Do I get out of bed to face the morning pain?Why are my feet and my socks soaking? I stepped out of my bed into a huge puddle of hurt and anxiety. As if the room had flooded overnight and I need rubber boots and a life jacket to survive. Yesterday was so long and negative. Am I ready to do it all over again?
I throw back my bedsheets, stretch my tired muscles, and wipe the tears from the edge of my eyes. My son is still dead and my world is still flooding each day with emotional tsunamis. Calm, then turmoil, but never stillness or peace. I pray for them but get no relief.
I paddle my way to the kitchen waiting for the next wave to crash all around me. I didn’t ask to be on these waters; this isn’t the trip I signed up for.
I try to think of thoughts each day to get me through, but more often than not I am struggling for air as I swallow the surges of grief that pound me in the face.
A sign flashing on the bank for an upcoming 5k, but the last thing I expected was to see my son’s name scroll across that yellow-bubbled screen. Out of nowhere a slam into my chest as if I was struck by a huge anchor being hurled into the water. It doesn’t hit and stop. It has to fall all the way through me and never feels like it hits the bottom. It just gets heavier and heavier, until I am hit with the next one.
Walking into watch my daughter play volleyball at my son’s high school, I see his friends. He should have been a senior. Some say hi, some look away and I get punched in the chest again. The questions come on so fast and so quick. It’s like they are always right below the water and waiting to pop up like a submarine in enemy waters. Why is he not standing in that line or sitting in these stands? Why are these kids alive and not mine? Why is her big brother not here to watch her play? What would he look like as a man today? But I have to continue the battle, a battle that is very real. The trauma returns to my upper back as I relive holding him in my arms on that street. I cheer for the girls and yell and the other team. I even make small talk with some of the dads. Inside i am dying, or dead, or just really sad. Mad. Who knows what i am, not even me, not sure how I should act or how this all ends. It just hurts dog paddling through life now instead of fishing or hunting with him in a boat above these stormy waters.
On the way home, my wife tells a story of girl my son knew. She shared a story with her, one I never have heard. He stayed with her on a bench at a game when everyone left. It was a small gesture but one she treasured and held on to. When all of the friends returned, a song came on he knew and he belted it out singing so loudly for all to hear around him. She said he had such a great voice and he knew it. Slam, another anchor to my water. It felt like in the Marvel movies when Thor reaches up for his hammer and it flys out of nowhere and smacks into his hand with a thunderous boom. Only, I seem to catch them with my whole body. I get physical pain that won’t go away. I question if its grief or a heart attack, as I bring the trash down to the end of the driveway. Not a heart attack, but it is an attack. One that I will have to face again today…in the neverending battle of the bereaved parent. Join me today, find some wadders and rain gear and get ready to be hit with anything.
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