How can it be ten months and four days since my son died?
This is what grief has taught me in these past ten months:
1. Pain never leaves your heart but it takes other forms as time goes by
The pain is not of the same intensity as it used to be in the first few days and weeks after Georgie died. I do not feel electric-like shocks when I pass by baby clothing aisles, when I hear the name of George, when I see someone pregnant.
I have started to recover my memory. Not entirely, I don’t think it will ever be as before but I can now remember conversations and people’s names and dates.
I have started to function almost normally again. I work, I look after the house, I blog.
I still write when I am in pain.
I do eat too much when I am in pain.
I rage at nothing and everything when I am in pain.
I have realised that I have started to pull away when I am in pain. It is easier to preserve energy than waste it on people who cannot understand pain.
2. Loss has become my biggest motivator
The loss of my son and the overwhelming desire to make his existence count have become the two main reasons for anything I do.
Anything gets filtered through the loss sieve.
I would do anything that I possibly can, anything that is in my power to raise awareness about childhood cancer and children hospice care.
I had two interviews this week and will be attending two other events in the coming days, all related to Children’s Hospice Week. All emotional. All pain triggers.
But I do it all not because I am brave but because my life is now driven by the desire to serve and make life bearable for very ill children and parents like us.
3. Clarity is the name of the game
In one of the interviews I had this week, I was asked how loss has changed me.
In spite of the extreme confusion in the first few months caused by the severe trauma of losing a child to cancer, in the most horrid of ways, my life is now clear in its intentionality.
The things deemed important by my post-trauma self have become very important: integrity, compassion, love and dedication.
The things deemed unimportant do not, not even fleetingly, occupy my mind any more: gossip, small life dramas, meanness, envy and stupidity. There is no room in my life for them anymore. I refuse to make room in my life for them now.
4. Compassion radar
My soul has developed a sensor for pain and I find myself attracted, time and again, towards people who are in need of comfort.
I now know what to say.
And I have the courage to say it:
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“Loss never wears off your soul, just like love never does either.“
“Just find the strength for today.”
“Give us a hug.”
“Wish this was not reality for any of us.”
This is what we have been created for. And this is how I want to live my life.
5. Pain as a form of worship
I have let the floodgates open.
My emotion gates wide open.
Never hiding anything.
Not from people.
Not from God.
And these last weeks, I have been reading time and again, from various sources, written by different authors, the same revolutionary(for my grief) idea.
That raw, unfiltered expression of emotion can and is most likely perceived by God as a form of worship.
It does make sense.
If He is the One who made all these emotions, if He knows how much it hurts to lose a son, what good would it make to hide behind platitudes like: “His thoughts are not my thoughts” or “I find comfort in the thought that my son is in heaven.“
I do not. And I will not pretend to.
It hurts. Like hell.
It makes me so sad, the idea of living a whole life here without the presence of my beautiful son. So sad, that some days, I feel so very tempted to lie down and never get up again.
He knows it. He knows it all.
I will not hide it.
I will be honest and raw and sore in front of Him.
That’s what you do with someone you trust.
6. There will always be a hole in our hearts
I have learned to live with pain.
The yearning for my son never leaves my heart, nor my mind.
I have learned to do life with this big hole in my heart.
This gap that nothing will ever fill.
The only comfort I find is knowing that there are so many other crushed hearts in this world.
The only soothing balm is the one of the camaraderie of pain for now.
The reality of two blue eyes and a sweet, sweet little soul who flew away too soon…
This is my reality now.