Second Year Grief

Many times, when we talk or write from a place of deep emotion, we have a hard time finding the words to express what we want to say. Recently, I wrote that the second year, to me, was worse than the first. This is true and not true; I hope I can find the words to explain what I mean. The way I wrote it came out sounding like that is what we have to look forward to, the years getting harder and harder. I can only write what is happening to me at any given time; it does not reflect what anyone else will go through. As we all know, grief is tailor made for each person with no two experiencing it the same. We will have similar and instances of alike, but never the same. I cannot tell you how yours will proceed, if you will heal a little, a lot, or at all. We each have to choose for ourselves when we reach that point in our sorrow. I have said before, I am not an expert in grief; that holds true today, I am not. But, I am an expert in my grief as you are in yours. I can only hope to show you that you are not crazy, over the deep end or losing your mind. I can only hope you know that no matter how bizarre your actions may seem, they are normal in the world we now occupy.

When we first enter this new life, everything is exaggerated; heightened. Every moment of every day is filled with our grief and sorrow. Challenges present themselves immediately; continue to do so as the days and months pass. We get so use to having these waves of emotion crashing over us they become part of our normal. As time passes, the depth of our feelings may change a little, yet we don't notice. We don't notice the waves crashing on the shores of our hearts has eased a tiny little bit. It is such a minor change it does not come to light. Time passes and we are slowly, painfully learning to live with this. We are not getting over it, we are coping in our own way. Grief is now a part of who we are. The big change came instantly at the time of loss, the little changes happen over long periods of time. So one we know, the other is hidden. The day comes, maybe a year later, maybe sometime in-between or even later than that, but it comes and we fall. We fall so hard that we are shocked and it seems that it is almost worse than the day they died. We feel we have not traveled even an inch from that horrible day; we despair.

That is what happened to me. A year, two months and eleven days after Tim died, I fell. I fell for an entire day, not minutes or hours but the entire day. I was suddenly back at ground zero with no where to go but down and I allowed myself to go there into the deepest darkest cave imaginable. I stayed there and let defeat have its way. It was the end of the line, all was lost, anger rose that I found myself there. Every emotion possible came shooting up and covered rational thinking. I cried, I raged, I decided that this was it, I couldn't go on like this. The mind races like a rat in a cage, trying to find the way out. The few emotions not present are reason, common sense, strength, bravery. They have been swallowed up by the 'I can't do this' emotion. I can't do this played over and over in my head and would not shut up. I haven't felt this way in a while and here it was, again. No progress, no stepping aside. It was also then that I realized that at some point during these long months, I started to hope again. I don't know what that hope was, just that suddenly it was gone. Maybe it was a hope that I was learning to live with the loss of my son. No hope is a terrible thing.

This is why I felt the second year was becoming worse then the first. It wasn't. It is the same pain but I got use to it and didn't know when it eased a little. When it came back for a little while, I thought it was worse than before. By thinking like that, I fell into the pit and almost did not come back out. What was the use if I was going to feel this way? We each have to find our own reason for not staying in that dark hole. I did not stay. I am not in that place everyday but know now that it can raise it's ugly head. I think with the realization that trap is there, I am conscious of it now. Maybe the fall won't be so far when it comes again. It's okay to fall, it's just not okay to stay. Of course we will carry loss with us always. How can we not? A piece of our heart is no longer where it should be. We feel that emptiness daily. One step at a time, 'Forever Mom.' 

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?