I cried a lot. I cried at inopportune moments. Sometimes I felt like I would never be able to stop crying. But of course I did. For awhile. I’m not sure why it was so hard. I mean, it’s all hard. But there was no particular event that ‘triggered’ it. I guess I just needed to. And I’m OK with that.
RedneckMommy writes a very entertaining blog about the adventures of her family in the sticks of Alberta, Canada. I found her blog when she was kind enough to leave a comment on mine, to assure me that it would get
better easier someday. Sort of. She lost her little boy, too. He was 4 years old, and boy was he a cutie, from the pictures I’ve seen. I usually check her current blog every day. But she also kept a blog about her grief after he died. She started it in February ’06 and wrote until August ’07. So far I’ve only been able to read the Feb’06 and Mar’06 entries. I have to take it in small chunks because it’s so heavy for me.
What I find really interesting is that whenever I read someone’s story of grief, especially after losing a child, is how much it seems the same as mine. We all grieve differently, but yet…in some ways, it’s so very, very familiar. I read something that is so intimate…that I never thought I could explain to anyone, and yet someone else has captured it exactly. I think “Yes, yes! That’s exactly how I feel!”. And I think “I could have written that post.” Except I couldn’t. Because I’m not that good. But reading a bit and writing a bit…I’m working through it.
RedneckMommy wrote on March 22, 2006 about explaining to her friend what it felt like to grieve for her boy. I wanted to share it, because it is really a good description. Now, I tend to be a little suspect of metaphors. They can get a little corny. And when she started with the dark room and the candle, I thought “uh oh, where’s this going?”. But it turned out to be spot on. At least it worked for me.
Alas, I now, finally, understand what it means to grieve. It is not something to take lightly. Not something you quickly move on from. It is real, and heavy, like a wet wool blanket tossed over your soul. My best friend asked me what it felt like, having to shoulder this burden, this loss. She was not being naive. She wanted to help, to understand. And the best way to describe this grief is to imagine you are alone in a dark room. In front of you is a candle. All you can see, all you can feel is the light from this candle. This is grief. For many days, weeks and months, all you can see is the light from this candle. Until one day, the candle is a little farther from your face. The light is not so bright. You can still see the candle, but you can also see other things in this room. The candle is always present. And on good days, the candle is an arms length away. But some mornings, some moments, the candle comes right up to your face, blinding you with it’s light, leaving you unable to see or feel any other thing. Except the damn candle. That is grief. It is always here, always present. And on good days you can see around the grief, but you never know when the grief is gonna get you. But it always sneaks back in. And you can’t blow out the candle. Ever.
What I really like about it is that it gives me hope. Because I’m still mostly in the candle right up in my face stage right now. But this helps me to believe that someday I will be able to see the other things in the room. Sometimes I can, already. But it also reassures me that it will never go away. Because honestly? I don’t want to let go. I feel a little bit like letting go of my grief is akin to letting go of my babies. But if I know that the candle will always be there, and I can’t ever blow it out…well, maybe I’ll feel a little less scared of letting that candle move back a little.