Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cloudy Days

One of my fears in starting this blog was wondering if I'd be able to truly find joy each and every day.  When you're in the midst of grief from child loss, some days seem too grey to see any sunshine.  With this journey though, I knew bad days were expected.  I knew tears would come.  I knew pain would be present.  I also knew joy was possible and that happiness is present in every situation if you look deep enough.  Knowing all the bad forced me to push forward and search for the good.

Some days, I'll admit it comes easy.  Joy appears to me as a gift and words flow out for me to share with others.  Some days my "cup runneth over" and I have to actually choose which joy to write about.  Those are blessed days.  An overabundance of joy makes up for the gloomy days child loss brings.  It doesn't take away the pain, the heartache, or the tears, but knowing sunshine will appear again helps you get through it.

Yesterday was one of those days, and it was unexpected, which is always the hardest to handle.  When anniversaries or special occasions appear on the calendar, I can brace myself, somewhat prepare for what I know will come.  The date gives me permission to sink and release.  When it's unplanned, it hits you suddenly, as if being punched in the stomach. 

It was something so simple, yet very complex.  A single sentence that changed my afternoon.  Feeling as if the wind had been knocked out of me, I stumbled.  The day spiraled, as if in slow motion, while in reality life continued at full speed.  It was a sentence I've prepared myself in my mind for many times and answered it beautifully but always seem to fail once the words reach my mouth.

Meeting someone for the first time, the inevitable question of "do you have children?" appeared.  I froze, though words flowed immediately, almost without my permission.  For such a short sentence it requires so much and I never know quite how to answer it.  I've been blunt, I've been vague, I've held information, and in the end nothing ever feels right.  Yesterday, my sentences ("I have an 11 year old son, recently gained custody of my 12 year old niece and...") were cut short with revealing additional new information of our "child status" and so I felt unfinished.  It just never opened back up for me to say, "and a child in Heaven who would be 17".

Most of the time I say "I have two boys" and hope they leave it there.  Depending on my ability, I sometimes share more, but tears don't always listen to the off switch I've demanded.  Location sometimes forces my answer because I prefer to not have a mental breakdown in the middle of complete strangers.  Those days, my heart breaks all over again.  It's a tug-o-war within your soul, struggling to know which way to go.  If you share it all, you're both left uncomfortable.  If you hold back, you feel guilt in what could appear to be "forgetting" your lost child.  There's just no easy answer.

And so last night was a difficult one.  I fought with myself for hours about what I said, what I should have said, could have done.  How easy life would be if it had a virtual delete, backspace, or fast forward button.  But there are no re-do's.  So, I dealt with the consequences.  I closed up.  I pushed through.  I cried.  I attempted to function in front of the family, and when all else failed, I went to bed early.  I allowed myself to let go.  It was an evening of sadness and this morning has had hints of the same, as I replay the events of yesterday. 

With each word I write today though, a little more of the pain melts off.  Each paragraph allows me to process, deal with it, learn from it, and move forward.  Though rainclouds are in the sky this morning and the forecast calls for rain, my internal radar says there's sun somewhere.  I will find for days to come because I have hope, because I know Austin would want that, and because I know God holds my hand each step of this complicated journey called grief.


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