Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. A really long time. There are a few parts of my life that I am not ready to share, and for someone who processes through writing- well that is quite a struggle! It’s been difficult because these parts of my life that I’m processing are all so very intertwined. It’s hard to compartmentalize and only discuss one part. At some point I will be able to share more, but for now most of it will sit in my head.
There is, however, one part that I can still discuss- my grief. That part of my life is mine and mine alone. I can write about it as much as I want, and right now I feel the need to write.
The past few months have been crazy, complete with BIG life changes and a pandemic. I’ve been working for my employer for almost a year (on November 11!), but in that time the pandemic has given me the opportunity to learn not just one new job, but three! That doesn’t leave much time for grief! I’ve also been fortunate to be able to spend more time with my boys, but that also doesn’t leave much time for grief.
Not having time for grief is a very interesting thing. On one hand it is great. It makes life feel so much happier. I can tell I am moving forward and moving on in every way. But then there is the other hand. I imagine this is common for grievers. It’s the guilt. The guilt that this person who was there and now isn’t just sits in the periphery of thoughts. Really isn’t even there most of the time. I spend my days working and my evenings and weekends with those that I love. And life is good.
I’ve been pondering this for a while- the guilt. Wondering what kind of a mom that makes me. How can one of my children be in heaven and I am so happy here on earth. How can I be ok with the fact that my trips to the cemetery are few and far between. And how is it that my son’s grave still has the same flowers that he had in the spring? The blue ones. Normally by now I would have given him a fall bouquet.
But this is progress, and this is healthy, and this is grief. This weekend I was reassured that my son is still there, deep in my heart. I’ve been coasting along and changing things in my life. Many of those changes are in my home. The biggest thing is that Gabe’s youngest brother moved into his room. Gabe’s room sat minimally changed for over 4 years, but it was time to change it. So with the help of a friend (ok, so I helped that friend a tiny bit while he did the VAST majority of the work) Liam’s new room was made. To do that required me to move things out of Gabe’s room- boxes, clothing, and other things.
This past weekend I went through just one box of those things. I found writing, artwork, trinkets, and other things. It all went smoothly until one item. His band shoes. I picked up his shoes and immediately began crying. And not just a little bit. Cries just like those early in grief- deep and pain filled. My friend was there and held me while I cried, and I healed just a bit more.
That wave of grief was quick but so powerful. I’m thankful for it. Thankful for the reminder that no matter how much time passes my heart will always be connected to Gabe. Thankful for that quick burst of pain to show me just how far I’ve come. And thankful to share that moment and memories of my son as I processed through his things.
Losing my son has been such a difficult road, but through this deep loss and even in those painful moments I am so thankful.
**The pictures below are Liam’s new room/Gabe’s old room. Liam chose the new color. I think Gabe would approve!