Ten Thousand Miles

We feel as though we have walked ten thousand miles, alone and lonely, on a journey we never wanted to start. We have never felt so isolated; the world we once knew passed away with the one we love. Hurt, sorrow, grief are the only companions we have and we don't want nor trust them. Our only wish, only need is to have them back, now, this minute. Denial, tears, anger, every emotion known to man wars inside our bruised and shattered heart fighting for attention. We are surrounded by people and their words make no sense. Nothing makes sense. This nightmare cannot be happening. We look at the door, waiting for that certain one to come through, smile and hug us. They never come. They will never come again; that sorrow hangs on us like a wet cloak on a cold winters night. We are wrapped in a world known as grief. This is the first moments of what our life will be.

It has been a little over a year now and I honestly thought that, emotion wise, some of it would calm down. A year seems a long time to those who have not suffered this loss. To us, it was yesterday, this morning, a moment ago and many lifetimes. Time loses concept, meaning and it is offensive when someone thinks that we have grieved long enough. What is 'long enough.' Is it a month, 6 months, a year? What is long enough and who decides what length it should be? Is it boxed into miles, days or distance? Yes, some grief fades with time, but not all grief. Who decides, out of all the many levels and types of grief, what will stay and what will fade? Only you, in your personal alone life know this. Only you. No one else has the right nor the knowledge to tell you otherwise. If their grief has faded, rejoice for them. But let no one brow beat you into seeing your grief by their standards. Grief has no standards, it stands by itself, different for everyone.

Recently, a friend came to me. I think her intentions were good but you know what they say about good intentions? She wondered why my grief was still so raw. After all, it had been a year. This came at a time when only the tip of the iceberg of grief showed. I have learned to hide the true extent. She told me she had a friend that lost their child a few years ago and the friend was fine now. The friend picked up her life and moved on. My first instinct was to grab this woman by the shoulders and shake her. Yeah, emotions can get wild at the wrong times. I did not do that though. Instead, I told her to go to her friend, take her hand and ask her to talk about her child. I told her to listen with her heart as well as her ears and say nothing, just let her friend do the talking. I asked her to come back, after she had sat with her friend, and ask me that question again. It was almost a week before I heard from her. Her only words were, 'I'm so sorry.' Never assume that because it doesn't show, we are over it. We are just tired of trying to explain ourselves.

From the moment of loss, we have to learn a new life. At that moment we have already walked ten thousand miles, cried a million tears, aged a thousand years. We have changed so completely, we do not recognize ourselves and everyone becomes strangers. Now, not only have we lost our loved one, those around us start to bring pressure as well. They want us to be okay, need us to be okay. We are not okay. But in time, we hide what we really are. We have grown weary, tired of it all, but we have no choice but to carry it. We allow others to think we are fine if only to ease their minds. It is no wonder then that they think grief can be gotten over. Too many of us know the truth of that and feel sad that someday they may know the truth too. Grief is a never ending wheel, constantly turning and coming back to it's beginning.

I do not cry every second of every day now. The pain is always there and can become sharper or duller depending on what happens that day. I don't think disbelief will ever go away. I can be fine and have it suddenly hit home, all over again, that my son is gone, why he is gone. The billion broken pieces of  my heart break into a billion more. The ones who love me, that I love, help put some of the pieces back. A daunting task for them I am sure. Yet they hang in there and hold my hand. There are those who, though they have not traveled these ten thousand miles, love you enough to allow you to grieve in your own way, allow you to become who ever you will become. There will also be those who need you because you live in the fire of loss. Those who's hand you will take one day as they start their journey. I have had many, though family, friends and social media who are willing to sit in the fire with me for a little while. Oh how I love them, need them.

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?