It’s hard to believe that I haven’t published a blog post since January. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that January is also the time I began my journey of weight loss, which has led to so much more recovery than I ever knew I needed. This blog has been stirring in my heart, tucked deep in my soul, hidden from the outside world, yet clammoring so loudly in my brain for months now. Like so many other unspoken words, it had begun to lay dormant in my heart. That was until a few weeks ago, when a friend texted me these words, “Do you ever miss grieving?” I couldn’t believe someone had the guts to give actual utterance to the words I had been hiding away so shamefully. My fingers couldn’t type fast enough… “YES,” I said. “I feel like I’m actually grieving my grief!”
Grief makes us sick on a deeper level than any other disease ever could. It effects the heart, the mind, the body, on the deepest of levels, and there is no medicinal cure. There is no pill, no physical therapy, no surgery that can repair the irreparable damage that the loss of a loved one causes. Yet, oddly, I sometimes miss grieving. Not that I don’t still grieve and experience pain and sadness in surmountable amounts. What I mean by this is that I miss my grief being considered ‘socially acceptable.’ Some days, I grieve just as hard as I did that very first day when I learned my son would never wake up. Whoever came up with the overused quote that time heals all wounds was definitely someone who never experienced the gaping wound that child loss leave. It never ever stops bleeding. Never. Ever.
I still grieve hard, but now I do most of my grieving alone. The first year and even year two and three, it felt like there was a place for my grief – a place for my pain and for my words. I still share when I absolutely need to because writing and sharing has helped so much in my recovery process, but, believe it or not, I hold so much back. I don’t know when exactly it happened, but I began to see an uncomfortableness in people’s eyes when I would talk about Christiano. People stopped texting on the important days and friends of his just stopped checking in one day. I mean, I guess deep down I knew it might happen, but every grieving momma survives on the belief her child will never be forgotten. But, that’s a whole other blog. I will say this, when the memory of the child you’ve lost starts to fade – it makes us breveaved mothers feel like a whole new kind of failure. That’s all of him I was left to be responsible for – his memory. It’s the only way I still get to mother him, and I don’t feel like I’ve done that well. But, I know I tried. I tried like hell to honor my boy and live in loving memory of him. But, life goes on for everyone else. And, I get that.
But, I do grieve grieving. I grieve the days when loved ones surrounded me, when prayers were so plentiful that I could physically feel them, when grace was given and bad days were understood, when I got daily texts of encouragement, when people asked how I was and truly cared to hear the answer. I guess it’s just weird to go back to being treated like a normal person, when I feel so far from that. Yet, a part of me wants to be seen as the Shannon I always was and not have the grieving mother title and all the stigmatic views that go along with that. The only problem with that is that I’m not the same person. That’s both good and bad, I guess. While I’m learning to love me again, I still miss life before grief. I grieve Christiano, but I grieve myself and my family. I desperately miss being whole, and I can’t begin to describe the longing I have to hold Christiano in my arms again.
This blog is not in any way intended to make anyone feel bad, like they haven’t been enough. The truth is no one can ever do for me what only God can. He’s been amazing, and He’s continuing His work in me. But, I guess I’m writing this to, once again, raise awareness of what grief is and what it isn’t. To remind you to reach out to that friend who lost her husband or her child or her mom. Reach out even if it’s been five, ten, or twenty years. Never stop reaching out because they never stop needing their loved one to be remembered. It’s not about the one that’s been left behind, it’s about the who that left us behind. You loving them – well, it means everything to people like us. People like us. Just the sound of that makes me sad. How I wish everything was different. That this was never my story. But, it is. And, for God’s glory, I’ll tell it. For mommas and daddy’s who have to bury their own, for wives who lose their once in a lifetime love, for husbands who have to say goodbye to the only woman who saw their good, for daughters who miss their moms and sons whose fathers were gone to soon, I’ll tell my story. If it changes one life. If it helps one person know they aren’t crazy after all. If it leads one person to know the God I know, I’ll tell my story.