Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Ugly Monster

Uglier than my wildest imagination, and now the realization that the ugliness is but a monster, and the monster is in me.
Grief is difficult, painful, and I think in my case, debilitating work. It is taking all of me. If I'm not the me I used to be, I'm sorry, but I'm trying to survive. Its ironic how each time in ones life you think that you have fallen on hard times, only to discover that it was small potatoes in comparison to what’s going on now. Is this blog a part of my grief work? I think that my writing is accepting what life and death looks like. Good, bad, struggle, denial, you name it, I go through it, and often times I take you all with me. It is making room for all the pain, so that it doesn't crowd out the other things in my life. My living children’s lives, my loved ones, all.
My journal quilt scares the hell out of me! Maybe….. as I have stated many times before, it is simply trying to purge what’s inside so that it will no longer cause unimaginable if not unmanageable pain.
A friend, and local quilt shop owner emailed a profound sentiment to me, and I wondered if I was in line with what she recommended, or she was “out of line”. The end of her note read :

“Keep your chin up G Woman, everyday you have is a day to celebrate the days you had
with your son and the remaining members of your family. Try to remember
that they lost him too, but if you fail to thrive, they also lose YOU. His
path was short, yours is long and affects all around you.”

I am not going to candy coat what I am going through to make other people more comfortable. I tire of being strong, but I do wish and WILL thrive again one day. I get ill when I see my pretending face in the mirror. I get angry that I’m so darned angry, and yet so weak sometimes. This is what losing a child feels like. This is what it does to a life. This is how agonizing it is. The feelings are real, no matter what anyone says. Healthy behavior ( I think) is to acknowledge them, experience them for what they are, and maybe, all will be okay one day. I fear that I will explode unexpectedly if not relieved from time to time. (spontaneously combust?)In ANY manner of expression. So I must not pretend to” not know” the monster inside of me, I must rid myself of it. I’m just very afraid of the cost. What, who, how much will this cost me? I find myself whispering under my breath to a few people, “please don’t go”. And a nasty flash crosses my minds eye of the whisper to my son as I said goodbye knowing he was in a black box. Not any of them could hear me, as I feel no one can hear me now, nor would I want them to.
Again I say that I am not alone in the grieving parent club. Altho it feels this way quite often. This is the new me. I will not ever “get over it, & get on with it”. Anyone familiar with the line in the movie Shawshank Redemption “ Get busy living, or get busy dieing? I used to think that way, now I know that there’s a whole spectrum of gray scale in between. I will never stop grieving for my son. A limb has indeed been severed, but I can and will thrive without it, for the sake of those left behind whom I love. For the sake of honoring a love, that’s now gone.
Most people avoid death. That is part of being human. A deep respect for life naturally leads to an avoidance of death. Sometimes it’s a fine line between when to keep fighting and when to let go. I pray that I will always have the will to live. Of course death is a part of life, I wish people would stop saying this to me…. but no parent accepts the death of their child. It is much easier to accept for a person who has lived a long life, than for a child just starting theirs.
I will no longer pretend I’m fine when I’m not. When I have issues, I will say so, so that the next time you run into someone going through this, or it happens to your friend, or maybe you lose your own child, you will know that this is normal. This is what grief looks like, and its ugly. The ugly monster. I cannot get around it. I can only go through it, step by aching step. It’s not my choice, its just the way that it is. Maybe it will help someone, just one someone, someday. We, I believe, as one little person, with 2 hands and one heart can make a difference. Be it in voting, teaching, counseling, Mothering, loving, even making a quilt block. Even blogging! I CAN make a difference.
Thanks once again dear blog readers, for listening to my ramblings, for praying for my family, for your encouragement, and yes, for every heartfelt stitch or word on the quilt I wrap myself in on a nightly basis. The heart of life is very good. Despite the Ugly Monster.


Diana said...

I read your blog religiously. Today is no different. I'm sorry to see you are struggling today. Take care friend.
Diana Wilson

DearGina said...

Thank you Diana, it means alot to me:)

Carol said...

You have great courage and honesty! Your writing goes directly to my heart and I know others can hear you. Please keep being who you are - greatly loving and willing to share your grief. Thank you for being you!

Mary said...

I've lost loved ones but never a child - not even a miscarriage much less one of my adult children.

It IS hard to read your blog at times, your grief is so raw but it IS your blog - write what helps you.

There is no *one size fits all* for grief.

The Sarah Bear said...

I want a magic wand that works... I would give it to you.

I love you.


Desert Threads said...

Getting your feelings out in the open is a step in the healing process. You know that we are all here for you my friend.Just a phone call or a chat away.

Feather on a Wire said...

Dear Gina,
I have no words for you, I don't think they exist.
Please don't be so hard on yourself. I don't know anyone who has lost a child 'get over it'.
In the people I know there comes a point where the grief is still there but incorporated into the rest of their life. When that point comes is different for everyone.
It's not a 'club' anyone should have to join.
Much love,

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who lost her precious 16 year old (fell out of a hay loft) and she told me that she could write a book quoting the various inappropriate but well intentionned things that caring people have said to her. I will say nothing - what could I possibly say except to please keep on blogging & doing whatever you have to do - it HAS to help somewhat or you wouldn't do it - I think you are brave to share with us. I will meet you someday I hope - you are indeed a gift to your cyber friends & a true blessing to those who know you personally. Do whatever it takes to carry on.

Sharon Dixon said...

Gina, I also read your blog religiously. You write from the heart and I admire you for being able to express your thoughts so well. Keep writing and sharing....the good and the bad....and the ugly. Your wisdom gives us insight and will hopefully keep the rest of us from being one of those people who makes stupid, trite statements to grieving parents.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what her intent was behind that statement, but you could choose to interpret it like this: "Don't give up. People love you, people need you, and there is still happiness in the world. Grieve - you must grieve as hard and as long as you need - but recognize that there is still life in your world." I don't think she wants you to pretend not to feel the awfulness. I think she just wants to encourage you to feel the goodness, too.

I have a theory about grief. From the moment you meet someone, you begin blowing up a balloon. Every interaction adds to the air in that balloon. Each time you acknowledge the eventuality of their death, you slip a little pinhole into the balloon. When they leave you, you let go of the balloon and the remaining air leaves in a rush. If it someone you knew only briefly, the rush is short. If they were ill and their death was expected, the rush is short. If this person was close to you and their death was a surprise, there is a lot of air left in that balloon. When you let go it roars out, sending the balloon flying madly around the room. It takes time, it makes a mess, it is visible and audible and cannot be contained. His balloon will be flying for a long time.

Anonymous said...

We as Moms will never be the same after losing a child, a beloved son, they had so much ahead of them, our appearance to others might be you look great and inside we are saying we are great actors aren't we, we paint a picture of I am okay when we are not, everyday, I too am in pain, to great to define, thank you for writing this, I feel like this but hold it in, it is my way, you know, we have both been on the opposite ends of the phone line when our days are too unbearable, our strength as unknown Moms grieving the loss of our sons are mutually felt and understood, I am so lucky to have you there and I am always here for you... Will we always be lost, will we always be amputees, will we always be empty, I do not have the answer, I just know of today and that is all that matters.....We know this all to well.. I love ya Gina and wish we had a easier path ahead, life will never be nor has it been good without my Sons voice, his smell, his hugs, his I love you more and yes his bodily function noises, I want more then memories.... I hope today is easier, know that I am here 24/7 and my heart grieves for you as well..... Ronda

Gayle said...

I happen to think you sound very normal. That same monster lives in many of us for many different reasons.

You are right, one person DOES make a difference. Today, YOU are that person making the difference to your readers. Thanks for doing that for us.


Anonymous said...

even with your ugly monster, you have and will most assured make a difference in every life you encounter. you are a special woman who is going through a horrific tragedy...the length and width of your grief is yours alone...traverse it as you see fit.

Karen A.

Gretchen said...

Grief is a monster, it never goes away - just changes. I do believe it resides in us all, your grieving is normal. Normal for you and that is all that matters. Hugs to you today.

Anonymous said...

Oh Gina, I can feel your pain. I don't think you should try to make people feel better about YOUR pain. It is what it is. I hope that what you've written here helps you. We are all thinking of you and wishing you well.

Anonymous said...

mom, Im sorry youre having a bad day. In the words of John Mayer.."say what you need to say". Act how you want, WHATEVER HELPS YOU FEEL BETTER. I dont know how it feels to lose a child, but I can tell you how it is to lose your baby brother. I know that it doesnt come close to your pain. I have 2 kinds of pain. My own selfish pain of losing my brother, AND having my own mother live day to day with grief and pain. I hope you find some peace soon. I love you

Freda said...

Gina, you are in my prayers daily. I can't imagine the pain you and Ronda have gone through and will continue to have. Please know that you can say anything on your blog and we will understand. I pray that your grief will get easier on you so you don't suffer as much as you are now. We all love you Gina.

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