Yesterday, Gwendolyn’s birthday, was tough. There were good moments, but it was harder than expected.
Here’s the thing about grief — when your child dies, grief never ends. It doesn’t mean you are miserable for all eternity but a child will always be missed, longed for, thought about, loved… In many ways grief gets easier — the human spirit is remarkable in how we learn to live with pain, absorb it, carry it. But so often people, including me, expect mourning to be finite and, well, it just isn’t.
Some days you are walking around with a gaping hole in your core. It is so large it is hard to move, to breathe, and, yet, you still have to pay the bills and go to the grocery store and make small talk as you bag your produce.
Other days, you wake up and the hole has scabbed, and you are lighter on your feet and the air flows sweetly through laughter. You even initiate the banter with the grocery clerk. And for a while, you feel of this world again.
As grief has moved out of the deep fog stage and as I’ve worked to process the death of my child and grappled with grief as a constant companion, the triggers aren’t always so constant. There’s more space between the gaping hole days and the scabbed days.
But birthdays, death anniversaries (angelversary), big holidays, and special family time she should be part of knock me to the floor with anxiety and confusion and overwhelming grief. Sometimes it’s the days leading up to those… sometimes the day itself… sometimes days afterward. It almost always takes me by surprise because I’m a survivor, a fighter, a believer in embracing the good. But death is so damn final and, yet, in my heart, my child still ages, still grows. I am still the mother of an 11-year-old – I just don’t really know what that looks like.
I will tell you, kindness is about the only thing that lifts me. So thank you. Thank you for the incredible endless love you offer. Your kindness is a hand reaching out when I feel I’m crumbling. Kindness gives me perspective, a reminder of the good. And when I see that light I cling. Thank you for being the light. Kindness matters.