The grieving process is a powerful one. It's like a volatile stock market; highs and lows, ups and downs. Picture a heavily traded commodity; can you see the graphic of a high peak and a plummet to a low valley?
I feel like that. Sometimes I walk an even line, sometimes I'm way up and other times I need to be given a hand up from the floor. I know this is all a part of grieving and coming to terms with the tragic loss of my son.
Grief is a pretty broad spectrum though. It encompasses lots of emotions. I thought I'd touch on feeling pain.
My pain has lots of sides, including physical, mental and emotional. When Chris first passed I literally had a physical heart ache. My chest felt bruised to the touch although there wasn't a mark on me. It wasn't heart palpitations, it was sheer, true pain as if someone used my chest as a punching bag. I would try to rub it gently to soothe the soreness but I could barely touch it. I didn't realize until later what I was suffering from was, and still is, a broken heart. The anguish hurt me physically. It took weeks to subside. It's still really tender but thankfully not so bad that I have to lie down like I used to. It was terrible.
Pain is challenging, especially when it's unexpected. It's like a brick wall that all of a sudden appears out of nowhere. One minute things are fine, the next - this wall hits head on like a sledgehammer and everything starts hurting. Mind, body, spirit; shattered. My pain slowed me right down. I don't even think I was crawling after being given the news of Chris' passing. Time stopped but the pain roared in like that thick brick wall.
I didn't know how badly I hurt, I think going into shock helped ease my mind a bit because I couldn't even articulate how I felt. I’ve never experienced it before. Everything seemed to move slowly. I know for certain my brain started comprehending that way. I struggled to understand what everyone was saying. My normal sharpness was gone. I didn't have a good sense of what was being said or what was going on.
I hurt so profusely on the inside it caused me to stop and acknowledge it. I had to face my fear I guess. I've never been burdened with excruciating pain before. It demanded I take notice and think about it. Realizing I was in the midst of a trauma was one thing but what to do about it and how to handle it was something else. I thought I'd jump right out of my skin it hurt so badly. Third degree burns would have been more welcomed. At least I could see them and know I needed treatment. The pain in my head and my heart were of a different nature, not anything some ointment would heal.
By paying attention and accepting I was in the midst of the most gut wrenching pain a parent can feel I think I helped myself along. I know I took a breath and told myself to just let the feelings wash over me. It wasn't like I had any control over them; they had invaded me like an unexpected flood. There was nothing I could do but acknowledge they were upon me and I was helpless at that moment.
I did learn though that when I hurt I tend to pray a little louder. My faith in God becomes more apparent and I seek him out to get me over the hurdles. God is able to refocus my mind and calm me down. I let him know when I can't carry the hurt and he hears me because I feel it. He's got my back. He eases my worries and makes me feel better and stronger.
Many of you have asked me how I do it. How I go on after losing my son. Some say they wouldn't be able to. My response is; how do I not go on? I'm still here. God hasn't asked for me yet. He asked for Christopher. I really don't want to go on without Chris. I prefer God leave him here longer. I miss my son. But how do I do it? I must. It's not a choice. I'm here and I will move on with each day the same as you will. I have to do it as best I can and as happily as I can because God and Christopher want me to. Because I have things to do still and I have Jeremy to raise. I didn't have a choice in Christopher leaving but I do have a choice in how I opt to continue living.
I'm still up and down like that stock market graphic but my dips and spikes are not as drastic. I pray three more months from now they'll be even less frenzied and I’ll be even more stable in my understanding of what is going on and where I'm headed. I hope you too have a grasp on the challenges in your life and that you're aware of your feelings - be it pain or anger or frustration. Let it have its moment in your body but be cognizant it's not going to win out. Be strong and steadfast in knowing you can get thru it. You have no choice. You need to continue living too.
Thank you for reading.