As my family reluctantly recalls the events of November 22nd, we find it almost unbelievable that it had been nearly one year since we lost Konnor.
For nine long months we have struggled to come to terms with his passing and to say it has been a long hard road is not even close to the truth. It’s been agonizing.
For grievers the movement of time is just the tick of a clock, for us the passage of time stopped when Konnor’s heart ceased to beat. Our idea of time has been measured by a before and after. Before Konnor died and after.
When something this profound happens such as a child dying unexpectedly, recovery is not simple; it’s lonely, it’s messy and it’s extremely painful. Those who have not been through it have no idea what to say or do for those who grieve. So we often suffer alone. At times that has made it so much more isolating. There were times I thought I would never stop crying. Months went by and day in and day out and I couldn’t stop. The physical and emotional pain was so great it had no place to go but out. You wonder how you can go on. I remember being out grocery shopping and wondering if anyone could see how broken I was. Why couldn’t anyone see it?
Immediately after Konnor’s death the first impulse was to place myself and my daughter in grief therapy. I suppose this was more to prevent a complete breakdown for either of us. I did attend a few sessions and encouraged my daughter to attend as well. In retrospect, it was akin to placing a band-aid on a gaping wound. The outpouring of emotions was going to happen regardless of where I was and it certainly didn’t need to be with this certified therapist. The only way to cope with this loss is to go through it. Ride it out with my family and hang on like the roller coaster that it is going to be. There is no other way.
Those suffering a huge loss do go on. Really there is no other choice but to keep moving forward. But the process is so very slow. The ebb and flow of emotions, the moodiness. We are living our lives as best as we can. But we are now living behind a shroud of grief, obscured by sorrow and heartache. We feel it, we are changed. It is not something we think about, it’s something we are. Something we are trying to get out from under but continue to struggle against. Because grief can cause dysfunction, and the damage that follows is inescapable.
My daughter threw herself into school and work. The mental and emotional state of the mother after the loss of her child is inconceivable to me. My heart aches for her and I can’t make things better which is a mother’s natural impulse when her child is hurting. This keeps me awake at night.
If Konnor were here I’m sure my daughter would not have lost so much more since he left..
Grievers may behave abnormally if not unconsciously irrational for the first year. I quit my job without having another in place. I cannot handle stress. In my current job if the stress gets to be too much I begin to shake, I can’t breathe and I start to cry. I don’t like to talk, I used to. I’m tired all the time. I have a chronic stomach ache. I look in the mirror and I see myself aged ten years.
Grievers don’t really think about consequential issues. We can’t. It’s too complicated. We only feel. We feel sad. We feel numb. We feel tired. We feel frustrated. We feel lonely. We move forward in time without a plan. We don’t like it this way. We don’t want to be this way. This is our reality. Please don’t ask too much of us right now. We are indecisive, moody, maybe angry. We don’t think about tomorrow and we don’t remember yesterday.
One year means nothing to us. If someone were to say to me “Have you come to terms with his death?” I would ask them how long they thought it would take to get over losing one of their children or their grandchildren. Time does not heal all wounds. Yes, it has softened it. But it will never heal, not fully. Konnor is forever imbedded in my heart. I think of him every single day. Do you know how goofy he was?? Did you know he was just the funniest kid! And he loved to cuddle his grandma! This was my Konnor. How insensitive does it sound to me when someone would even think we should be “over” the loss of this beautiful boy within one year. There is no time limit on grief. You can’t measure love. Nor can you measure grief in moments of time.
For myself, my daughter and Konnor’s father, our lives are still a work in process after this loss. Konnor’s parents are having to start over. They lost everything when they lost him. Homes included. As a mom I carry the weight of my daughter’s burdens as well and as she suffers, I suffer. It’s a long hard road. Grief does not end with the passage of time or the movement of the clock. It continues for us with every beat of our hearts.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without and your heart will be badly broken and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”