Who'll Stop the Rain?

A few years ago, before she passed, my mom talked about the little brother she lost when she was just a child. I had heard the story a few times over the years and thought I knew it well. It happened over 50 years ago and she still cried. It was not until Tim's passing that I realized I did not know her story at all. Yes, I listened to the words, I imagined it in my mind, but the true story was hidden until my feet were set on this path. The true story of how it rains in your heart even after a journey of a lifetime. She did not cry in profound grief, she cried in deep sorrow for the love lost, the memory of a little brother. Then, she smiled and the tears stopped. I know now that she still cried on the inside, the rain falling down. She did not talk of him often, only a  handful of times over the years when something prompted her thoughts. It did not mean she did not hurt for him, it mean't that she went on living, found a path that helped her move with her loss.

That is one of the hardest things to do, living. Each breath you take is a reminder of the one who will never breath again. Everything you do is a reminder, whether you did it with them or not, a reminder that they will never do these things. We become trapped within the sorrow. As the days and weeks pass from that moment, the numbness and disbelief wear away enough that we become frantic. We sabotage ourselves with the silent words we scream constantly inside our minds. We tell ourselves that we can't do this, we can't live with this, we can't go on. We become stuck, frozen within a hell of fire and ice. Our sorrow burns out of control, our blood becomes ice. We start the search for others like us, feeling that no one could possibly be like us. We still look for them, hoping they have the magic formula that will cast us out of this horror. Someone who will stop the rain.

For months I searched for someone, anyone who could tell me they got past the loss, the pain, the sorrow. But my heart sank lower as I read word after word. So many who do not have hope in their hearts. No joy in the raising sun. So many who say the pain never goes away. So many who stayed at that deepest of sorrow with no ease. We feel the despair soaking into our bones as everything we read and hear confirms that we cannot live in this world. For we cannot live with this horrendous pain that dogs us, awake and asleep. Our fear grows for there are others we love and we fear losing them too, fear the added pain, knowing now that there is no other pain that is so all-consuming as death. Some do lose others and it is heart-wrenching to hear. It also makes us that much more afraid. Fear causes us to withdraw further into ourselves with the false thought that if we don't love, we won't hurt.

I am only nine months into this. Nine months, so long, so short. I feel, sometimes, like a baby in the woods, lost and alone with no clear path to the meadows and sunlight. There are many moments that I want to lie down and just give up, grief is so exhausting. It sucks all the happiness that will ever be into a black hole and holds it hostage, giving out a dollop every now and then to show you what you have lost. You forget what happiness feels like, you forget the happiness you had with them because remembering it hurts, tells you what you no longer have. For a while, the good memories become bad. You come to realize that there is no one who'll stop the rain.

As I sit here and write this, yesterday was that nine month mark. The week leading up to it, as any dreaded event will be, was worse than the day itself. Yes, I cried off and on all day. I remembered every step that came to that last one. Even the football game that was on that day was there yesterday, at the same time with many of the same players. Sunday, January the 5th, my son was gone. Now, it was a Sunday again, another 5th, the first to line up the same in nine months. We came though it, battered and torn, but we came through it.

I have been thinking of my mom this morning and her loss. I will never know the person she might have been because we all know how death changes us. I only know the person she was. She went on to live a long life. Maybe not a great one, but not a bad one. I did not have the knowledge at that time to ask her how she survived. But we all travel different, feel different, learn to live different so her words would not have stopped this sorrow. I have to look at her actions instead. She did not wear her grief for all to see. Maybe because she came from a time when grief was expected to be hidden. She did learn to walk with it, to not let it be the driving force in everything she did. Not that she didn't have fears, death leaves that with us. I think it comes down to me. The rain will always be there, but it's up to me on how I carry it. All of that will take time and many pitfalls. There will be days when I tell myself that I can't do this. There will be days that all the air around me is nothing but sorrow and tears. A roller coaster of ups and downs and upside downs. We don't know what tomorrow will bring and it is a waste of emotion to anticipate it. My mom would have called it, 'borrowing trouble.' I get that now.

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?