All the Days of My Life

Why do we want to follow our loved one? We have those still here who love us, who we love, yet our deepest desire, beyond having them back, is to follow them. Each day is a battle to live and a question to ourselves as to why we still do. It is not our love for others that hold us here though eventually, that may become the reason. At first, I felt no love, no caring for anything. It was not just numbness. It was as though someone had thrown a switch and it was all gone. I would look at my family and know that I loved them, but the emptiness consumed everything. The loss became more important then what had not been lost. Every moment became filled with what once was, memories taking over for new ones that would never be made. Life was centered around death.

I know that I became afraid to love anyone. Did you? Fear of losing another. Some did lose more than one, more than two. If my son could be gone so quickly, in the blink of an eye really, then what about the others? The possibilities were mind boggling and the imagination filled to the brim of what could happen. The imagination becomes the enemy. So much can go wrong in this world. So much had already gone wrong. Easier to pull back and not leave ourselves open for more agony. The human mind does not work that way though. You can't just decide not to love and it be a reality. We can fool ourselves into believing that we have lost the ability to care. We can tell ourselves that it is the mind numbing loss that leaves no room in our hearts for anything but the one we've lost. How hard we try to protect ourselves from hurting even more than we already do. Is it possible to hurt more than this? If we don't allow ourselves to get close out of fear, then yes, I think we can hurt more than this.

It took months to get a little beyond this fear. Oh, I still have it, but I can't let it rule my life. If I don't let myself be near those I love, I could lose them anyway. If I wait until they are gone to acknowledge how much they mean to me, then the pain of opportunities lost will rest on my shoulders. I will look back and all I will see is how I denied them, how they paid for my pain. If I leave before them, do I want them to remember me as so changed that there was no room for them in my heart? No. I want them to be in no doubt that they were loved. I want to be remembered for more than my sorrow.

I don't know why we dwell on being with our loved one. Maybe it is because, in life, we were there for them. If they needed us, all they had to do was call. Now, there is no cell to where they are. We don't know where they are or if they need us. We are tortured from the not knowing. If we could know, without any doubt, that they were happy, they were doing good, would we still want to follow? Or would we be a little okay with waiting until our time comes? Our minds go over this same ground as though it were a hamster on a wheel, forever going around and around with the same questions without answers. Even those with deep faith can have the same thoughts. It is not a sin or wrong to think this way. It is not a loss of faith. It is human, only human.

It is not an easy nor quick thing to pull away from the sorrow. We never lose that. We learn to live with it. Not a happy thought, that it is something we have to learn to live with. I shuttered when I heard those words. Learning to live with grief. To me that mean't that this horror would be with me always, for all the days of my life. To me it mean't that I would be overwhelmed with this forever. I am not saying it won't be with us forever. One cannot love intensely and then walk away from it. I do believe that the deepest horror will subside into the sorrow. Yes, the loss will be there everyday. The tears will flow. Some days will be too much to take. We will hide away, we will be different. We will mourn those we love for a lifetime. We can also allow ourselves to live. Each day is another step toward living. Maybe we will make those steps and never reach the summit, but still we are walking. I will live without my son, but it is not worth it if I don't take that step to make something more of it then a life with only grief. I want more than anything to see my son. I also want to love my family.

The choice is ours alone. Not everyone can move sideways to this and not everyone can stay within it. As much as I love and miss him, I cannot follow Tim. As much as my life has changed, I have to learn to make more of it than it is now. Nothing is more painful than losing those we love, so building a new life, though painful in its own way, should be possible. I have to learn to stop thinking 'I can't do this.' to knowing that even in the pain, there is a chance for life. I will still look to the stars.

About the Author

 My son, Tim, passed on January 5th 2014 at the age of 34. He chose to end his life. So many things happened to bring him to that point. Believe it or not, I understand why. No matter how our child died, that is the keyword 'our child.' I wish you all gentle days and nights as you walk your path. Barbara, 'Forever Mom.'

I'm Grieving, Now What?