In my battle with daily grief, I share my first moments with my dead son.
The Time to Let it Go
Walking by the stares that tried not to look, they kept looking…
but I was certain not to lift my eyes.
One step in front of the other,
I followed until the curtain was parted
and I stepped into the space that became enclosed as the curtain was let go.
A soft sway of the fabric gently moved, until the stillness was bigger.
Machines stood around me,
Entangled wires left to hang.
No beeps or whirrs or steady drones to hear.
Just silence echoed, bouncing in the space like a torpedo bomb looking for its target.
My sons body lay there, his long legs and muscled shoulders filled the table and stretched the sheet right up to his chin.
Was this really him?
I stared at his sleeping body as I had done so many times before, through all the years of nurture and care…
What do I do
but put my hand on his chest – no rise, no fall – and I feel the stillness and the silence as it stopped right here.
A tear trickles down my cheek, then another, and another,
and my voice, like a misty vapor, can only say:
“God, have mercy on my son’s soul.”
For the very last time I kiss his forehead and catch the scent of my son’s body
to savor as a memory forever…
The time to let it go,
when I meet him again
on the other side.
This memory is ingrained in my mind and will never leave; the images, the smells, and the visceral pain rushes like raging waters breaking the dam, at any unexpected moment, without warning.
I cannot erase it.
I cannot ignore it.
It doesn’t go away.
I have been writing about the ongoing battles that my son, who died of an overdose, dealt with; I have shared some of the battles & victories that other friends in Recovery face; but today I share a little of the battle I face every single day, in grief.
It is common practice to encourage people to talk about their trauma’s in order to process and work through them. Experiencing the unexpected death of a child is a gigantic trauma; the battle with daily grief is real and not easily understood by onlookers and supporters, even though some try so hard.
How can you help?
Here are 5 ways:
- Listen; we need to talk about the raw, unedited stuff sometimes
- Be still with us and maybe hug us; we are lonely in the crowded rooms, and in pain.
- Do not try to reason our suffering away with staid, trite phrases; we don’t want to hear it, and even if we did, our minds are so overwhelmed we don’t hear what you are saying anyway; I love you, is more than sufficient.
- Be patient with us; it is scary to re-involve ourselves with life and activities that once were routine for us.
- Pray for us; grief is a process and it weighs us down, sometimes just getting out of bed is the biggest accomplishment for the day; we need God’s healing.
Please share with those who may need to hear my story of grief, to know they are not alone, or share with someone who can hear and then learn how they might help someone else in similar grief as me.