Even though I started blogging soon after losing Austin, there were things I still didn’t share. Some thoughts about my grief were just too hard, too raw, too real. But I still wrote them down in a private journal.
This is the first safe place I’ve felt it possible to share the pieces of me that once were.
Grief. The first year.
3 months after: Pain inside and out
I never knew how much grief hurt inside and out, until I lost a child. Not only does your heart break, but so does your body. There isn’t a moment that goes by that something on me doesn’t hurt now. In the early days of the grief, I was mostly numb but I guess my body had to have some way to express its pain. I contracted shingles during that first week and suffered from them for months after.
Looking back it seems as soon as one ailment heals, another begins. Throughout the process, my body has ached. In the evening, it feels like I have the flu. I am flushed, achy, tired and my joints ache as if I’ve worked in manual labor all day.
I am tired all the time, even if I get sleep. Although, I don’t think I actually ever get a full night. The moment my head hits the pillow, I fall asleep, nearly ever night; however, I wake up often. Sometimes I go in and out of sleep throughout the night. Sometimes I lie awake for hours. Maybe it is the body’s way of distracting the mind from what it doesn’t want to know???
5 months: No tears
I don’t understand how sometimes I tear up at the slightest thing, sometimes I bawl and scream and then other times – nothing. I beg for tears, to feel the release, and they won’t come. How can I not cry?!! I don’t know how I shouldn’t be in tears every moment.
At the funeral, I prayed for peace so that Tim and I wouldn’t break down and it came. But I think it stayed. I’m calm more than not most of the time. And I hate it. I feel guilty when I’m not crying. It doesn’t change how I feel. I am sad, depressed, angry – all of the time – but I just don’t cry.
Then there are moments it is all I can do. Tears stream down my face, sometimes alone, sometimes with sobbing. Some days I don’t know why I bother putting make-up on because it is gone by the time I get to work. Rides are the hardest because I’m alone and I can let my guard down. There is no one to upset so I can feel.
I’ve never experienced so many forms of tears until I lost a son. There were days my eyes would barely open from crying so intensely and my whole body ached from the jerking and throbbing that it did to unleash the pain. Complete broken sobs. There were days I couldn’t speak on the phone because the sound of someone else, would bring me to tears. And then there are moments when I’m so pent-up, so mad, so hurt, so lost – and I want to cry but can’t. It is like you no longer have control of your emotions. You are being held hostage and someone else has taken over, the director of the tears. They come when they come and there is nothing you can do about it.
Runaway: 11 months in
I just want to run away sometimes. I get so tired of having to “keep it together” and remain calm, organized, sane. My youngest son is about the only thing that keeps me tethered. I get out of bed for him, I pay bills (late) but for him to have a house/lights/etc., I buy groceries for him to have something to eat. Most of time I’m on auto-pilot, I’m a robot. I just do what I have to do to get one more day done. over. I feel so bad for those parents who are grieving and don’t have another child to keep them grounded. I pray for those friends I know like this, who I’ve met along this journey.
I’ve never been this sad so many days in a row in my life. I’ve always been a positive person even though I’ve had my reasons to be depressed. And I’ve had my days before this tragedy but I shake it off, move on. THIS has just been torture. It never leaves. It doesn’t get better. I can’t shake it. In fact, sometimes I feel like it gets harder every day. Every day on the calendar is another day away from Austin. Another 24 hours longer that it has been since I’ve seen him. It hurts so much. It is physical. I FEEL the pain, inside and out. I feel sometimes like I’m drowning and I don’t know how I’ve ever manage to live the rest of my life like this. All of my adult life has been with Austin and I don’t know how to function without him. It is a void that will never go away.
But you have to. You can’t just sink into a hole and go numb, as much I’d like to some days. I have to move forward. I have to get up every day and keep going, even though I don’t want to.
I do it for both my boys. I do it because Noah needs a mom, he needs to never experience pain like this again and I have to shelter him, protect him, love him. And I do it because Austin would have wanted it. He never liked to see me sad, to see me cry, and I know his soul cannot be at full peace until Tim & I are better. That is why I continue. but it doesn’t change the fact that most days I look at the road before me and wish I could drive and drive and drive…and run away.
I cry alone
I’ve never been so alone in grief and sadness. What hurts is that I shouldn’t be. Tim is hurting too but for whatever reason, we can’t share this. If I’m sad and he’s not, I don’t want to bring him down. Maybe he thinks the same way? I don’t know. I have to find time to cry. There are so many points in my day that I want to, need to, and can’t.
So, I cry in the shower, because nobody can see the tears. I cry on the way home from work. I cry when everyone has gone to sleep.
I remember those first days…. in the instant it happened, I had no control. tears streamed, I screamed, I wailed. when I got home and “composed” and surrounded by people, I couldn’t cry. I used the bathroom a hundred times, just so I could go scream into a towel. aAd at night, once everyone had gone, I broke.
At the funeral, I held it because I knew if I broke, everyone else would too. I had to be strong for Noah especially. I didn’t know if I could do it – and really, in the end, I didn’t. God did. I prayed that morning for peace and he gave it to us. That is the only way I can explain how we got through those days in the funeral home. I didn’t break until his last call (a tribute saved only for firefighters).
But since, it seems my tears have to be hidden. I wish tim and I could hold each other and cry together. I wish we could share these tears and help each other heal. Instead we hurt alone but at the same time.