It feels like a million years since I posted last. I don't like that. Friends of mine are doing these status posts, and I feel the need to do the same. I'll use this to get my feet wet again...
All through my grief journey, I've wondered if I'm doing this right. If I'm grieving correctly. That probably comes from years of pop culture and "experts" telling me about the five stages of grief (which are almost never applied correctly, but that's another story). The world thinks we are to move linearly through these cleanly-defined stages, eventually reaching an end.
It's nothing like that.
Fifteen months and two weeks ago, my sweet Carpenter died. Not a single day goes by that I don't think of him. Hell, I'd bet I don't go an hour. And that's the way it always has been, from the beginning.
I suppose the way I think of him--the things I think--those have changed, though.
In the first six months, it was not uncommon to find me sobbing on the floor of my closet. I kept a pillow in there for just that purpose. Now I don't feel things as intensely as I used to. I worry this is because I'm hiding that part of myself away. But I still feel the grief...
I have "valleys". My valleys are those days or weeks where I'm drowning in a fog. I can see what's around me, but not much further than that. I forget about (ignore?) the rest of the world and close down into the valley. It's a quiet, lonely place. I try to shut out the world, but...
I know I have to work on my relationships. In the early months, many friendships suffer at the hands of intense grief. Too many fail to pass the test that comes with death. But that doesn't allow me to just avoid everyone. Relationships are work, and relationships marred by grief are excruciating. Mike and I have trudged our way through a number of valleys, and each one took serious hard work to overcome. We keep fighting the good fight against the fog because...
While my grief and my son are constantly parts of me, they are not the only parts of me. In the beginning, I felt like nothing would ever matter again. This was me: a broken, destroyed mother to a dead child. And yes, I am still broken. I am destroyed. My son is dead. But I am so much more than just that.
I have true friends, and I am now able to be a friend to those who supported me. I am a strong woman, and I now use my strength to lift up other angel moms. I am a hard worker, and I now work towards raising awareness and support. I am a wife, and I can see that my husband has saved me--a million times. I am a mother, and this is the most important part of me. I am a mother to three children. And every single day, I parent those children.
The grief has not gone away. It has instead infiltrated my life. But I cannot see this as a negative, because to do that would be to see Carpenter's life as a negative. Instead, I see the positive ways in which grief has shaped me.
I am a better person for having grieved.
I am a better person for having known my beautiful son.
Fifteen months and two weeks...and a little perspective.