First the good news, Time is some kind of healer; for me at least that is. One thing I've learnt, above everything else, is that I can only speak for myself. My experience of grief is unique; as is everybody else's. But maybe there are some common themes; and just maybe sharing my thoughts will help somebody else. Who knows really. Sharing certainly helps me.
I get truly furious if people tell me how I feel; how to feel. I promise never to do this to you dear reader. If you too have lost a child; I send you the hugest, deepest, most loving hug I have. It's all I can give. But I give it with all of my heart.
It is true time has some effect on softening the edges of pain; transforming the razor sharp agony into a duller, but pretty constant, ache.
So three years ago my youngest daughter, a light of my life, died. It wasn't a surprise; she'd been ill for three years. Not that you'd know it. There were dark dark times; but great ones too. No she wasn't perfect, in fact very naughty at times, but she had this lovely light energy that allowed her to dance through life. She made me happy; made others happy; was loved hugely and missed even more.
I can feel her with me sometimes. The touch of her skin; her tufty hair (destroyed by chemotherapy), her beauty and her hands. I always remember her hands.
I am surrounded by people who adored her and miss her almost as much as I do. I say "almost"; as I'm of the mind that a Mother's love is the strongest of all. My children, and now my grandchildren, are the only people I'd lie under a bus for. Just nature; I guess. But there's very little chance of anybody forgetting my Chloe. She was one of those people it was great to be with - full of mischief and fun, with an ability to fill every second. I know that others are still in pain too; but I know I can't help too much with that as much as I want to.
Loosing a child is so utterly terrible, A tsunami of the soul; the emotional equivalent of going through a high speed head on collision; the kind of pain that stripped every single pleasure from life and made me not want to live any more.
But I survived and have learnt to live a kind of life around the pain. For a while I tried to pretend I'd moved on - just enjoyed the everyday life - but it wasn't true/it isn't true. I have survived; but I'm emotionally disabled. A layer of skin has been ripped away and what is left is very very different.
And here's the bad news/of maybe it's just the news from me. The worst for me is trying to forget, to pretend that life will be normal again. For the worst of all pains is in the pretending. And every now and then I try to escape again. On this anniversary I left the country, and with it some of the hurt. No escape I'm afraid. The darkness was there to great me; just where I'd left it. Only this time it hit me hard and fast - whispering in its cold menacing tones .. you can't run away. This is YOUR life, face it, embrace it, find it's centre. Only then will you move with the flow again...
I had the most beautiful baby girl; I loved her with every fibre of my being. She grew to adolescence and everything was just as it should be. But then she got ill and died. I lived. That's my story.
So next year, when her birthday and anniversary come round I will stay. Stay here, where I should be. Where my family is. Where I belong. I will sit with it and let it touch every single part of my body. I will cry and will never say "oh I'm fine". I will say "I'm not fine; I hurt like hell". I may join that bereavement group I've avoided for so long, sit in a church, a park, anywhere and mourn my daughter every day if that's what I need to do. Maybe I will never get better; I may go on to sit in the shadows of life forever knowing that there is no recovery from this.
But the good news, I think, is that all of this is ok and so much better than pretending. I'm taking back my life and MY pain. And somehow there is a comfort in that.
Love to you all wherever you may be. xxx