My Grief Challenges

“1, 2, 3~~~crunch” May 11, 2014



While at the beach,  I enjoyed putting up different memorial messages, for Shawn.  From my room, I  watched, as  folks monied up and looked. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were pretty wet days, and the wind kept blowing me over. I found, it was easier to place the glass blobs in wet sand.  Monday was looking nice. So, I decided to head out early and change the wording.
My hope was to maybe change the wording twice.  I had stood a couple times and saw that there were balcony watchers. I was tickled that all the visitors didn’t disturb my feeble works. I tried to get a photo showing the bird and dog prints-they went to a certain point then turned around. There were 2 blobs missing.  I think the crows had thought they had come upon a wonderful treat. They probably did the “1, 2, 3~~~crunch”.  Remember the Tootsie Pop commercial ?
I finished, and went back to the room. It was so gorgeous. Time for a beach walk.  I checked Shawn’s area,  I placed a new Rockaway Beach Footstool,  tidied-and went my merry way.  I had been gone at least an hour, I thought I would  do another wording.  As I was looking at the 2 blobs gone, I saw something next to Shawn’s t-shirt. It looked like a cross.  As, I was gathering some of the broken blobs to cover the missing ones, I saw someone heading my way. I was unsure if she was going to speak,  so I said “Hello”.  She immediately apologized, for the cross. I told her it was a sweet gesture. She told me she had enjoyed seeing the new  phrases.  She had just viewed the newest one, before heading out on a  beach walk.  Right at her step was this plastic that had somehow been broken into a cross shape. She knew the perfect place for it. When she placed it, she was so worried that the sand writer was going to feel intruded upon.
I told her how thoughtful her action had been. I showed her when looking up, from where we were standing, how the power pole looked like a cross-she couldn’t believe it. We shared situations.  I learned, she is a Mom that had to decide 14 years ago about shutting the machines off on her daughter. I asked her if the guilt ever goes away.  She said all emotions change, some ease, some take a back seat, But at that moment, she was back 14 years ago-the decision day. She said there will come a time when memories will be more joy filled. She admonished me to not squelch the bad feelings, just let them do their thing. She had told me that it was an accomplishment getting through the first year. I told her how wonderful to meet another Mom. I thanked her for having the courage to talk to me. She had been so worried about intruding—she must have apologized at least 3 times. For some reason, we both mentioned our ache for the parents who have a missing child, some for many years. Who reaches out to them ?  Has their story been forgotten ???       For quite some time,  I have been wondering how one can reach out to those folks ???
I have been reading about how other Moms have done on their grief journeys. I guess the main thing all have had happen to them is that family and friends tend to think that because the first year is gone-all the firsts have been conquered, normalcy can take over. Debbie was quick to say that the grief pain is going to take time. There will be many triggers, many ups and downs—that is okay.             For me, I still suffer a great deal from guilt. Mom Debbie, she told me her guilt, in time, did ease.  She assured me, it will get better as I adjust to Shawn’s goneness- she liked that word.  For Debbie, it took some time to think of her memories with her daughter as happy ones. She said it just happened. Work through the pain, disappointments in others, if you need to be alone to get the grief out-then do that. In time you will want to join life again,  but only when your body has dealt with the loss. To hurry it means putting aside issues that haven’t cured yet. Take the time you need, be sad, be frustrated,but please quit beating yourself up. A lot of energy is used when ourselves are grieving, so for a time there isn’t a lot to give-that is alright. You know yourself and your qualities, you know in time you will have the want to again, to find ways to help others, but for now, let yourself deal with your loss the way you need to.  I apologized to Mom Debbie, I had hoped I hadn’t made her sad. She did say our talk brought the ache-as if her decision day, was just yesterday.  She said she is stronger, now, than 14 years ago, so all was okay. We hugged and Mom Debbie left to go watch the sunset. I gulped, how could I ever be as strong as Mom Debbie, and why did we not exchange information ? A strange ache of incredible lonesomeness, occurred. I sat on my beach footstool to let the waves of emotion hit until the pain eased. The sound of the waves was so calming, and the sky so beautiful.

The next morning I was setting out to go change the Shawn’s wordings.  Someone called to me. Who knew me here? It was Debbie. The day before we hadn’t exchanged anything-and I was sure I would never see her again. There she was, hopping out of the van-before it was stopped. She wanted to give me a final hug-we had not realized we were staying in the same place. She wanted me to make sure I push through the pain, don;t fight it. I asked if we could exchange emails. She was all too happy.  Just That morning I had placed a notepad in my beach bag. Again, I apologized for being a downer.  Mom Debbie said, she was just fine.    God knew I needed someone who knew why I was feeling the way I was.  As Mom Debbie was leaving she gave me a warning. She exclaimed, before turning to get back in the waiting van:   20140506_123950 “You know Mother’s Day is coming up next weekend, and it is going to hit hard, just push through.”  How did she know ? I had heard commercials regarding Mother’s Day, but I really hadn’t put it together until Mom Debbie said something. I, then, remembered how awful card hunting was last year, with Bob.  Shawn had been dead, only a few days. Me, weeping in the card shop.        Just pushin’ through.

I know this is an important weekend for many. I do want to thank God for the Mom He saw fit to give to my 2 brothers and myself.   God was providing  for 3 children-who didn’t understand His ways.   I have been told by various family and friends of the many sacrifices Mom made over the years, she won’t talk about them, how I hope she knows of my gratefulness.

Thanks Mom, I LOVE YOU !!!


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