Those first weeks are still a fog to my mind, I think back and play out each hour of that day trying to re-write it all in my mind. I don’t believe that your leaving had fully registered with me for weeks and the months that came. Many days and hours I sat on the couch staring at the wall in my room or out the window on our couch in shock and numb. There were many days of sitting on the floor and in some cases on all fours just so I could breathe more easily. The pain was so unbearable that breathing was difficult.
The day after, I asked a dear friend of mine to come to the house because I frantically needed to know what she knew. She had lost her beautiful son a few years prior and in my desperateness to figure out how I was going to make it I needed and longed to hear how I would get through. I was frantic for her to tell me” how to do this” all I wanted and needed was the proper steps, what to expect and how I would survive. In all her own personal pain that seeing me might bring, the trigger it could potentially carry; she selflessly came anyway. She held me in her arms while I cried and I begged her to tell me how. She softly with tears and so much love said, “ this is your grief, your journey, I cannot tell you how to do this”. I could not believe this was her response to me, I was so angry and confused, I wanted to scream and yell. For days I replayed what she said and upset and frustrated that she could not have given me more….
At 47, I had not experienced anything so traumatic definitely not this type of loss. My ignorance was thinking she would be able to give me a path, maybe even a checklist that I could go through that would get me through. I am good at checklists, I was sure that would be all I needed. Almost 2 years later, I can reflect and understand how perfectly and beautifully she responded to my need for the answer. As the weeks went by and I read book after book to find some sort of hope and understanding I learned how important and perfect my dear friend’s response was to my question. I have learned that grief has its own personal print with each of us, it is as unique as our own fingerprint, it is not fluid, it has no rhyme or reason, and it is something that we each do differently. It is as great, deep and significantly personal as is our relationship with our loved one. It is messy, complicated and beautiful just like our connection to our person that left us.
It has taken me time to understand this, still to this day at times it is messy and unpredictable. The many beautiful angel moms further into their journeys assured me that the pain and the grief will soften in time. At the time they told me it would happen, I could never comprehend that it would be possible. Today, 24 months later I have felt it soften….ever so slightly.
I’ve had to make a conscious choice to live, I live for you Taylor, for your siblings and dad. I find strength in all of you to continue this new normal. I carry you with me everywhere I go and with everything I do. My grief is now part of who I am, I acknowledge it and I have resolved that it will continue to stand with me, by my side through the rest of my life. Joy, sadness, happiness and grief. Always hand in hand until I have you in my arms again.
I still miss you with every part of my soul. I ache and long for you every minute of every single day. I carry disbelief that this is our life, that you are never coming back and that I have to spend the rest of my life missing you. But I am finding my way and will continue to live and honor your memory. You will never be forgotten, you will always be mine.
Thank you baby for picking me to be your mom. For giving me the beautiful, challenging, fun, crazy years you gave me. I thank God we shared the 23 years we did. You taught me so many beautiful life lessons when you were here and even more since you left this earth. Thank you for making me a better mother, person and soul.
I love you forever baby,
I know now that I never knew true pain. I've never lost anyone or anything that has caused me to lose myself in the pain. When the police showed up at my door, my world shattered. I was the first 'next of kin' they could find, so I had to look at his license, tell them it was him and call a number. The police stood there as I called the detective. When I had him on the line, everything fell apart, my world fell apart, I collapsed right there during that call. Nobody should ever have to call their dad to tell him that his only son, my only brother, was found dead in his car. Nobody should lose their best friend. Not like this.
I haven’t had a day off in a very long time… Not a day to myself that I can fully remember. I had my precious baby 3 ½ years ago, most of us know how much work that can be, and I still had always wanted one more until we lost you. I’ve always felt I would have two or three children but now the grief that I carry every day makes me think it would be almost impossible to go through having another child again.
I’m scared that I wouldn’t be able to give a whole other human being the love, care, and time that they deserve; especially when I already feel like I fail at this sometimes with my daughter I already have. Many days I ask myself what I’m doing, there are some days I realize she is acting out most likely because I’m failing at giving her the attention she deserves and needs from me. It is so hard not to get lost in your grief, I know with every bone in my body that it is not fair that my daughter is also going through this with me whether she knows it or not. When I feel that she is suffering from my grief as well I get so angry with my brother, it’s simply not fair.
I know that it’s normal to be angry, I understand that it is a “stage” in our grief that everyone experiences. That doesn’t make it any better though- sometimes I hear this and it makes me even more angry. The thing that would be “normal” would be to not be HERE, experiencing THIS; there is nothing “normal” about this situation. One thing I’ve really learned is what advice NOT to give when someone is grieving… If you don’t know what to say the best advice is to just say nothing at all, especially if you really haven’t been through what they are going through, you just need to be there for someone.
It’s so hard to describe an exhaustion that isn’t physical at all. I’ve had long work weeks that have you mentally wiped out. Work weeks that have you wishing for Mondays because in my work that’s your only day off, but now I can’t wish for any day. I miss you everyday. Those days that everyone has “off”? Well those slow days are the times us grievers really have time to think and to miss our loved ones that aren't with us. I was teaching my daughter to swim last week, my day “off”, then it hit me. You’re not going to see how much of a go getter she is. Her determination, or that fake smile she makes because I take too many photos. She’s hysterical, she would have made you laugh that big loud laugh I miss so much. She loves gross stuff like you, farts like you. I’d give anything to have you know her now, and you have no idea what I would do for her to know you too.
I hope I get better in time at missing you and raising her. I know I’m missing pieces because the grief is overwhelming. I’m constantly pushing through, trying to enjoy the small things and not let my grief rule my life. It’s really difficult to push that aside and not feel like I’m pushing you away, it’s hard to move on when you don’t want to move on without that person in your life. Letting go seems impossible still.
Taylor's Big Sister