Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Go Directly to Jail, Do not pass GO!
I thought grief was giving me a free pass…like “Do not pass go, go directly to jail.” Like “I will visit you during the day but give you a break at night.” I thought grief maybe had an ounce of compassion, like “At least let this poor woman sleep at night. We make her fight us enough during the day.” Last night, I learned that is not the case and grief should not be given the benefit of the doubt. I speak of grief like it is a horrible villain or lice that your kids come home with from school. It just won’t go away, it’s hard to see with the human eye and to fight it is near impossible, disgusting, and something no one wants to deal with or take on. Like lice, grief has somewhat of a social stigma too. Only THOSE people get lice. Right? (For the record, I did have lice in second grade, although I will claim that my sister had it first, I did have it. Nasty.) Who knows how to appropriately deal with someone who is grieving or if you really got lice off of all soft surfaces in your house? How do I even know how to deal with myself sometimes?
I woke up to dogs barking and couldn’t go back to sleep last night. Of course, this was at 2:45 am and it annoyed me to no end. I started thinking about friend’s blogs I had looked at before heading to bed. Many of my friends have kids that are Jack’s age and their children continue to grow older, develop, acquire new skills and are not doing the same things that I equate with Jack. Some of the kids are now older than Jack was. The pictures I saw of our friends and their families were rightfully filled with joy, opening presents and celebrating the holidays. I would want it no different for them, although, it was bittersweet for me to see. Three months have gone by and children have advanced past the stage Jack was and that I know. No longer is Jack just like the kids I would associate with him. That started the tears and made it seem so real that he was gone. I really had this palpable missing of him. Throughout my crying bout it didn’t seem real that he wasn’t down the hall…I tried so hard to believe that if I went to his room, I would open the door and clunk into him as would happen the last month of his life. He would get out of bed and fall asleep on his side of the door. I would check on him and carry him into bed. I miss how fun he was, I miss his energy and his curiosity. I miss reading “Goodnight Moon” to him and him putting his index finger to his lips to whisper “hush” with the old lady. I miss the joy he brought into my life and how he was always happy.
I have had enough respite since “that day” of only taking care of one child. At first it was like “Wow, this is so easy again.” I don’t want easy and I never wanted easy. I want hard back…I want a crazy toddler (JACK!) that is all over the place, laughing and wrestling with his Dad. I want Jack to crawl in and out of the dog door and drink more milk than anyone, play playdough with me after coming home from daycare and grab diapers for me when it is time to change Kate’s diaper.
It’s hard at vulnerable times like this to avoid the toxic question…Why? I had to make more of an effort to not ask that last night and continue down the path I chose. When it happened and still now, I see it as there being two paths…
1. Complete devastation, anger, and asking why. The not-brushing-my-teeth and getting out of bed, the anger taking over me and being bitter.
2. I can’t change this so I accept it and I will celebrate him. Even though at times, I will acknowledge that this really stinks.
I have embraced path number two (not easily) but have learned through these months of grieving that even that path is not void of boulders, humps, landmines and rocky spaces. Thank goodness for a husband that hugs me, spoons me and rocks with me in the middle of the night as he hears a sound coming from me that only he and I truly understand and make. The noise…a guttural helpless cry that sounds so pathetic…It is amazing that even at those times he loves me more than the moment before and continues to do so.