Have you ever sat by the water’s edge and watched the ducks swim around? I know you and I didn’t get to do that together, but maybe there’s a pond in Heaven that’s filled with ducks near the playground where you run around with your friends.
They seem to just glide across the water, so calm, so serene. But if you were to put on goggles and watch what’s happening below them, you’d see that their little webbed feet are totally submerged and they’re paddling like a giant crocodile is after them.
Sometimes I feel like a duck. I seem okay…calm even, but underneath I’m running a marathon which has no end. Today, I woke up feeling full of sadness and regret.
My grief is changing, it’s fading away, and when I look at what I’m left with I’m brought right back into that tiny consultation room off to the side of the Emergency Room where we were told you “expired”. I’m overwhelmed with a sense of “what now?” just as I was the day you died. But this time it’s filled with regret.
I feel like my life is a mess. I’ve accepted that I’ll always be sad and I’m okay with that (what choice do I have!). But when I let the grief evolve into what it’s trying to be, I am stuck wondering if I have made the right choices for myself, for my family, since you died? I feel so unsettled, so unanchored, ungrounded even.
I’ve been praying a lot. Not even looking for answers but hunting for any small space where I find peace. One thing I’ve realized is that, quite a bit of the time, I find solace in food. I find a moment when I feel busy with something that I know I can easily accomplish, something that fills me up, that distracts me…but it’s all an illusion. And what am I left with? I’m left physically carrying the weight of my grief.
And our home. We worked so hard to buy our first home in 2008. Then when you died, when life hit the reset button, we sold and moved as quickly as possible. I think the entire sale and move took a month. We abandoned everything that was familiar in search of comfort, in search of old familiarities that didn’t remind us of you because thinking of you meant thinking about your death and all of the trauma that we endured that day. Was it the right choice? At the time, it was the only choice. I couldn’t live there any longer. But now we’re left renting; each year wondering where we will go next if we go anywhere at all.
And we have spent so much money in desperate attempts to feel alive, happy, something…anything! We travel to get away from the ghost of the life we once had and the sadness of the life we have now. We long for what we can’t have and then we turn around and try to bond with our girls because we feel guilty for grieving our loss and not focusing on the beauty that remains.
So today, overwhelmed with sadness, regret, and wonder; I have to ask myself…
I love you, my beautiful son. I wish you were still here.