We’ve all heard the expression that a person turned gray overnight. Well, I didn’t turn gray overnight when my son died, but I turned into a different person — a person I don’t always like. Yes, my physical appearance has changed. When I look into the mirror the twinkle in my eyes isn’t there. My hair doesn’t shine any more. My skin has a strange color — dull, and has lost elasticity. In a word, I aged overnight. That’s what a broken heart will do!
I can learn to live with the physical changes of child loss. I’m taking vitamins and I’m drinking extra water. My hair gets colored more often, and I use layers of moisturizer on my skin. My eyes — well, I’m not sure that the twinkle will ever return. I know one thing. I have bags under my eyes that I never had before. Those bags should be called “tear bags” because I really think that’s what they are. I can feel them now as I’m typing. The tear bags are so full they’re ready to explode into one of my daily crying spells.
Worse than the baggy, dull eyes and the wrinkled skin are the emotional changes that have taken place within me.
I don’t even know who I am since my son died!
I used to be patient and kind to everyone. I used to be so tolerant of others. I used to laugh and find joy so many times throughout the day. I used to love holidays and parties and social gatherings. I used to love meeting new people and going to new and different places.
I used to love life, but now I find myself merely existing on many days!
So often, I’m short tempered with people. I can’t tolerate little meaningless nuisances. Far too often I open my mouth and speak before I think. Oh, how much I hate that about the new me! I find it hard to laugh, and when I do it almost feels like a fake laugh. I used to love watching little children playing, and I’d listen to them for hours on end, always finding so much joy in them. Now, about an hour is about all I can handle before it feels like my head is going to explode.
What’s wrong with me? Why have I turned into this person that I don’t really like? When will I become the old me again?
As I’m traveling further down this road of child loss, I’m finding the answers to many of my questions. I’ll never be completely the old me again because that person died when my son died. I remember the moment when the life went right out of me. I was gasping, screaming, sobbing and wishing myself dead when I heard the words that no mother ever wants to hear. I fell to the floor, throwing the phone out of my hands and I truly believe for a moment in time I died. My spirit left me.
That is the exact moment I felt my heart break.
There is no fixing a broken heart. Ever. There is a daily struggle trying to figure out how to live within the pain of this brokenness. As I struggle to find out how to do this, emotions surface that I never felt before. My God, I’ve never died before and had to figure out how to come back to life again! It’s hard! It’s painful! There are days when it feels absolutely impossible!
But, I’m trying. And, I will continue to try. I might not get it right all of the time. In fact, I might not get it right most of the time.
But, I’ll keep on trying.
****If you connected with this writing in any way, then you will be certain to connect with the books I’ve written since the death of my son. Please get a copy of the book “Child Loss – The Heartbreak and the Hope” and “Grief 365 – Daily Meditations for the Grieving Heart.” These books contain the innermost thoughts of my life. Won’t you join me on this journey of grief as we try to figure out together how to live within the brokenness of child loss?