Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 Years

I recall when Jae had been gone only hours and days, I clung to every other mother who had lost a child and asked them "Will it always hurt this bad?"
Almost without exception, the friends would comfort me with thoughts and words that I really did not believe. The reassurances they gave did not seem possible.
How would this agonizing physical, emotional and spiritual pain get better?
The idea that life would get better was preposterous.
Jae would always be gone, therefore I would always hurt.

Another thing that always made my stomach lurch was when moms would tell me that they had lost their child (so many) years ago. The mere thought of living "years" without her was unimaginable.
Facing the next hour was too hard, could I look ahead into the coming "years"?

People often asked me early in my grief "How are you doing?"
It's a typical casual greeting given to people often every day, but I swore that for as long as I lived, I would never say "Good" again.
I would say "Fine" or "OK" or "All right", but "good"?.....never!

Now that it's been 5 years, I find I have learned to wear this coat of grief and have even grown accustomed to it. It is an internal garment and although it's not comfortable, it is as much a part of me as my skin.
I can not get out of it.
I can not take it off.
It clings to me.
I hate it, but I accept it.

My heart broke today and I had to work crazy hard at holding tears back. I watched a beautiful wedding picture/video of a friend's daughter and several of this beautiful young bride's pictures reminded me of Jae.
All the people watching the video beside/with me would have never had an inkling that I was missing Jae Lynn. They weren't thinking at all about my loss of Jae. Why would they?
But I was painfully reminded that I would never have the opportunity to create such a beautiful video for Jae's wedding. Her daddy will not give her away, her younger sister will choose another maid of honor, I will not help her pick out a white dress, she will never know romance, I will never hold her children, etc.....
The grief coat suffocates me for a moment.

It's normal that no one would notice.
Still,'s lonely that no one notices.
If they did notice, they would not speak of it because it would be,..well,..awkward.

One of my patients spoke this morning of the fresh death of his wife of 67 years. (!) His wrinkled eyes were wild with pain and his voice broke as he said "I am selfish. I wish she was still with me".
I think not.
It's not selfish to wish for wholeness.

I watched another friend of mine sob as she lovingly caressed a photo of her mom who recently died. Her coat's too big. It's too much to bear. She knows it is a pain she will wear for the rest of her life and the reality is overwhelming.

What do I say to these dear ones who hurt so bad?
I have lots of experience,..but they are skeptical that it will be the same for them.
Yet, I did, they hold out hope for the day when their heart will not ache so bad.
Hold on.
It does get better.


Til then, I'm here as a 5 year survivor telling them that life can indeed be once again,...."Good". God still performs miracles.

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