"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear"
Grief is consuming.
holds the rule book, and if you care to read it you will see there are
no breaking the rules of grief. The rules you have known all of your
life cease to apply. There are new rules.
1. You will live by these
rules the remainder of your life. Just when you think you will be able
to break these rules, grief will show you the truth.
2. Grief will
be the only thing you feel for a while. Hunger is gone, being tired is
gone, wanting to be awake is finished. Any feeling you think you have is
only allowed as it relates to grief.
3. Grief will rule your
thoughts for quite some time. You may try to think of other "normal"
things, but grief will rein. Pick up a book to read, all of the sudden
the pages are blank. If someone wants to hold a conversation...the grief
is there demanding it's proper attention.
4. Grief will rule your
actions. Just try to go to the store...it's not "normal" anymore. There
will be some mother decidedly rude to her small child, now instead of
being disgusted with her you feel an overwhelming nausea rise up and it
can't always be held back. Don't even let someone ask how many children
you have, there's no responding to that one for a while. Or the polite,
"have a nice day" is met with immediate thoughts of "NICE? There's
nothing nice about losing a child. Burying a child, or actually never
even being able to see my child before they were gone!" You may even try
to nod and hoping the tears won't spill over behind the sunglasses
before you can leave. Sometimes you make it through the store, sometimes
the list is forsaken for another time.
5. Grief changes your life. When in doubt, give it a few days and you will realize it still rules.
has been years, people who meet me never know I've lost a child. It's
not something I hide, my children do not hide it. It is just not always
as close to the surface as before. As we were sitting around having a
"normal" day with some friends..one mom reaches over and kisses the palm of her child's hand.
Her child is the same age Boaz would be. Tears spill out before I can
turn away. Grief fresh and anew...I hold back sobs as I fight
thinking...WHEN will this be easier. And the answer is whispered to me
again..."I am grief, I have changed all of the rules. Go back and read
It was a few days since Boaz had passed away,
maybe it was a few weeks...it was all the same to me. I was still having
a hard time breathing. I loved to read, it's relaxing, but now I cannot even see words
on the page, it is all white. I know the words are there, but my eyes
can not see them. My ears...they don't hear normal sounds, things are
fuzzy... You are talking but I'm not hearing, you think I'm not
listening on purpose. You think, she won't pay attention, she doesn't
want to do anything but think about what happened to her, like no one
else has had a loss before her. She's going to drown in her grief, and
she wants to. Believe me, grief seems much like drowning in an
emotional sense. The feeling of suffocating, there's no air, I can't see
Or maybe that's not it. Now I can see so clearly. I can
see what is so important. I can see that most of what people talk about
is so trivial compared with what is really important. My son died, I'm
not concerned about trivial things... Like where should we go out to eat
or did I hurt your fragile feelings. My son died, I don't care if your
dog ran away. I may seem rude or indifferent, but I have learned the
rules have all changed. Nothing matters that might have mattered
before, life has been brought sharply into focus.
It amazed me how
many people (who had never lost a child) knew how I should be acting,
how much or little I should cry, or sleep, and when I should be doing
either. And the most surprising people understood enough to know they
had no idea, they accepted what I felt was normal, as we're my actions.
had "close" friends quit contacting me. Maybe they lacked the words,
maybe they grew tired of my missing. Maybe they didn't understand the
new rule book.
In the beginning I though I was alone in these
thoughts. I didn't know the new rule book was for every parent who lost.
Even other people who have experienced a different loss may feel some
of these things to an extent. Someone said something that helped me in the
beginning. I was having a hard time with being "fine" one moment
(understand this is a new fine, don't forget the new rule book) and the
grief overtaking me within the next few moments. She (had lost her
mother) said the grief comes in like waves. As I thought back to that I
remember as a small child going to the beach and wading out until the
ocean was up to my chest. As the waves would roll in we would "jump"
them sometimes diving into them. Inevitably we would get out a little
further and the waves would roll in too quickly. We would barely have
time to get a breath before the next wave came crashing across pushing
us under and leaving is gasping for air. We would get a little closer to
land where we could touch better thinking it would be easier, only to
see the waves growing larger and crashing over our heads. Eventually we learned
to roll with the waves, accept them as they came, but it didn't change
the waves...and we still gasped for air. This is grief...coming in like
the sea waves roll. Sometimes all seems calm and breathing is
easier...you think you've got a handle on things. Then life
whispers.."the rule book" as the wave comes crashing in.
10 months ago