People 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 ~