I recently had a conversation with a sister-in-law in which she asked me to keep her and her family in my prayers. As she shared the different battles she had been quietly struggling with, I asked her a simple question. “How do you do it? Suddenly, it became quiet with the silence only broken by gasps for air in between the tears. I let her cry. I didn’t want to interrupt the release of anguish pent up inside of her. She composed herself and then apologized for crying. I assured her that it was perfectly okay to cry. As a matter of fact, I encouraged her to cry. It is nature’s way of cleansing our souls.

I wanted to cry along with her, but I stopped myself. I did not want to infringe on her sadness and somehow, turn around and make it my own. Once we hung up. I realized a very sobering and sad truth. It wasn’t hard for me to stop my tears. As I was listening to her talk, I did feel my eyes well up with tears, the sting of pain ever so evident, but I never cried. Where once I couldn’t pass a McDonald’s without breaking down into a ball of grief, I found myself stopping my tears as easily as I could hold my breath. I was filled with guilt, anger, and sadness. When did it happen?? When did it become so easy to stop my tears from falling??? When did I shut off my emotional self?

In the first year or so after Joey passed, my face was always wet. Tears flowed freely never discriminating whether I was alone in the shower, or in the middle of a crowded grocery store. Thoughts of him would fill my head and the waterworks would start. It could be sweet memories of when he was the precious chubby little boy taking his first steps, being in the grocery store and seeing rice Krispy treats, or the horrific flashbacks of seeing his lifeless body for the first time.  There were a couple times when I was approached by concerned strangers asking if I was ok or if they could call someone for me. There were nights my husband has had to hold on to me so tight just to try to stop my body from convulsing from anguish.  No matter hard as I wanted to stop, (who likes hearing themselves sound like a wounded animal) there was no controlling my emotions. This overwhelming feeling of pain and despair would take over me and pull me into a world of darkness. There was NO fighting it, there was no stopping it.  No matter how hard I tried, I lost all control. So, when did that stop and why do I feel so guilty about it?

Grief, especially with the loss of a child, is a continual event. I have always said that it is a never-ending journey that you must navigate on your own. There is just no “getting over” the loss of a child. There is no moving on. There is no “Time heals all wounds.” Some parents sink into a lifetime of darkness and depression, paralyzed by the emptiness in their soul. Others have no choice but to push their grief way deep down inside of them and move on.  They must survive the unimaginable for ONLY one reason and nothing else…  for the sake of their other living children. I knew I had to become the latter. I had my two other precious children who needed me  to be in the present if only to help them through the worst time of their lives. When everyone else was falling apart around them, I had to keep them intact. I also had my mom, whom I didn’t want to die from her grief of not only losing her first born grandchild but also watching her daughter slowly die a little each day. No, I had to be the strong one. I had to figure out how to mend myself on my own. Little did I know at the time that there is really no mending. It is merely putting a band aid on a wound so deep that would require an endless number of stitches for the rest of your life. Eventually, those stitches become fruitless because the wound never fully heals.

Where is that part written in the Seven stages of Grief?  It never really comes in order anyway:

  1. Shock and denial.
  2. Pain and guilt. …
  3. Anger and bargaining. …
  4. Depression. …
  5. The upward turn. …
  6. Reconstruction and working through. …
  7. Acceptance and hope.

Did this mean I am starting to heal and maybe moving on? Do I want to heal and move on?? Of course I don’t! And ACCEPTANCE? Never, ever.  That would mean that it was OK for Joey to die! What a sick and twisted stage I have landed in and why didn’t anyone warn me?  No, all this means is that there is one more stage of grief.  

  • 8.Affliction, traumatism and confusion

I plan on moving away from it quickly from this stage. I plan on ME controlling it and not IT controlling me!   I will no longer hold my tears, I will not allow someone to say, “sshh don’t cry”.  I will cry in the car, I will cry in the shower, in the grocery store anywhere I damn feel like crying.  I will cry and not stop until my soul is cleansed and at peace. Once the tears stop flowing, I will take a deep breath and I will look up into the heavens and smile.  For only then, will I bring peace to myself, to others…. but especially to Joey.   

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and then there were 2. I am the mom to 3 beautiful adult children..2 are still physically with me....One is with us in spirit. Even though they are adults, they will always my babies. I hope you follow me on my journey. Though we are all different, we are all the same

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