It’s still not real, right? Or at least that’s what I tell myself, but sadly it is. I still find myself thinking I am living a bad dream and I’ll wake up soon and everything will be back to normal. But as the days go by, and we hit that two month mark a few days ago I realize this isn’t a dream and what I am living is real.
When I share my thoughts, I try to be as open and honest and real as possible, because sadly death is a real thing. I speak from the heart because I want people around me to know how I feel, sadly I’m not the only one out there experiencing heartache. Grief is a real thing. Pain is a real thing. Sadness, it’s real too. So is heartache and depression and anger all of which factor into grieving. Life though, it’s the ‘realest’ of the reals because it’s what we have to live everyday even when the worst things in our life happen.
When that initial first month went by after losing Grayson I was still numb and in shock and it truly felt like I was living a nightmare that I would eventually wake up from. Month two arrived and I dreaded it. The days have truly gotten harder, the tears seem to fall more and as that two month mark approached I still felt that numbness and shock and extreme heartache, but I realized this isn’t a dream. I’m not going to wake up from this and have Grayson here with me again. He won’t be laying there in the mornings next to me, following me around the house all day saying mom..mom..mom. That moment you realize this is real. It’s like a stab in the heart. It hurts. It hurts bad. I’m now what you call a bereaved parent or at least thats what all the books call us.
Friday the 14th, I couldn’t sleep I slept about 4 hours. I laid in bed knowing at that time 2 months ago I was sitting down at Riley Hospital. I kept replaying those previous few days in my head leading up to that early morning of August 15th. I finally fell asleep around 2am because I knew I had to get up to shoot a wedding. Which I was nervous for, I won’t lie. I was nervous I was going to cry the whole day. I woke up that morning at 6:30ish got ready only to find myself to start crying. I cried the whole morning leading up to the wedding, even on the drive there. I sucked it up and got through the day, tearing up during the mother son dance, then the tears started falling again as soon I got in the truck to head home that night. I cried that whole 40 minute drive home. I had to drop Brent off at his truck and once he got out, I started playing all the songs that made me think of Grayson. I have a playlist on my phone called, Grayson’s songs. I first played ‘Eye of the Storm’ followed by ‘H.O.L.Y’ then Adele’s ‘Hello’. When ‘Hello’ came on I sang at the top of my lungs and the parts where Grayson would sing I sang even louder. And the whole time I sang tears ran down my cheeks, but I sang those songs so loud. Then I got home, and sat in the driveway to listen to ‘I’ll be the One’. These month milestones I know will only get harder from here on out. I know every month leading up to 15th I will have that anticipation feeling start to hit me. My stomach will feel queasy for a few days the anxiety will start to kick in and you’ll probably see me crying more often.
See when you lose a child, no one tells you what to expect or how to prepare for it. Because well it’s just something you don’t prepare for or expect to happen in your life. So when it does happen, you have to learn to live again. And when I say ‘learn to live again’ I truly mean it. No one tells you what every day is going to be like after. Or how to get through the day. No one tells you how hard it will be to go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. No one tells you how hard it will be to walk back in your home that first time, or how hard it will be to get in your own truck. I did’t drive for almost a month after Grayson passed away. No one tells you how your going to feel or what to say to people when they approach you. It’s something you have to teach yourself because in this case, only you know how you feel. Grief is such an individualized thing. Everyone grieves differently so there’s no right or wrong way of doing it.
Those first few days after, I felt like a baby that needed guidance. I felt so lifeless. I had people there catering to my every need; making my lunch and dinner plates for me, reminding me to take drinks, setting my clothes out after I showered, sitting in the bathroom with me as I stood in the shower forever. People making my bed and making important phone calls, you name it someone was there guiding me in the littlest tasks. My body ached from crying, dry heaving, lack of sleep, anxiety, and loss of appetite.
Then as as the weeks go by people go back to their jobs and their lives and here you are. How am I supposed to move on? How am I to get up everyday and go about my life without the one person who has been with me everyday of his life for two years? What do I do with the hours to get through the day? I have another child to prepare for and daily I find myself asking how many more days until she is here, so I have something to hold onto. Something to maybe district my mind and occupy my time, but for now it’s just a question of how do I do it.
Brent and I met with some friends for breakfast a few weeks ago and we talked about how hard it is to get up and go on with life when you feel like you’re leaving everything behind. And the hardest part of it all is every morning you wake up and the first thought is of your child and how you have to go another day without him here. I admire those mother and fathers who have lived years without their children, just as our friends have. I will eventually be one of them, and I don’t know how they do it or how I will make it through the years, but they are living and the pain is still there, it’s something that doesn’t go away.
I’ve started reading some books, attending counseling and journaling all of which are ‘supposed’ to help the grieving parent. This is the first step to starting a ‘new normal’ they call it. See once a child passes your life is broken into two. The before and the after. It shouldn’t ever have to be this way, but unfortunately it is and we have to now find ways to live with it and be strong and keep pushing through the days.
Finding out how to live again after losing a child is one of the hardest steps of grief. I haven’t figured it all out yet. I came across a blog yesterday and it really hit me. There was one section in particular I want to share from it. It’s so true. When you lose a child you feel connected to others who have lost a child. Losing a child is the hardest thing one can experience and those of us grieving all feel connected. Brent and I have a few friends who have lost children and having someone to relate to, to know that they have had the same thoughts as you, have known the same pain as you, doesn’t make life any easier, but it makes you feel not alone.
“It’s a club I can never leave, but is filled with the most shining souls I’ve ever known.”
“This crappy club called child loss is a club I never wanted to join, and one I can never leave, yet is filled with some of the best people I’ve ever known. And yet we all wish we could jump ship– that we could have met another way– any other way but this. Alas, these shining souls are the most beautiful, compassionate, grounded, loving, movers, shakers and healers I have ever had the honor of knowing. They are life-changers, game-changers, relentless survivors and thrivers. Warrior moms and dads who redefine the word brave.
Every day loss parents move mountains in honor of their children gone too soon. They start movements, change laws, spearhead crusades of tireless activism. Why? In the hope that even just one parent could be spared from joining the club. If you’ve ever wondered who some of the greatest world changers are, hang out with a few bereaved parents and watch how they live, see what they do in a day, a week, a lifetime. Watch how they alchemize their grief into a force to be reckoned with, watch how they turn tragedy into transformation, loss into legacy.
Love is the most powerful force on earth, and the love between a bereaved parent and his/her child is a lifeforce to behold. Get to know a bereaved parent. You’ll be thankful you did.”
You can read the whole blog post here: https://abedformyheart.com/7-things-since-loss-of-child/
When I read that section of this post I felt like she took the words I have been looking for out of my mouth. “Watch how they alchemize their grief into a force to be reckoned with, watch how they turn tragedy into transformation, loss into legacy.” My goal as Grayson’s mom is continue his legacy for the rest of my life. To celebrate him and help other families. I have so many ideas in my head that I want to do in honor of him. I hope one day I will be able to put all my ideas to life so that we will forever be able to honor him.
And she couldn’t have spoke the words better,
“Get to know a bereaved parent. You’ll be thankful you did.”