I’ve been sad, real sad, for about a year now. Not just the sadness I’ve slowly been learning to live with since Drey died, but a different kind of sadness. It’s been another layer of emotional work that’s needed a attention but I chose not to give it the attention it required until these past few months.
I think it began in June of last year. Robbie and I had flown my Dad here for an extended Father’s Day weekend with us. His first visit back to Ohio in a few years. He had called me several times in the Spring telling me how much he missed me, how he wanted to see me and Robbie but he just didn’t have the money to get here. I was genuinely excited to see him so we arranged the visit. While he was here he spent time drinking with friends – not with us. He declined our invitation to come to Home Church even though Robbie was teaching. He even asked me to drive him to the north side of Columbus where his friends were. I guess paying for his flight and serving as his hotel and food source wasn’t enough – he needed me to be his taxi too. He flew back to his home in Florida on Father’s Day.
Then in August my son’s grandmother died. I knew she had been sick and it wasn’t a shock but it was still very sad. Drey loved her so much. And she spoiled him something rotten. What I didn’t realize until after the funeral was how hurt I was that Drey’s Dad let me find out about her death over Facebook rather than calling or sending a simple text. I haven’t heard from Fred since then. Christmas, Mother’s Day, nothing. I’ve come to realize I had been solely responsible for keeping our relationship alive after Drey had died. The scrapbook I made for him, the occasional checking in, the picture collage gift with the accompanying trophy from that special day – it was always me worried about him. It was always me trying to grieve with him. More to the point, it was me wanting to somehow still be someone special – the mother of his child – to him. Losing your child sucks. Losing your child to suicide fucking sucks. Grieving the relationship loss of the person who feels the loss to the same gut wrenching depth as you is the icing on the shitty grief cake.
In October my parents (Mom & Gene) moved to Indy. It’s only a 3-hour drive, I know. But it was a hard adjustment, too.
Then my Dad called a few days before Christmas from the hospital. He had tried to kill himself. Of all people I know better than to be angry with him or to believe he was being selfish. I get what it’s like to hurt at a level so deep that your thinking is literally constricted and you don’t see any way out of your pain. You may even believe the lie that your loved ones and friends would be better off without you. But still… I’ve struggled with being angry with him since then. “How could he do this to me?!” It’s been hard for me to think of anyone besides myself and how his attempt impacted me. “Doesn’t anyone understand I’m still so flippin fragile and you can’t do this kind of shit?”
I started back in counseling a few months ago. With help I’m slowly realizing how lonely grief is and the importance of acknowledging that. The family who watched Drey grow up are no longer part of my day to day life in the way they were in the first 5 years after he died. So I’m slowly replacing negative self-talk like “it’s been almost 6 years you shouldn’t be this sad. What’s wrong with you?” with more self-compassion. The loneliness of grief is another layer to incorporate into my new life.
As I sit here typing next to the open window I close my eyes and enjoy the cool breeze coming into our home. In spite of everything I still have so much to be grateful for. I’m still in the fight, God. Thank you for never giving up on me in spite of my selfish pity party that’s lasted a year. I love you Jesus.