Moms Columns & Blogs

Seasons of grief?

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Before this point in my life, I seemed to be able to handle the big things fairly well; it was the accumulation of little things that caused a meltdown.  By big things I mean career changes, my mom’s breast cancer, losing my grandfather…  Now it appears that anything throws me off, no matter how great or small…    

We have spent many weekends recently traveling to Columbia…there is still plenty of work to be done on my grandmother’s house at Lake Murray.  Each road trip vividly reminds me of the times I spent with Brian and Grace on this road to Chapin, doing what had to be done to preserve this pretty place…  It is not particularly easy for me to keep returning here, but I welcome the temporary relief from our intense memories at home and the corresponding emotional gauntlet we run each day.  We gain some additional support from my side of the family, and time apart from each other’s close company, which quite frankly, is very much needed.  When you are lost within the shadows of so many broken dreams, patience with and compassion for each other apparently goes missing as well…  

I keep searching for a real spark of life in John…even anger would be fine.  He has become old man winter…  Incredible suffering is all that I see in his eyes, his posture, and his spirit.  He has lost so much and each day consciously decides to go on for just a while longer…  John walks with the gait of a much older man, complete with stooping shoulders and shuffling feet…I suppose that he, like me, has effectively become much older than his actual age.  The resignation, the lack of fight, is unnerving…it is uncharacteristic of anything I have ever known of him… 

Grace is so obstinate in her refusal to acknowledge what we have become; she clings to the memories of our old life as though by her sheer determination alone she can return us there.  She sprints away from us, racing along the river of denial into the land of avoidance.  She has always been a headstrong child; I’m not sure if I have the stamina to keep up this constant contest of wills much longer…  She reminds me of fall, alternately warm and cool, where lingering leaves and sunny days contrast with morning frost and stinging breezes…     

Beth battles against the onslaught wrought by the changes in her world order.  She continues to blacken and burn the very air around her, as hot as the summer sun, furious and unforgiving in intensity…  She is running too, acting out her pain with increasingly reckless actions.  Beth is far less agreeable now, blistering with her opinions and judgments.  I feel the heat in her frustrations, and bitterness is a new companion…  She rarely asks for my input, but when she does I gently remind her that she can find release that doesn’t scorch the earth in her wake…  

So what season am I?  I am really all of them simultaneously…but I aspire to be like the springtime…  I keep trying to set a positive example for my family, attempting to model optimism and courage; these are my areas of fledgling growth, barely blooming but there, nonetheless…  I have heard stories of families disintegrating following the death of a child, but I stubbornly refuse to give up on us…  Brian would expect us to stay together and carry on in his stead.  I have roots that run far deeper than the dandelions gracing our front lawn, and tenacity greater than that of the wild violets scattered about the back yard…  Like snowdrops and daffodils reach for the sky at winter’s end, I look up, ever hopeful…   

Informal support group…meeting at Panera Bread, Matthews, NC on Saturday, April 25, 2009 @ 10:00 am.  Please send me a message if you plan to attend…  Wishing you hope… TG  

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator

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