I spent the weekend at camp John Marc with a grief support group for families that we participate in. I'm not a big joiner, but this was probably good for me on some level. At least it felt good to talk about Joseph, to spend the weekend with other families who know what it is like to lose a child, to help them honor their child, to feel them help us honor ours. To be able to talk about it and nobody freezes or gives you the glazed over "there she goes again" look. To not have to edit or just plain ignore the fact that he was real, existed and is still a part of our family. That being said, it is absolutely draining. The memorial service we had was beautiful. We all got to write what we would most like the world to remember about the child we lost. I was very stressed about that, but I think I got it just right. There is an outdoor chapel there with a little brook flowing alongside it and they played soft music and read our memories as the family placed flowers in a wreath on a little altar. While they read about Joseph a bird started to sing very loudly in the trees around us, and the minute reading about him stopped, the bird stopped and did not start up again. It just felt good to cry for him, to not have to be forcing myself to muscle through those emotions without letting them show, to not be straining to get past them or to push them back down. Unfortunately though picking up my life after I get that upset is pretty hard for me, and I am not doing too good since I got back home. I found out I can't just waltz back into my life or my relationships too smoothly after that...everything is out of focus and gray, words don't make sense and my ability to intuit anything is just gone right now. It is horrifying to see how it affects the people around me when I allow the full truth of my grief to show even the smallest bit. I forget how badly people need for me to at least seem to be moving forward. And I am. But I do carry this with me and it is a lonely, lonely reality. I several times sat among the people at this camp and looked around at the other parents, thought about why we were all there and felt shock and disbelief that I fell into the qualifying category to attend this retreat. The counselors there that work with the siblings and then meet with the parents would qualify all the said about Nick and Alex with "But this is such a recent loss" or "Knowing that this is fairly fresh" surprised me and made me feel a little less crazy for the times that I don't feel like I am very on top of my game and for the times when I just want to curl fetal and weep but cannot. And its true...ours was among the newest of losses in that group of people. Most were six to seven years out from it. And those who were ten or more years out were the volunteers making the whole thing happen. We had deaths from cancer, heart disease, prematurity, SIDS, accidents, sepsis after surgery...the list goes on. Its a miracle that anyone ever grows up.
I have to take my statistics exam tomorrow. I feel completely unprepared and very unfocused. I guess I will try to regroup today and get back on my game.