Life After Beau

These are just a few things I've written. In this emotionally chaotic time, it helps to organize my thoughts.
Thank you for sharing this life with me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Impatient anyways.

I have been a member of the MISS (Mothers in Sympathy and Support) forum for a few months, and have been connecting with fellow bereaved mothers, people experiencing losses. A fellow bereaved mother posted this quote, and others asked if they could post it on their Facebooks. And since I am now living Facebook-free, I thought it was important enough to post it here....she speaks volumes.....

This is my path. It was not a path of my choice, but it is a path I must walk mindfully with intention. It is a journey through grief that takes time. Every cell in my body aches and longs to be with my beloved child. I may be impatient, distracted, frustrating, and unfocused. I may get angry more easily, or I may seem hopeless. I will shed many, many, many tears. I won’t smile as often as my old self. Smiling hurts now. Most everything hurts some days, even breathing, but please, just sit beside me, say nothing. Do not offer a cure, or a pill, or a word, or a potion. Witness my suffering and don't turn away from me. Please be gentle with me. Please, self, be gentle with me, too. I will not ever "get over it" so please don’t urge me down that path. Even if it seems like I am having a good day, maybe I am even able to smile for a moment, the pain is just beneath the surface of my skin. Some days, I feel paralyzed. My chest has a nearly constant sinking pain and sometimes I feel as if I will explode from the grief. This is affecting me as a woman, a mother, a human being. It affects every aspect of me: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I barely recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Remember that grief is as personal to each individual as a fingerprint. Don't tell me how I should or shouldn’t be doing it or that I should or shouldn’t “feel better by now.” Don't tell me what's right or wrong. I'm doing it my way, in my time. If I am to survive this, I must do what is best for me. Surviving this means seeing life’s meaning change and evolve. What I knew to be true or absolute or real or fair about the world has been challenged so I'm finding my way, moment-to-moment in this new place. Things that once seemed important to me are barely thoughts any longer. I notice life's suffering more- hungry children, the homeless and the destitute, a mother’s harsh voice toward her young child or by an elderly person struggling with the door. So many things I struggle to understand. Don’t tell me that “God has a plan” for me. This, my friend, is between me and my God. Those platitudes seem far too easy to slip from the mouths of those who tuck their own child into a safe, warm bed at night: Can you begin to imagine your own child, flesh of your flesh, lying lifeless in a casket, when “goodbye” means you’ll never see them on this Earth again? Grieving mothers- and fathers- and grandparents- and siblings won’t wake up one day with everything 'okay' and life back to normal. I have a new normal now. Oh, perhaps as time passes, I will discover new meanings and insights about what my child’s death means to me. Perhaps, one day, when I am very, very old, I will say that time has truly helped to heal my broken heart. But always remember that not a second of any minute of any hour of any day passes when I am not aware of the presence of my child's absence, no matter how many years lurk over my shoulder. Love never dies. - Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Founder of the Center for Loss and Trauma/MISS Foundation

I can identify with each and every word, so much.

In one of the baby loss books I have read ("Still to Be Born" by Schwiebert & Kirk) that my dear friend Lori sent to me, it says "Most people find that it takes more than 48 hours to two weeks to get their lives back to a normal routine after suffering the death of a close friend or relative....For bereaved parents, however, the readjustment of one's life following a loss of a child takes approximately 18 to 24 months. This does not mean that after 18 to 24 months the death is forgotten; it simply means that this much time is needed to come to terms with the loss."
I try to remember this when I am getting impatient with my grief (like now, for example). Impatient with why can't I get through [not over] this easier, why is it so hard to move forward with life, why do I still get upset at seemingly little things, why do the tears seem never ending, why does the pain seem to still spin me upside down & inside out, am I ever going to feel better, am I going to die from an actual broken heart, should I invest into stock with the Kleenex company... and all of those questions....

And what's further frustrating, is that I talk to people about grief, professionally. I get paid to talk to people who are in pain. I chose my profession with intention, in my early twenties. I intellectually understood pain. I minored in psych (well, who didn't, really) and thought I understood what grief was all about. I have been in my profession (victim assistance/advocacy) for almost 12 years now, with a couple short breaks squeezed in. Started by working in rape crisis, moved to managing domestic violence shelters, facilitated group counseling sessions with people in horrible situations, and now to my current position working with victims of felonies in a large city. I really can't imagine doing anything else. For years, I have looked human pain straight in the face and sat down with it and had conversations, as if we were old friends. Yeah, sure, pain, I know. I've heard it all before.

Well, until this happened to me. And pain took on a whole new meaning, and a whole new unwelcome intimacy. Sometimes I feel like a dentist who brushed her teeth every day, still wound up with a cavity, and was dumbfounded for how to fix it. Bad analogy probably.

But I still get impatient with the whole grieving process, think to myself, "it's been almost 6 months", looking forward to that benchmark in fact, for when I can start to feel better ("is that when I can start to feel better? Is 6 months enough to turn the corner already?") And then I remember that grief is not on my time-table, and get frustrated all over again. I am not in charge of this beast, I'm just trying to find ways to tame it, just to please LAY DOWN for a little while. And when it gets up again, I get pissed, naturally. And I want to rip my hair out and scream. Stupid Grief Beast. When will it fucking learn...

And I'm really not trying to wallow in my own sorrow, feel sorry for myself, or dwell on the past. I'm really trying not to do that. I wish so, so, incredibly much that I was back to my old self. I wish I didn't have this pain to carry. I want to be in love with life again, like I was for my whole 32 years, and tell people I am "fabulous!" again when they ask how I'm doing (yes, I was that annoying person) and dance like Napoleon Dynamite again (I wish) and laugh without feeling disloyal to my dead son. But then again, I think, "But that's why Beau picked me to be his mama." So the disloyalty is starting to fade a tiny bit.....but when will it stop? I can't help but to think that. And when will my patience with this begin?


  1. You are oh so right Minnow...this bereaved mother (who wrote this article) does speak volumes. Such raw and authentic feelings! And I, as well, can identify with all that she has expressed.

    And all that you have expressed too...
    Such heart wrenching feelings...but so very, very real. You are not alone in having such feelings either.

    You expressed that you keep asking WHY...
    "Why can't I get through this easier?" "Why can't I move forward in life?" "Why do I get upset at even the little things?" "Why do tears seems to never stop?" The answer is all too painfully clear ....because Beau is still not here, but the love remains. That's why it hurts so much and takes so long to heal.

    Even though you might be feeling frustrated and impatient...and want to find some healing and relief. You are doing exactly what needs to be done. You are fully feeling the emotions (not hiding from them) and expressing them too. Over and over again...

    I recently read an article that said 50% of people's grief is relieved just through talking and writing about one's feelings and struggles.

    So you are right on track with how you are going about getting your grief to come out. The proof is in your speaking and writing...and the love that radiates from you to Beau is absolutely beautiful.

    You may not feel like you are getting anywhere, but you really are Minnow. You really are...

    A big giant hug is coming your way right now...I hope you can feel it!

  2. You write so beautifully and from the heart. As a friend of your father's I had been following your pregnancy from the beginning. Unless you've been there, one simply can't imagine the emotional devastation this must create in you. But you are a gifted communicator and through your words you take the reader with you through the experiences, albeit from a safe distance.
    I have tremendous admiration and respect for your strength and your drive to go on and make something meaningful of this tragic event. You are a very bright, capable and strong woman. Your pain will never completely go away, your life is forever changed, but you will make it through this part, of that I have no doubt. I am a writer myself and find you a fascinating read, especially because of the rawness with which you write, from the gut. Keep writing, minnow. I grieve with you and for you and your family (I know Bob is crushed). Thank you for sharing a very personal, vulnerable part of yourself. I wish i could just take you in my arms, give you a reassuring hug, and just sit with you while you cry.
    Keep up this excellent, therapeutic work. May you find healing bit by bit, on your own time. Thank you for sharing your gift and story...