Almost three and a half years ago I was thrown into the world of the grieving parent. At the time, I was in a highly alert state, taking words that were said to me and dissecting them one by one. Sometimes people said things that I found confusing, and maybe even hurtful. I started reading…
My friends, I am tired.
I’ve been wrestling lately with my writing. I struggle with sharing the brutal honesty of what it’s like to live with this grief after the loss of a partner and children.
Generally speaking, people don’t like the brutal honesty of it. They much prefer a sugar-coated journey from grief to sparkly joy again.
It’s not that there isn’t joy and gratitude and beauty in my life. There is buckets of it. Mountains of it.
Yet grief still remains. There is a tinge of sadness to even the most joyful moments of my life – because they are not here with me.
And I am tired.
Tired of pretending that it doesn’t hurt every single day. Tired of pretending I don’t still miss them, ache for them, and long for them every single day. Tired of pretending that getting up in the morning doesn’t take pausing for a moment to take a deep breath and gather the strength to face another day longing for them.
Some days are easier than others. Some days, I can live in the joys of all that my life currently is – the work I do, the people I love, the accomplishments I’ve made, the person I’ve become. There is richness and beauty and gratitude.
But even on those days I ache for them. I miss them unbearably.
Other days, carrying the weight of my longing for them and missing of them wears me down. Some days, it breaks me. The holiday season, in particular, and Mother’s Day require extra time in the morning to gather the courage to face the day.
People don’t like when I talk about this.
These people tell me to remember that our loved ones never really leave, their spirit stays with us.
This may be true, but I don’t want to just feel their spirit. I want to hold them. I want to touch them. I want to hear them laugh and cry and play. I want to wake up next to my partner and feel his warmth. I want to hold my children in my arms and wipe their tears and hear their laughter.
Yes, I feel their spirit all around me. And I physically ache for the absence of them in my arms.
My spirit is tired. Tired of missing them and aching for them. Tired of being without them here in this lifetime in physical form.
They tell me that – one day – the pain of the holidays or Mother’s Day or whatever else will eventually pass and I’ll be able to focus on the joy of what I have.
Pretty much everyone who tells me this has someone still – a partner or other children left to hold. Their experience is different than mine.
Hear me, different, not less. I have no doubt that their pain and grief is great – and in some ways it’s probably even more difficult to grieve when you have to be present with family still here needing you.
But their experience is not my experience. I hope that one day my experience of the holidays and Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and other ordinary days is different than it is now. I hope that I can experience these days without crippling grief and sorrow again – to feel the joy and lightness of them.
But for now I wake up on those days alone. I wake up to an empty bed and an empty house with no one to tend to but myself. I have no one here to hold. Those days set aside for celebration and cheer are raw and painful reminders of the partner and children I don’t get to hold, that I will never get to hold again in this lifetime.
My friends, I am tired.
Tired of aching.
Tired of longing.
Tired of grieving.
This thing called grief and loss is hard. This thing called life after loss is hard.
Life is beautiful and messy and complex and full of layers of gray. I love it. I love it deeply and wholeheartedly and completely.
I take that deep breath every day and gather my strength to get up and embrace life as it is because I love life. Because I am strong and devoted and courageous in this life after loss. Because I am committed, fiercely committed, to finding beauty in the ruins, light in the darkness, joy in the sorrow.
But my friends, I am also tired.
Because I miss them.
I ache for them.
I long for them.
Today and every day.