May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Friday, September 30, 2011

Grief is Not a Journey

Eight years after Wyatt's death I am not "over it" and there has been no closure. He died, then Eli died and they left me to survive without them. My grief is not a journey. There is no far off port of resolution and peace. There will never be a day when I do not grieve their losses somewhere in my heart.

So many grieving parents struggle with this. Family and friends perceive and often expect that someday the bereaved will just "snap out of it" but that doesn't happen. How I grieve eight years after Wyatt's death is different from how I grieve nearly seven months after Eli's death. The tears are now controlled and often only shed in complete privacy. The wounds which were so raw and painful in the immediate aftermath of their deaths are now more protected. It takes more to make them ache so painfully. I will never be "that person", the one that I was before and I've accepted that. I actually prefer "this person", the bereaved one. Yet, if you asked me to describe myself I would hesitate to use that word. The grief I carry for my sons is only part of who I am, it does not define me.

Grief is not a journey, it is not a ten step process, it is not a way of life. Grief is perhaps more like an uninvited companion. Grief makes itself known by the sight of an empty crib, the unnatural silence of a household, the empty space in a family photo. Grief will be at my side until the day that I join my sons but even then grief's journey will not end. Grief will then walk alongside those who have loved me and are left to survive.

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