lying there with my daughter, questions such as, “what would he be doing right now if he were still alive?” “Where would he be?” “Who would he be with?” And then, I started the inner dialogue, “He wouldn’t want us all arguing.” “He would probably be sleeping at this exact moment.” and so on, so forth. Even more than the questions and the inner dialogue, or thoughts of him as he was just before he passed away, are the memories that have been flashing through my mind lately. The memories have been specific. Today’s memories consisted of our family vacation to South Dakota! Do you know how long ago the vacation was to South Dakota? Yeah, I can’t remember either! I mean, I remember the trip, the drive, the week-long stay in the camper. I remember the activities we enjoyed, the campfires and roasting marshmallows. I remember some of our crew sleeping under the stars with Luke and some in the camper with me. I remember being 8 months pregnant, but trying really hard not to be cranky because I wanted to kiddos to enjoy the vacation.

So many memories to cherish. The loss is to much to bear sometimes. I wonder if the heartache will ever end. I worry about my other children and how they are handling the loss. It’s hard for me to understand and I’m an adult. I can’t imagine how each of them must be feeling. It’s been almost six months since Darren took his life, but I know he is at peace now and that’s brings me a little bit of peace…..not much because I still want him here with us, but his pain is gone and for that I am thankful. It breaks my heart that he saw his only option to be suicide. He is my son always and forever. I loved him when he was here, I love him now. I always have and always will.

Suicide sucks, but what sucks even more: an ugly heart. For those who can be so hateful without considering how much it hurts others….shame on them.

~ Shannon ~

Life Moments #48 – Handling Grief

mr dPeople handle grief differently. When someone we love passes away, the one’s still living go through something known as the grief process. And like any process, it’s a process that goes in steps or stages….however, you’d like to refer to it. The crazy thing is that never are these steps followed in any kind of chronological order and the chances of hitting each step more than once are quite likely.

The upsetting thing about grief is just when you think you are overcoming it, getting through it, something grabs you and drags you back into the spindly fingers of grief. The process never ends and maybe, just maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Speaking as a mother who is in the throws of grief, maybe it’s a good thing that grief never ends. I mean it’s not good if grief would consume you, consume your whole being as you must find a way to continue to be present in your life. Grief simply means you have loved someone with your whole heart and when that person leaves this world, a void seems to envelope that space in which the person lived. I’ve always told my children that each one has a place reserved in my heart specifically for each one of them. When my son died earlier this year, that space that was his didn’t disappear. In fact, it is now filled with love for him that will always be and the remaining part of his life left un-lived. That space will forever remain his — Darren Wallace’s space.

The ache is strong in that place of my heart. His siblings, each with their own places in my heart – living, breathing, loving – will never replace the spot that was reserved for him. I wouldn’t expect them to nor would I want them to. You see, I never want that space to disappear. My son was a huge part of me, as are all my children. Most moms can’t fathom losing a child, but I now have to live in the nightmare. It doesn’t matter the hour nor the place, it doesn’t matter the task at hand nor the thought in my mind, when grief rears its’ head, it brings me to my knees in a heap of tears that flow freely. Recently, I read a poem about grief and the tears began to fall before I was half-way through the poem.

But, that’s how it goes. Grief doesn’t ask your permission. It doesn’t give you warning. It shows up where it wants, when it wants, and with whomever is present as it wants.  Grief is an inescapable part of life. We will each go through it, more than once, in our lifetimes. They say some deaths are harder than others. For instance, to lose a 98 year old grandmother is going to be quite different than losing a four year old son. The life lived, the influence left behind…..that will be there no matter the age of the person who passed away. Some say the longer a person is alive, the bigger (for lack of a better word) the grief will be. I am not here to say yay or nay to that theory, but I am here to say that grief sucks. Losing someone we love sucks. And that death then becomes a part of who we are. Death changes us, better or worse who knows, but you will be changed.

And then, the way the death occurred, some people say, has a bearing on how the people who are left handle the grief. Well, I have nothing to compare it to so I am talking blindly, but my son took his life. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I was able to get prepared. He was here this hour and gone the next. I mean that stands true of any death, but to live every day questioning why he’s no longer here is the hard part. Not only is he gone forever, but my mind will not ever fully comprehend why he’s gone forever. Besides the obvious, that he took his life, I will never understand what led to that decision.

And it breaks my heart.

They say the hardest part of losing someone is learning to live without that person. However, living with not ever knowing why he made that choice is equally as hard.

~ Shannon ~