In the Beginning

That night was the night I was born. Born into a new world that I did not like, did not want Everything that had gone on before became the dream and the loss of my son the new reality. Happy memories dimed, all tainted with the darkness of death, of loss. The brightness of colors, dulled. Music hurt my soul, my heart. Laughter was offensive. Others tears confirmed over and over again that it was real, Tim was gone, just gone, no forwarding address. It will be 5 months soon and I don’t struggle against that as I struggled in the beginning. I did not want time to pass, it took me further from his living face. The sound of his voice and laughter. Then I realized, Tim is not further away, he is within, he is the stars and moon, he lives in his son, in memories.

There were times, for a little while, that I raged. Why take a life and make what went before, irrelevant? At Tim’s memorial and many times before and after, his friends came to me, one by one. They told me how Tim always seemed to be there in their darkest hours, at a time when they needed someone so desperately. They told me how Tim pulled them back from their own abyss. I knew he did things like that, I just had not known how often. None of them knew that he faced his own demons alone, none of them knew. It was not their fault for not knowing. It was no ones fault. We, as humans, wear many masks, take on many roles. If we don’t want to be seen, we are pretty good at not being seen. We make bad choices, wrong decisions, missteps. Life has always been about learning, even in the normal world. Death makes us learn whether we want to or not. I learned that my sons life had purpose even if that purpose did not save him in the end. It touched others enough for them to save themselves. It does not make the loss any less, but I cling to it. We have purpose. Not something I believed in the beginning. Not something that mattered compared to his being gone.

I do what everyone who is here with me does, I count the days, weeks and months by when he left. At first, it was minutes and hours. Minutes and hours that dragged by, becoming so long that one day felt like a year. Nights, endless. Sleep came maybe for an hour or two, which wore down my resistance to fight the violent emotions that had taken over my life. Nothing made sense. People would talk to me and I would nod, but did not understand a word they were saying. Actually, I did not try to understand, I just didn’t care. I have heard that one can experience PTSD when they find their loved one dead, when someone close dies. I say, we all experience it when it comes to death, some stronger than others. All the sudden changes, loss, emotions, like a tornado in your blood, ripping everything it comes across. For a while, I had what is called “no filters”. That means that if I talked, I was bound to say anything. It would come out raw, straight forward without any sugar coating to save anyones feelings. It was not deliberate, but it could be horrifying. It caused hurt feelings, some family and friends drawing away because they did not understand what was going on and I could not explain it to them. When I did try to explain, they understood even less, some deciding it was an excuse to be rude. One day, I stopped trying to explain myself. They would either stay or go until the storm passed, but I left them up to them, there was enough to deal with without that too. I did not become angry with them because they were at a loss, but I did become frustrated with myself and my inability to get through to them. When I quit trying, it helped me. You just cannot explain to others unless they have been there and then, no explanation is necessary. They already know. You are relieved and sad at the same time. Relieved that they get it, sad for the reason they get it.

In the beginning, i was born, thrust, into a world so horrible, so shocking, I did not want to stay. Does a child feel that on the day they are born? At times, I felt like a child. I could not abide being alone in a room. Our babies cling to us at birth, they do not like to be alone. Strange to draw the lines of death and birth and see the similarities.

I decided to quit writing, my biggest passion. Tim was my fan, overjoyed when I handed him my first book. I decided to quit writing, started writing the night he died, have not stopped yet. Every day, I tell myself, I am not going to write today, then I read something another has said and the words fight to flow from my fingers. It is the writing that is my therapy. I love and miss him, just as you love and miss yours. I don’t know if I have a purpose, a reason for all of this. I have decided to not worry about it anymore. After all, what does worrying change?

In the beginning, I became nobody, directionless, without hope love or joy. In the beginning I became blind to everything but my sorrow. Each day now is a new beginning, I don’t know where it is going to go. I go without him, but he is with me. I cry for no reason, or for every reason. Thats okay, a small thing compared to the big picture.

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?