Friday, January 26, 2018

When Sorrow Comes to Sit Awhile

One of the worst parts and yet most blessed parts of knowing the grief of a mother is knowing the grief of a mother. I have had people contact me randomly in agony for a friend who is losing a child and I never know what to do. These feelings are so big and so individual, and I can so easily get rolled by the intensity of it, that usually I decline to butt in. Even after all this time, I fear the ginormous feelings this generates and to take that on for a stranger feels like just too, too much for me to handle.

This week though, it has happened to a friend - a nurse I got to work with and got close to pretty immediately. She is fun and wonderful and kind. And this week, she lost her son suddenly and unexpectedly. After that, all that fear seems like a barrier I am not willing to yield to. Its there, but the fact of the matter is for this person, in this circumstance, I will stare it down and push that shadow back. No way would I ever leave my friend alone in this place...and to be the grieving mother of an adult, married son can be a very, very lonely place. There will be great attention on the widow and the child who lost their father, and that is well and good and right. But I have something unique to give her. I know the grief of a mother. I can do this. It is a period of growth for me and I hope I can do some good or at least impart some peace. She didn't deserve this. Nobody does.

So I have been walking around, carrying this internal ache of sorrow for her and for me and for Joe and for anyone who has had to face the failings of the human body in their child. I tear up easily and I smile and laugh with ease, with my Joe. Life is so fleeting. It has become a cliché saying, but you truly just don't ever know how much longer anyone you love will get. I am so grateful that I have learned the lessons I have. Generosity of spirit - that is what I want. Even if it hurts. Even when its hard. Especially when it hurts and when its hard. In the end, we all need one another.

So I am listening to songs like 'If You're Reading This" and "I'm Already There" and remembering those raw, crazy feelings from the earliest of the early days and lingering quietly on the fringes while she plans memorial services and learns that weird, forlorn, bitter wonder that the sun keeps on rising up each and every day. I am hoping somehow that knowing I am here helps her feel less alone, a little less crazy, a little less afraid, most especially once this time passes and the daily grind begins, when everyone else expects you to figure out quickly how to pick up and move on, not understanding that you don't. You can't. Rebirth comes, but it takes a million little seconds of sorrow and struggle and it bulldozes everything in its wake to make room for that new tomorrow. It can still be a good, good place, but it isn't what it was....and you always wonder in your heart what it would have been had it all been different.