It is finally 2014. I am so grateful that 2013 officially in the past. I also get to say “My daughter died last year”
2013 was filled with tremendous loss. Not only did I lose my child, other loved ones but I also lost myself. 2013 was filled with lessons. Painful lessons…
I have learned that grief is a solitary, unique experience. I have the learnt the difference between grief and sadness. I have learnt that grief is never-ending. I have learnt that it takes courage to grieve. I have learnt that the depth of loss depends on the depth of the relationship that has been severed.
In this process of grieving for my child I have lost me…I have become a stranger to myself. Vic and I were always “one”. I am battling to function with half of me gone. I miss the other half of my soul…
Once I was an organised person now I have become totally disorganised. My house and filing is a mess. My time management sucks! I battle to read and complete tasks. I no longer trust my judgement. I have trusted people who have scorned my love and trust. I have become forgetful. I have hidden my jewellery somewhere and for the life of me I cannot remember where. I have hidden the boys Christmas gifts – I cannot remember where. I have missed appointments, mislaid my keys…
I am preoccupied with Vic’s death. Everything that happens, I relate back to Vic’s death. In unguarded moments I relive her final moments, the vision of seeing her being loaded onto a gurney… I hear her final words echo through my mind and body “I love you Mommy…”. I relive her fear of dying, her desperation at saying her final goodbyes…
I have become impatient and intolerant. I am on the defensive. I feel isolated in my grief. I truly feel that only my WordPress friends, who have also lost a child, understands. My real world friends and family do not. How can they? They have never lost a child. They get to hold their children….They can rest their heads on their children’s heads and smell their freshly washed hair, feel their soft skins….
I have lost interest in things that used to fascinate me. I no longer enjoy decoupage, scrapbooking, painting or baking. Life has taken on a different meaning. I have new responsibilities. Vic entrusted her beloved sons to my care and tasked me with Stepping Stone Hospice.
Because grief is primarily a personal experience it certainly takes its toll on relationships. Partners can try to understand someone else’s grief but they can never experience it or take on the burden themselves.
On the surface it appears society is accepting of this unbearable sadness and people are supportive and open to talking about it. I’ve been surprised by people’s genuine kindness and empathy as much as I’ve been repeatedly shocked & disappointed by their lack of it.
Although friends and family have been supportive, there is a mandate as for how long their unwavering support, patience, understanding, concern and empathy lasts. The truth is, the situation is so unbearably sad that it becomes incredibly emotionally draining on the other person.
The realisation that they can’t fix your sadness sets in, the frustration builds because not even they can see an end in sight, then gradually it starts to impede on the happiness in their life. They haven’t lost their child so why should they spend all their time sad about yours?
I cannot expect anyone, who did not truly witness and live the horror of seeing my beautiful child die, to understand my grief.
What frustrates and angers me most is that people, in the misguided perception that they are guiding or comforting me, insist on how I must be feeling! Who gives anyone the right to decide whether my emotions are “right” or “appropriate”. Please don’t give me advice. Don’t pretend to understand and keep your criticism to yourself. Please just be there if I invite you into my private space.
I am so tired. I am tired of living without my child, tired of trying to justify my grief, minding my words…I am tired of being hurt. I am tired of the hurt.
This morning I read the Facebook status of a brave young woman who lost her two precious daughters last year… “God has added one more day to my life. Not because I need the day but because someone else needs me. So I will get out of bed…..”
So, on the third day of 2014, I was inspired to make a decision. I will fight back against this terrible grief that is threatening to destroy me. I cannot bring back my child. I cannot make people understand, love or accept me. I will try to take back my life this year. I will start writing Vic’s book. I will focus on those who care for me; I will disregard my detractors… I will change my eating habits, exercise and sleep in a bed. I will lose my vulnerability. I will honour Vic through my life.
On the 18th of January the boys and I will do something special to celebrate their Mom’s life. Our lives will become about celebrating Vic’s life – not her death.
My brave child’s words to her boys are ringing through my head – “I am your mother not your excuse”.
I hear Vic’s voice loud and clear “I am your child – not your excuse”.
I hear you precious child. I promise to continuously remind the boys too… I miss you so much. I will honour you through my life.