Do you ever feel like you are drowning in your grief? I remember as a kid someone told me the story about a person who died by drowning in an inch of water. I could never understand what that would be like until my son died. I found this photo on-line and it reminded me of those feelings of overwhelming grief and how I felt as if I was a small stone lying on the bottom of a pool of water looking up.
There are different kinds of grief….different levels of grief maybe? When someone you love dies or is in the process of dying you might grieve the loss of what could have been… what you think life should have been like. One aspect for me was the reality that my little boy wouldn’t get to grow up and have all of the experiences that come with each age or grade such as; middle and high school sports, his first kiss, school dances, parties, proms, drivers’ education, dating, college, marriage and children. Milestones that would never be reached. I will never forget how he cried when he was only six years old and he overheard the doctor say that because of his testicular relapse and subsequent radiation treatments that even if he survived his disease he would probably never be able to father a child. He was SIX. He should not have had to cry over that particular reality. My sweet little boy grieved children he would never have. To this day, my heart aches and I tear up thinking about it.
When my husband’s only sibling, his sister Annie, died he grieved the hikes they wouldn’t be able to go on together. He mourned the children she would never get to birth. He was also devastated by the reality that he wouldn’t have anyone to share family stories with once his parents were gone. She readily laughed at his bad jokes and actually encouraged them…that is something none of the rest of his family members does. A huge loss indeed.
When my father was dying he was making plans to take my mom back to Hawaii. He asked me to help him pack his things so he would be ready for the flight.
Even at his advanced stage of illness he then realized it wasn’t likely to happen. He was sad. Then, he cataloged every person in his circle. It was an amazing thing to witness. He didn’t want to leave without my mom but he told me he would be glad to see my son again.
My mom crossed Over the Rainbow Bridge fairly soon after my dad. She had worn herself out taking care of him. Because mom had been busy taking care of dad for years and never taking time for herself…my siblings and I all had plans to take our mother on vacation trips…NYC, Hawaii, a cruise, etc. Again, we all mourned what could and should have been for our sweet mom. She never got to see that much of the world or do any of the exciting things that we all wished for her. Living life to the fullest never happened for mom.
I have worked with many people whose partners died. Their future plans were endless. Cut short and never realized….not much else can be sadder than the death of a loved one whether a sister, brother, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend or child. There is no measurement that helps you explain the feelings to someone who hasn’t experienced a loss.
There was an article today about a study that found that writing helps heal people. That was good confirmation for me about something I already believed to be true. If you are feeling like a stone in the shallows I encourage you to write letters to the person who died…write list poems…short stories…journal or blog about your feelings. It really does help.