I have been waking up again at night, for the past week. Every SINGLE night!
It is the sort of full wakefulness that gets me up at 3 a.m. and keeps my head busy for hours.
It got me so desperate for head peace that I had to ask work for a redistribution of my working hours, so that I can have two days a week to rest and think and decide what the next stage of my life is supposed to be.
Decision is pending and my sanity does seem to be pending on the decision, to a degree.
It does feel like my grief has reached a new stage. Our wonderful social workers, from the Royal and the Hospice, both had warned me that grief changes and stages like this are completely natural. Ha, the natural of the completely unnatural process of grieving for your lost child…
Shortly after I lost Georgie, I felt this immense need to talk.
To talk about him. To talk to other bereaved parents. To talk against the taboo of grief and pain and apathy. To talk to other people about my woes and sorrows.
But in time, I have started to realise that:
- we are not the only ones who are going through the process of grieving, that there are thousands of parents out there who are going through the same.
- pain does not go away if I talk about it. In fact, it does make it worse and there are only a few people I can talk to about my deepest sorrows, as many simply do not understand and inviting them into my grief is equal to inviting a passer by to dress up a complex gangrenous wound. It is irresponsible and dangerous and very, very painful.
- that as much as I would have liked to believe it, Georgie is not unique in the fact that he died of cancer at such an early age. In the last year, I have heard of NUMEROUS cases of babies and very young children who have had to go through the same gruesome diagnosis and treatment process. Some of them were “lucky” and are still here. Some are now “heroes” and”angels” and gone.
- that people, as crazy as it does seems, would use your grief to their advantage. That there are unscrupulous people out there who in the name of religion or personal comfort or shared experiences would use your pain (and the subsequent desire to make a difference in this world) to take as much as they can out of you, either financially or emotionally.
- that, as much as I would love to use the painful experience of losing a child to help others who are walking the same very painful and lonesome path, at times, I can barely get my own self motivated to carry on with life, let alone carry others on my back.
- that God, as I knew of, does not exist anymore for me and I need to reconfigure my whole life philosophy that makes sense of a God who does not intervene to stop the pain of so many suffering babes.
- that I will never, on my own, change the world.
Yes, I would love to see the children I work with do well in life and I give 110% every time I am with them but the reality is…some of them won’t.
Yes, I would love to change the perception the church has of grief and make EVERY pastor in the land understand that follow-up after a loss is much more important to the bereaved than the funeral service. But the truth is…I can’t.
Yes, I would love to see the world change for the better. I would love to see all these beautiful Syrian families who have lost everything be treated humanely, allowed to make a new start somewhere and see them all integrated and happy and well. But the truth is…some are still dying as I type this, either at the hands of their own government or drowning at sea, in their desperate attempt to get to safety. And I can’t do one single damn thing about it.
So what are my options, with this new knowledge and wisdom gained at the price of sleepless nights and dead dreams?
I simply don’t know and I need time to find the way forward.
I need time to stop and ponder on this new stage of grief and learn new ways to cope with this new sort of pain.
The pain of realisation that pain and death are all a déjà vu to God and still not hate the guts of Him.
The pain of realisation that not even the death of my child will change people, mentalities or the world for the better as people will always choose their own comfort over the pain of change.
The pain of realisation that no matter how much I give, and I have come so many times close to spending myself completely, emotionally and mentally, for the sake of others, there will still be such a vast need for more, much more.
The pain of realisation that, at present, I am in desperate need to look after myself first, no matter how much I hate to admit it.