The weight has returned. The tide of grief has surged. It just took a little thing. Maybe a little thing. I don’t know yet how big this thing is. But it was enough. Enough to disturb the equilibrium. Enough to tip the first domino and scatter a carefully crafted kind of inner peace. Grief is like that. It only takes the smallest pull to unravel you.
So I’m back here. Back where I feel like I’m constantly fighting tears. Back where I need to coach myself through every moment. You can do this. You can do this. Back to the place where I look at my living children and my heart swells so unexpectedly large that it hurts. Back to the fear that they will be ripped away and I’ll bury them too. Back to the places of doubt and hurt and anger. Places I have tried so desperately to leave.
My eldest son broke his arm recently. The cast comes off today. It should have healed, a callus will have formed over the fracture. But he will have to be careful still. A sudden jolt, an unexpected bump could set him back. So it is with my callus protected heart.
It’s the unexpected jolts that sending me reeling.
On Friday my family will celebrate my middle son’s birthday. My mother and sister will make prayer flags with me. My eldest will stand at assembly on his brother’s behalf when they ask about the birthdays celebrated that week. My boys, my husband and I will go out to dinner together. Somewhere during the day I will visit my son’s neglected gravesite. Some friends will remember and let me know they remember. It will be gentle. Hopefully.
Carefully laid plans. Protective and expected. Honouring and reflective. The way I want my relationship with my son gone-too-soon to be going forward. The grief people call beautiful and brave. Not the ugly, painful, gut-wrenching, messy and terrible grief. The grief I want to leave behind.
I just wish I knew how to stop the jolts from sending me back.
Have you experienced deep grief?
How do you handle anniversaries, birthdays and the inevitable set back into difficult grief?