When does it end….when does it stop? What is “it”? “It” is the grief and the pain. Well, I hate to sound so negative, but it never stops. Since Aaron’s death, I’ve made it through the excruciating year of firsts. I’ve managed to make it through the second year of brutal reality and the permanence of Aaron’s absence. And now, I’m muddling my way through the third year. In year one, I assumed that by year three the grief would be somewhat easier. Sadly, I’m learning that it’s not.
Grief is capricious…it’s a constant swirl of emotions for which you cannot prepare. I assumed that in year three I would be able to better manage those emotions. That, however, is not true at all. I’m not any better equipped today than I was in the beginning. I’m still as fragile as I ever was. The only difference is that I’ve become better at suppressing my emotions. That, in and of itself, is not healthy…but it does help me manage and does help me to be productive.
Last Sunday was the hardest Mother’s Day I’ve had since Aaron died. You see, year one is all about the loss..the shock…the anger…and the first birthday…the first family trip…the first holiday….it’s all about surviving those firsts. Year two is, or has been for me, about accepting the reality of my loss and coming to grips with the fact that all of my hopes and dreams for Aaron died with him. It’s a terrible reality to have to accept. So far, this third year has been about losing what I have left of him. It feels as if it’s been forever since we lost Aaron…forever since I’ve seen his smile…forever since I’ve heard his laugh. And little by little, it feels as if his memory is slipping through my fingers…slowly dissipating before my eyes.
In the first two years, I isolated myself from people. There were a few people that I confided in regularly about my feelings, and starting this blog helped me express my feelings without having to talk about it. In the first three months of this third year, I have found, however, that I want to talk about him. I want to tell stories about him, and I want others to see him through my stories. I want to tell stories and be able to smile about it….and to cry…and for others to cry with me. Maybe that is in response to feeling as if I’m losing what I have left of him. I’m feeling the need to pull out his clothes….his navy travel bags…anything that might make me feel close to him again. This journey is so very hard…and the road doesn’t get any easier to travel.
The one thing I can say, though, is that my school family has embraced me throughout this experience. From the beginning, they brought me food..for two months after Aaron’s passing. Some would see me in the hallway and knew that I needed a hug….or that I needed to cry. They just knew…without me having to say a word. Many listened even though it might have made them uncomfortable. Some brought me gifts in honor of Aaron. They have been there for me through it all and I love them for their compassion and their empathy. They bought my tie dye shirts in honor of Aaron and wore them to support me. What has meant the most to me though is their willingness to listen…even in this third year…when many people think that “you should be greeting over this”. They have been willing to listen to me talk about him and have laughed with me as I told my story…actually his story. While others out in the world haven’t been so accepting and so willing to be there, my school family has been there with open arms…even in this third year.
To my school family…thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. Those words just don’t convey the gratitude I have for you. But…I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love, your friendship, and more importantly for walking this journey with me. You truly are like family.