Sunday, February 15, 2009
"Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"
Words can do damage.
There have been many insensitive things spoken to me in the last five years. Some words I allowed to haunt me for longer than I should have. Others I was able to let roll off my back knowing that the speaker had not meant to hurt me- They were simply too naive to know better.
The well-meaning words that bothered me more than most were, "One day you will feel better, it will just take time."
I have pondered this phrase often. I'm sure before I lost Andrew I even spoke it to others who had lost. But now, this was the phrase that haunted me. It came in different forms but it all meant the same to me. They were telling me that one day I would be better. The problem was, I didn't want to be better, not really. Not then.
I cried every day for months and months and months. I saw no light at the end of my tunnel. This grief was mine. No one could possibly know what I was feeling. Not even my dear husband. No one knew what it felt like to be Andrew's mom. No one knew the physical pain that I lived with knowing he was gone. That my dreams of knowing him- of being his mom were gone. Somehow grieving him made him close, made him important and I didn't want to let that go. The lives of others had gone on, and that made me angry. How could the world still spin when mine had stopped? I didn't want to be better. Somehow by not grieving it felt like I was letting go. Letting go of the grief meant letting go of him.
One day I didn't cry. I remember that evening sitting in my living room chair and realizing that I hadn't cried that day. And that made me cry. Somehow by letting go of my grief and my sadness (albeit just for a day) I felt like I was being a bad mother. By not aching and hurting from his absence, I was o.k. with it... and I wasn't!
Perhaps that is why "time" made me so angry. There aren't enough days in all of eternity that could possibly heal my heart. There aren't enough days for me to one day forget or to not miss him. When someone suggested that time would heal me it made me angry. Time doesn't heal. The heart of a mom who has lost a child does not heal.
What time does do is give you moments. Moments where you can breathe a little better. Moments where you suddenly find your laughter again. Time gives you pause. Reflection. Lessons. Moments. But it will not heal you. Nothing will.
When I meet moms who have recently lost a child, I never tell them that in time they will feel better (even though I know now that there is a certain truth to that statement). I know the odd sense of comfort that grief can bring, and I understand not wanting to let it go. What I tell them is that they will never forget their child, there will always be someone they will be missing, and time will allow them to find their own way, time will give them the tools, time will help them find their smile again- when they're ready. Yes time will be there, and so will I- I will be there for as much time as you need me, and then some.
You will find your smile again. Perhaps it will be your angel that sends it to you- knowing that you have someone waiting for you- Knowing that you have someone- Someone that you loved more than anyone else- Someone that slept to the sound of your heartbeat- Someone that you kept safe as long as you could. They know it. I know it. And sometimes it is time that will give you that. Moments.
Think of what you say... think before you say it... No one knows the mind of a grieving mom, not even this grieving mom. These were my words. What were yours?