Like with any trauma, the first few months after Georgie died were a living nightmare.We had no energy for anything, we argued a lot, we raged at the world and at God and clung desperately to the hope that one day the pain would not be suffocating and all encompassing, feeling terribly guilty at the same time for wanting to emerge from that cloud of memories, as that was the only place where our son was still “alive” to us.
Our first Christmas without Georgie, the Christmas of 2014 and the one we should have celebrated as a complete and perfectly balanced family of 4, was for me the closest I had come in my entire life to mental collapse. I could not see the sense of any of it. Not the sense in Christmas, as what is Christmas if not the ultimate opportunity to celebrate life, joy and enjoy your offspring and shower them with love and presents? Not the sense in life.
Out of despair, Alex bundled us all in the car and took us on a trip that proved to be life-changing. We realised that our pain subsides when counteracted with enjoyable distractions like traveling to new places and seeing new things.
Traveling became our mantra in the New Year. Traveling has been our escape and our rescue, in equal measure.
We have seen more of Ireland in the last six months than we had seen in the previous 7 years we had been married.
We have seen more of Greece in the past two months than most Greeks see in a lifetime.
Traveling allowed me the luxury of pondering, on ruminating, of revelations and changing perspectives.
Traveling does that to you, for unknown reasons.
It has allowed me the space and the time to realise and accept many truths that were bubbling under the surface.
And this is what I am and what I know now:
- although on the surface we may seem to have returned to “normality”, just like in the picture above, our lives run parallel to non-bereaved people’s lives. People do look into our lives and have the impression that they understand or try to sympathise. We, on the other hand, look into “normal” people’s lives wishfully, wanting we could return to the other edge of life, where death is only a concept and suffering a fear which hasn’t materialised.
- acceptance is the key to survival. I have come to accept God and people for what they are. I do not agree with everyone and I do not understand how God functions, thinks and can suffer all this pain without intervening, but I cannot change any of it.
- deep human connection is what we crave for now and we are grateful to each and every one of you who is still in our lives, after all these months. It takes guts to be able to watch suffering and not offer solutions. It takes courage to watch so much desolation and refrain from spiritualising, from trying to find answers or meaning to our loss. Thank you to you all who still mention our son to us, who still tear up or smile when his name comes up, who still hug and listen. You are the light that shines in the darkness for us.
- we carry on. Not because we are brave. Not because we have made it a mission to survive the tsunami of loss and pain. Not because we want to give meaning to the most meaningless death there can be on earth, that of a beloved son and of a tiny infant in the cruelest of ways. We carry on simply because we have come to realise that there is still so much beauty in this world that needs discovered and revealed.