A Grief Expressed
The Deep Grief Of A Mother Who Has Lost Her Child
MAY 2013. I have already written a little bit about losing my daughter last November to cystic fibrosis - scattered words here and here and here, and bursts of emotion now lost and hidden among random other things on my Facebook timeline - but I want to write more, much more, though I am not sure I have the emotional strength.
She is never far from my thoughts. There is always an ache in my heart.
I still cannot believe she is really gone.
Photo by Ryan Myer. All rights reserved.
Pain And Love Beyond Words
She was only 25. I want to write about her. I want to write about her last days on earth. There was such profound love and beauty in those days - and a heart-horror that I am not sure I can describe.
My friend Charlene tells me that if I write it, she will read every single word. The first week, Charlene sat beside me on my couch, my living room still filled with plastic "patient belongings" bags from the hospital, a fluffy plush creature on the coffee table that was a get well gift to Caety from another friend, cards, and flowers; and she listened as I told her everything that had happened: Caety's last words, hugs, and breaths, and moments so raw and painful that no one should ever have to speak of or hear.
Charlene and I have a sacred bond, for she lost her teenage son three years before. She too knows the unfathomable loss of a child.
So I will write if I can, because I don't want to lose the memories. In January, I wrote a poem about that very thing; I will share it with you now.
Preparing To Write About It
Soon I must go to the dark below,
Recover those days before the haze
Of time and mind and life prevent,
Transcribe them one by one with pen
Then let my child go again.
Sharing My Sorrow With The World
I will come back here to write more. My Facebook friends have graciously, patiently, and compassionately read and responded to many emotionally graphic status updates over the past few months. That means so much to me. They are not looking away (!) from something that must also feel painful for them to read. Sometimes I wonder if it seems obscene to some. If so, they have lovingly withheld verbalizing that thought, and I am grateful.
I will probably move some of those Facebook posts here so I can keep them all together.
One thing that seems so strange to me is how my heart keeps finding things to feel passionately grateful for in this darkest time of my entire life, a time that holds no promise of even ever improving. How do intense pain and gratitude share such close quarters in my heart?
A Grief Observed - C. S. Lewis (Caety's Favorite Author)
I read this many years ago in college when my best friend was fatally hit by a car. It was a comfort to me then; I do not know if it would comfort me now.
Here is something that does comfort me, from the last page of The Last Battle (the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia), which Caety loved:
"And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." ~ C.S. Lewis
Precious Gift, Profound Grief - A Father Ponders The Possible Loss Of A Child
"If the universe granted me a single wish, it would be that when I die old, my daughter will yet live. But the universe makes no such promises. There is only this: the knowledge that parenting is a privilege, a gift not granted fairly to all. The awfulness, the horror of losing a child, is only possible if you have somehow been fortunate enough to become a parent in the first place." ~ David Valdes Greenwood
- When Children Die First: A Meditation on the Unthinkable - ParentDish
This article by Greenwood is the most comforting thing I have read at this point. A father ponders deeply and compassionately what it would mean to lose a child as he holds his own daughter close after the death of his friend's child. It is written w