Today at Fourteen Months and One Week it’s hard to look back on my words from that day in August last year. I was hurting so incredibly. I didn’t know whether I had anything left in me to offer. I doubted whether my friends or even my husband would want to stick around my misery.
My grief is changing – it’s kind of funny how that happens. People from further down the grief journey tell you that it will, but in the early days after you bury your child, it really is impossible to imagine how you could ever get your head above water for long enough to catch your breath. And yet here I am. My son has been dead for more than a year, and somehow I am still alive. I didn’t think I would survive it.
I still have days when my heart feels like it is going to break right out of my chest for the sheer pain of missing my boy. I still struggle sometimes to not let the small things get on top of me – sometimes when you’re busy dealing with the big things, the small things sneak up and can feel like the end of the world. But as always in this journey, I am learning to to adapt and to grow and to cope.
It’s hard to not become bogged down with every day mundane life. I try not to dwell too much on my alternate life with a toddler running around. But I’ve also learned that it is okay to let my mind go there sometimes. My mind will always want to go where my heart lives – and that is with my son. I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, sometimes I can imagine it with a smile on my face.
My confidence and belief in myself are gradually coming back, though I do still sometimes wonder what people see in me. Because I can see the depths of my own mind, it’s too easy to feel a bit crazy and separated from those around me. For the most part people have stuck by me. And some who didn’t initially are coming back to me now. It’s a reassurance that I have handled things the best way I knew how, and that people generally don’t fault me for it. I also think I’m becoming fun again, whatever that means. I don’t find it as difficult to be in a social situation now without wanting to scream, “My son is dead – how can you sit here and talk about such inconsequential nonsense!?” Even some of the normal day to day trials seem somewhat important now, where as a year ago none of it mattered to me at all.
I am holding down a job that is allowing me to support the dreams of my family. I am coping with working long hours and doing well at my job.
I can look at babies and occasionally smile now. I can talk to my pregnant coworker (yes, another one) about pregnancy and birth and babies and not want to punch her in the face. I can speak openly about Finley and not worry or care about how others react to my story.
I guess, to summarize, I am in an entirely different place than I was 10 months ago. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my son, and it doesn’t mean that I am any less affected by this journey that I was forced to take. I am learning to live with the grief – it is a part of me now just as much as my ski jump nose and my over-excitable personality – and I’m okay with it being my ever constant companion. It means Finley existed and mattered and that my life has changed because of him. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.