Grief is not a process. There isn’t an end. It evolves. It’s shape, size, weight and density continually change. I don’t know if it’s like that for every death or for every person. My grandma died several years ago. We were close. My best childhood friend’s Mom was killed several years ago. We weren’t close but it was hard seeing my friend hurt so deeply. But I was quite clueless as to the depths of true pain until Drey died.
It’s still hard to type that… “Drey died.” Will I ever get used to saying that? Will it ever truly sink in?
How has my grief changed over the past 18 months?
In the beginning I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep (without sleeping pills), I cried every day, I prayed non-stop about everything. Everything. I read books about suicide, grief, and heaven. I couldn’t drive faster than 55 (I drove 100 mph trying to get to Drey after I got the call that Wednesday morning. So after that driving fast sent me immediately back to those long, desperate minutes of driving to my son in hopes he was still alive). I was damn angry at a handful of people that weren’t supporting me “the right way.” I couldn’t answer the phone. I shook so badly that I couldn’t shave my legs. I had a non-stop headache for 5 months that Excedrin couldn’t touch. I didn’t care about anyone’s grief or pain except mine and Drey’s Dads. I couldn’t put up a Christmas tree. Every “first” resulted in my heart racing, shallow, fast breathing and rubbing my leg non-stop (weird right?). The first dentist appt, the first time I heard a certain song, the first time driving past the high school. Every first. I thought I was going to die. It was the heaviest, darkest pain I had ever felt.
But somehow I’ve lived just over 18 months without Drey. Wow. “Without Drey.” That’s hard to type too.
I’ve gained back 10 of the 22 pounds lost. I sleep now – not like I did before Drey died but it’s definitely better than the first several months. I can drive 75 mph without melting down. My headaches are less frequent. I don’t depend on God for every single step and breath 😦 I read books about suicide, grief, heaven and recently squeezed in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. I still get angry with people sometimes… But I’ve learned to forbear more. I cry off and on. I ache but it’s more tolerable… Sometimes it’s more of a flat, blah, numbness that dominates – not the heavy, dark pain. I talk about Drey often. Sometimes I answer the phone. The Ladies Bic is back in use. I genuinely care how other people are coping. I still didn’t put up a Christmas tree… Maybe 2014? We’ll see.
So the grief remains – it’s shape, size, weight and density has just evolved. Am I “grieving right?” Is my timetable in line with what it “should” be? I had to let go of trying to answer those questions. I had to let go of others expectations of my grief. Most importantly I’m learning to let go of my own expectations of my grief. “Surely 6 months from now I should be able to…” type of thinking has set me up for disappointment in myself again and again. God help me to let that shit go!
Matthew 5:4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
You are right…it evolves, and it regresses and advances,,,,ebbs and flows….just when we think we are in the “clear’…there is that “one thing”…that song, that place, that memory. A mother cannot “get over it”…but we can get through whatever today brings because of it. There can be nothing worse than losing a child…we have already been through the worst anyone could go through.
In two weeks it will be 5 years since Brandon left us and I never thought I would survive this long. I keep going because I know that death has been defeated and that this moment in time will one day be over for me…for you….it can’t come quickly enough.
I told you about the book Beyond Tears by Ellen Mitchell didn’t I? I read it a few weeks ago and I highly recommend it. I wanted to make sure I remembered to tell you to read it. I think to do things but then forget. I make notes to myself then loose the notes. So I might have told you about the book. I forget. But u couldn’t put it down.
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Best Regards, Ellen Schoonover Personalized Assistance Area Consultant International Professional Relations, Inc. (IPR) Cell: 614-208-3746 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey Denise- I think you are so brave and generous to share so openly and honestly about your grief and loss of your son. I am certain that by doing this you are helping more people than you could know. I think of you and pray for you often.
Thanks Lisa! So good to hear from you 🙂