It has been a little over 2.5 years since Josh has left us and I have been thinking a lot about two words: denial and disbelief.
Denial is one of the 5 stages of grief noted by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her landmark book, On Death and Dying, published in 1969. These stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) were originally applied to those facing death from a terminal illness. The audience was later broadened to include those who suffered a catastrophic loss.
Webster-Merriam's definition of denial is simple: refusal to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant. This is not me. Not when Josh's absence is evident every day and the last interaction with my beloved boy is now over 2.5 years old. The memories of a frozen seventeen year old are etched in my mind and branded on my heart. And as I look to the future, that number will only get bigger and bigger and perhaps more painful, not less.
Words that describe disbelief are amazement, astonishment and incredulity. This is me. I am still amazed that our son took his life. I shake my head in disbelief. I know it is true but my mind has difficulty comprehending the fact. This picture is by my computer.
Sometimes I stare at it wondering how the unthinkable happened to Josh, to us, to our family, to me. How could it have happened? How could it have gotten so bad in his mind? How could a kid with everything get to a point where nothing mattered except finding a permanent way to deal with his loss and pain? Maybe part of this disbelief is wrapped up in the constant, unanswerable question of why? But if I knew why, would it be easier to believe? I don't know.
This picture was taken in 2003, six years before "IT" happened. I look at our smiling faces, totally oblivious to the impending doom of which we are now survivors. It is hard to write these posts as I am forced to face my thoughts and feelings head on. I am still so very sad that he is gone. I still feel a mother's guilt which is now mixed with self-pity - a strange concoction.