December 31st marks the exit of an old year and the entry of a new one. Using a calendar is our way of organizing time to fit our finite way of thinking. The universe does not recognize our timetable, but the universe is infinite and hopefully will be here forever, unlike us. I was thinking this morning, that each new year only marks for me the time that has passed since I last saw my son, as this will be the fourth New Year’s Eve without him, and that grudgingly, I will enter the new year with a heavy heart and the knowledge of facing another year without him. This is probably true for millions of other people in facing the new year, as we all carry loss. However, although I too carry loss other than that for my child, and of which I seem to be able to put behind me, it is this particular loss that seems to cling to my heart. My arms still ache and my stomache feels empty. I wonder how am I going to face a lifetime of new years without him, and carry the knowledge that I must face each day without him devoid of the possibility that he will ever come home again.
Oftentimes I am told by people, with true kindness and compassion, things to help redirect my sorrow away from the reality that my son is gone. They reassure me that I will see my son again (someday) and that he is still here with me (in spirit) and also that he wants me to be happy (as I want for him), but all these words only make me feel like no one wants to acknowledge the fact that my son is physically dead and that his physical death is something I have to deal with. There really is no comfort from this truth or way to redirect my pain away from this fact. It doesn’t bring him back to join me in life the way he used to. He’ll never open Christmas presents from me again or smile at me again or talk to me again or anything in the physical realm, again. Sadly, there is no other way to process this other than with a heavy heart. I ask myself how will I go on living without my son.
I look back on the last three and a half years (since my son’s car accident) and I wonder how the heck I have been able to push myself to go forward with my life all the while carrying the burden of grief, living life without him, and the hopeless knowledge that he will never return. Somehow, someway I have molded a new life, a life that is full of peace and joy, a life that is 100 times more fulfilling than the life I had before my son died. How is this possible while still carrying the reality that my son is gone?
I suppose it just comes down to incorporating the loss so it becomes just another “part” of who I am, of my total self. I definitely face my grief as I face everything in my life, without medication or alcohol, and my loss is not “buried,” no, it with me everyday. I guess it’s more about recognizing and honoring my loss, while at the same time not allowing it to define my existence. Yes, I am a bereaved mother, but I am also a mother and a grandmother, a teacher, a philosopher and a writer, a singer and a dancer, someone who can renovate houses, an entrepreneur, etc. I cry, but I also laugh and dream and get aggravated (I am human) and try and soak up every minute of life I have left to live.
This New Year’s Eve, I will cry for the loss of my son, but I will also spend it laughing and joking with family. My loss is a part of the whole of me, not front and center, but as real and as close as everything else I feel in my life. I guess it means I am fully engaged in what it means to be human. I don’t hide how I feel nor do I ever shy away from growth and trying new things. I am moving forward and learning how to carry my loss with dignity and grace, all the while enthusiastically flowing along the currents of life atleast until life no longer flows through me. Happy New Year!
Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.