November 24: HOW Long?!?


I’ve been reading as much as I can (my focus is kind of shot; I can only concentrate for brief periods of time, and only on these kind of books) – books about child loss and grief and  glimpses of heaven, Anna’s book (“Rare Bird”) about her journey through the valley of losing her son, Jack.

(Side note of horror: on the day her Jack died, I recently realized, I thought Mark had died. Mark – who was 16 at the time – had left the house just after the storm, saying he was “headed down to the dam [at our lake] to see the water [which overflows the dam pretty magnificently after a storm].” When Mark hadn’t returned in 20-30 minutes, I freaked out – calling neighbors to watch for him, and calling Beth O to join me in looking for Mark. He, of course, came home a different way and was waiting for me – “what?!” – upon our return. Still.)

On some days, I can sort of knock one of my own screws pretty loose: I try to pretend Mark is away on a trip to another land. I tell myself I’m like one of those moms in a poor country, who sends her son off to a distant place to make his fortune, with no expectation of ever seeing him again.  So these books – about the afterlife, about heaven – could really be what I’d hoped: a travel guide for those of us left behind, who must experience it vicariously from our armchairs (or, more honestly for me, in my basement on my saggy couch with a  jumbo box of Kleenex).

In reading those books and blogs, and in meeting or hearing from people who lost children many, many years ago, I am starting to come to the horrifying realization that this sadness thing, this missing-him thing, this terrifying gigantic hole in all of our lives is forever…that this period of mourning (47 days so far) is NOTHING…a drop in the bucket of tears. That there will be worse days in the future.  How could I, how could any of us, possibly feel worse?

On the one hand, that sounds truly awful. I don’t want to be this sad, this lost, this shaken, this…decimated…for that long. What would be the point in living, in this shadow state?

On the other hand: how could I not be this sad, this lost, this shaken, this decimated — forever?

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