Tuesday, March 2, 2010

the weight of grief

Well friends, it was four months ago today that we lost our sweet boy. In some ways it seems like only an instant has passed, and in other ways it seems like an eternity. One question I'm often asked is, "how are you doing?" I can't fault people for asking - it's something I'd be asking too, if the roles were reversed. It's a hard question to answer, because the answer changes mulitple times a day - sometimes multiple times an hour. The weight of grief never leaves me, however I am able to compartmentalize it from time to time if I'm distracted by a movie or a tv show or a game or what have you. In general though, I just feel... well... heavy.

It's an odd feeling, and one I've never experienced prior to November. When I move, I feel more weighted. When I exercise, it is more difficult. I can physically feel pain in joints where before there was none. Granted I have also had a small weight gain during the past four months, but I am no where near my highest adult weight, and yet at times feel as though I've surpassed it by leaps and bounds. You may have heard people use the expression that their "heart is heavy," and perhaps it's the same kind of thing, except that it has expanded to encompass my entire being.

On top of the weight, there are emotions. They come and go, generally whenever they feel like it. A few people have told me that I don't have to be strong in front of them. Somehow suggesting that I am in control of these random emotional breakdowns I have. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Triggers don't seem to give much advanced warning. Last week was especially rough for me, starting with the day I had to throw away our pumpkins. Visiting the pumpkin patch was something grandma, great-grandma, and I did with Henry every year, and I believe was the last outing the four of us had together. I had saved the pumpkins, thinking we'd carve them on October 30th. That was the morning Henry fell ill though, so the carving never happened. I didn't think much of it at the time - I figured he'd be just as happy to carve them a few days later when he was feeling better. Little did I know.

The pumpkins sat on this bench on our back porch, right where he set them, from October through the last week of February. Yes, that angel you see in the picture was there the whole time. One of many strange coincidences I've found in the past few months. So, with the weather warming a bit, the pumpkins softening, and garbage day approaching, it was time. I didn't want to do it, but I did... and then I cried. I cried long and I cried hard for about a week straight over these pumpkins, over the loss of my boy, over the senseless loss of another child in town, over milestones we'll never get to reach, over questions about the future, over the generosity of friends and family and friends we've never met. It all brought me to my knees.

As most things tend to do, it passed, and after several days I was back to my old self (which is actually my new self, all things considered). The whole experience is sad, but that is to be expected in times like these. I don't think there is any way to avoid it, and I'm not sure I want to avoid it, because I think those low times help me to cope with the loss, and to continue to look to the future.

On a lighter note, if you're a regular visitor to my blog and aren't stuck in google reader or some othe third party port, you should have noticed a major change to the way things look around here! I've spent a few days revamping my family blog. A new name (which my facebook friends should recognize from my many notes on facebook in the past four months), a new look, and a new feel overall. I'm still not entirely sure where I'm going to go with this blog, but I'm considering end of day posts on a regular basis on all sorts of topics.

Think Doogie Howser...


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i {heart} papers said...

Oh Sarah, I don't know what to say. I just wish a big hug could make all the pain go away. I don't think anyone expects you to be your old self...I don't think it is possible. But, that's OK and the new self is just as good...you're stronger and more faithful and an amazing woman.

I love the new blog design, btw.

{hugs} to you my friend.

Melissa said...

Sarah, you are always in my thoughts and prayers. ((hugs))

Lorie said...

I love the new look, Sarah! Many HUGS to you!

Kirstin said...

Your writing is so good that I almost didn't even realize the changes to the blog! It looks great, though! I hope writing is as therapeutic to you as it is to me to read it...hang in there, you're amazing.

JenN said...

I thought about calling you last week, but I just didn't know if that would benefit either of us. It was so hard saying goodbye to Natalie, but not nearly as hard as saying goodbye to Henry. I did pretty well throughout the week, but at the end of her service they played "On Eagle's Wings" and I thought of Natalie and Henry and broke down. I felt physically weighed down in grief, much like you describe here. I will never know how you feel, but I do know that "heavy" feeling. Natalie's picture now sits next to Henry's on my refrigerator, and as much as I miss them both, their smiles lift my spirits daily.

Kelly said...

I love it! The layout is so so cute. Where did you get it?

Big hugs girl, big hugs.

Kimme said...

I love Doogie and now I will have his theme music in my head all night! Big {{{HUGS}}} my friend. you are on my mind.

Shannon Roberts said...

I think you are amazing!!! Blog looks great & I think nightly posts will help. BIG {{{HUGS}}}

Lynn said...

Sarah this "new" blog is a wonderful thing!
I know what you mean when you wrote about the grief overwhelming you, all though I've never experenced the pain that your feeling I have had the sadness of loosing someone close to me. It does seem to come over you at odd times but usually when I'm along driving in the car or even in the shower. Then after a cry I try and think about a happy time when we were together, a time that really makes me smile. Then I know that's when he's with me.
You're not alone {{HUGS}}

Diane S said...

I think you are inspiring.

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