These items, like many other pictures around our house are reminders not only of our beloved Josh but of our loss. This blog is also a painful reminder. When I read previous posts or write a new one, I have to be ready. Prepared to feel the loss or the "abyss" as one mother , whose 21-year old son died after being hit by a car, puts it in the book, The Grieving Garden: Living With the Death of a Child by Suzanne Redfern and Susan Gilbert. Her description of the abyss: "the searing sense of the full realization of his death....breathtaking, staggering intensity of pain...shattering, unbelievable quality of knowing that my child is gone."
This is what she felt on a daily basis in the days, weeks and months after his death. Then, nine and a half years later, she writes:
I live the bulk of my life at a safe distance from the edge of the abyss. Those early months and years, I often felt that I was right on the edge. Living so near to that abyss left very little room in my life or heart for anything else. And I truly didn't think I would survive if I fell in. Now, while its always in my peripheral vision, my field of awareness, I'm usually not at the edge. But I can go there. Sometimes I am swept there unexpectedly. Other times, on anniversaries or simply on a quiet afternoon, I can choose to go there and feel this primal grief, that bottomless sorrow. For me, to hold his life forever, forever alive in me means that I must also hold his death forever alive in me. I hold it all: the gift of him, the miracle of his life and being, and the abyss. (249-250)
These words really spoke to me. Especially the words: primal grief and bottomless sorrow. This is accurate. This is true. It is what I feel when the loss of our son hits me. When the reality of his death slaps or smacks me in the face. There is no consolation, nothing that can be said or done to make me feel better.
Then the other reality sinks in....that life goes on. The living must continue to live. Josh is gone, but I am not. And so, I have my time of weeping while writing this post, and then onto other things. It is like living on an emotional roller coaster - quite draining. This is why I reserve writing blog posts for the weekend. It is too much emotion for the week as I work in a fairly high-stress job. So it is trying to manage. Cope. Deal. Figure out what I can handle and what I can't which is not easy. And while reading books is helpful, this grief journey is individual. It is unique for each person. So in many ways, one has to figure it out as they go. And with the help and support of family and friends, hopefully I can come through on the other end.