Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Letter to Grief - Almost 4 years later

Time relentlessly marches me closer to the four-year death anniversary on March 18th and I am powerless to stop him.  The house is quiet; I am alone.  I understand Paloma when she says "that silence helps you go inward" (in The Elegance of a Hedgehog, a recently read favorite book).   I need this silence to try and understand how I feel.  To help, I wrote a letter to Grief in my journal - read this post to see how I picture her.

Dear Grief,
You came into my life suddenly, without warning almost four years ago. I had not known you before, having never lost someone close to me.  And not just someone, but my own child whom I nourished in my womb and bore into this world over 21 years ago; who now lies frozen in time as a 17-year old man-boy; who, for reasons still unknown to me, decided to leave this world: no, how I really feel is that he decided to leave me.  I know I shouldn't take it personally (that he was not thinking of me that fateful night but of his own pain and suffering and the best way to end it), but as his mother, I can't help but take it personally.

And wonder yet again what I did wrong, or perhaps better said, what I didn't do.  For I plead "guilty" to the charge: sin of omission.  I torture myself thinking I should've done this or that; I should've said this or that.  But of course, it is too late and nothing I think, say or do will bring him back.  Death is permanent.  Irreversible.  Irrevocable.

Which is why you are still here and will continue to be until the day that I am reunited with Josh.  I am curious about one thing: when the inevitable happens and my elderly parents pass away, will a different version of you come or will more of you pile onto the current you?

If I am to guess, I would say that the part of you associated with Josh's death will be distinct and separate, perhaps only added to - heaven forbid! - if something happens to one of my other three children.  If that were to occur, I think you would become so enormous - a monstrosity - that I would crumble and break under the sheer weight: I could not survive.

For now, I acknowledge your presence without fear, flight or fight.  I do not fear you as I've learned that you are a measure of my love: love much, grieve much.  I know I cannot flee you for you reside within, so wherever I go, there you will be.  And fighting you is useless as your strength far exceeds my own.

I guess the question most on my mind is this: "What next?  Where will you be taking me on the 5th year of our journey?"


carlalaura said...

thinking of you, Sue. will try to write more later. love carla xox

Amy336 said...

I want to say something but not sure it I will say it in the right way but I'm going to try. The magnitude of your guilt breaks my heart. I'm sure everyone says it wasn't your fault and there was nothing you could have done, etc., and that is true. But I think the guilt is a reality in your situation and the situation of every parent like you who has experienced the awful, devastating thing you've experienced. My brother died at age 15 in a car accident. My dad was driving. It was an accident, no drinking, no speeding, etc. For years my father was in therapy and was told, it was only an accident, etc., and that he has to find a way not to feel responsible and guilty. He said this went on for years without him feeling much better. Finally he told his therapist that she and others could go on for the rest of his life telling him it wasn't his fault and that he shouldn't feel guilty but he DID feel guilty, in fact, often crippled by it, and living with and dealing with the guilt he would always feel was something that he needed to do. It's been 30 years since that awful time, and everyone has moved on, we're all different people but we've made our way in the world. I think he considered that a breakthrough and he did go on to live a normal life, though there is a sadness that will never go away. You seem like just an incredible mother and woman and that shines through in all your blog entries. Best to you, Amy