The deepest, darkest, day of my life was those moments I lost my son at age 16, those many years ago. I experienced such a depth of sorrow that felt unimaginable and this near loss so deep, my pain sorrow was inconsolable by anyone, or anything.
In experiencing the deep loss of a child, it will take time to process all the varying emotions that rise up. Grief has its own journey, so take it is so important to take it easy on yourself as there is no rush to be anywhere, but to be in the now of where you are right in your present.
Grief is not something to get through, but something we have to allow to travel its life in us as such an unexpected loss such as a child, requires forming a new normal and this is most difficult. The new normal feels like you are waiting for your old normal to return, and it never will, it never can, for there is no one who can replace the special place he had in my life, no person can ever do that.
I would keep expecting to see my son walk into a room, or to walk through a door, or to come home from school, running excitedly through the door, greeting me with his wit and smile. say something to them. I can recall searching for him when out walking, when driving, always expecting to see a visual representative of who, always expecting to see him again. My remembrances of them was so near and dear to my hearts and I needed to allow those memories of times shared with him to surface, knowing they will, and they still do.
There were times I found myself bursting in uncontrollable bouts of gushing unstoppable tears that I thought would never end, nor did I think I would be able to cry in such away again, thinking my eyes were done with the gushing of liquid grief.
I found myself having periods of depression, a deep sadness that sapped my strength, my energy, my motivation to continue moving forward, without him in my life, without signing to him, without hugging him, without loving him.
I felt at times all I could do was muster up just enough energy to through my day, doing what I knew I had to do to carry on the duties of living. Just putting one foot in front of another often required every bit of resource I had within me, to do what was a normal part of my day; cooking, cleaning, being with my two other children, looking into their eyes of stone, wondering how they were going to carry on and move forward in their young lives, without their brother.
It became necessary for me to not only feel, but to allow myself expression of those feelings with my most trusted partner, my husband, who had his own journey and emotions to deal with.
Acute grief is quite devastating in ways as it was something I had never experienced life prior to the loss of Lucas, so I tried to move in the numbed dazed days of my life, one step, another, not seeing my way, or knowing this new path.
It was important for me to take time for soothing moments. Sitting down quietly with a cup of tea, reflecting thoughtfully on all the moments I was able to participate in this life with my son, was an important process in this word called grief, in this word named death, in this ‘new normal’ called loss.
I can vividly recall looking at pictures, crying, sobbing, feeling like my heart was being ripped out, feeling as though I could not carry this depth of pain, feeling as though I died too, in a way.. Rising and falling emotions in the ryhthms of grief, of loss, of unspoken words that could never express what I was experiencing.
I gripped in holding these moments close, remembering his smell, thinking of how we spoke to each other in American Sign Language, fondly seeing his quick laughter, as I traveled through time, viewing shared togetherness of events, activities, celebrations, holidays and all the tender love we gave to each other.
These were all memories that will come often in the unexpected and unusual ways after such devastation, each one having specific emotional reactions, as my thoughts felt the pained remembering.
It was in one small step at a time I had to think of, in order to maneuver in these dark times as life continued, as tough as it was, the journey I was on, was one of momentum, the world did not stop, only my heart did, in the death of Lucas.
I had to continue as I knew no other way. I still had responsibilities in the caring of our household, in the caring of our two other children. There would be no stopping of caring, no ending of compassion, no words to tell of their pain.
I had to discover my own pace. Grief has its own rhythm and I was in its path for many years, living, experiencing it at varying levels of loss, in finding my way in this life without Lucas in our family.
In the midst of feeling such gut wrenching sorrow there was eventually a resilience, a courage, a strength I never knew prior and I joined in the throngs of heartache in other parents who also knew this most difficult tragedies.
I learn I was able to survive. I learned to do new things without Lucas in our lives. I learned to go on. I learned to do what is necessary. In time I learned to breathe again.
Many speak of stages of grief and this has been extensively written or talked about. I did not concern myself with any of that, as I discovered each person has their own journey, and this journey often does not following these steps or stages. I did not go experience each stage experts say we must in order to heal, and I am here today, to say, whatever you feel, it is Ok, to not be Ok, and it is Ok, to feel whatever you feel.
The best advice I can offer anyone experiencing this intense life altering loss, is to be easy on yourself and make sure to take care of you and allow whatever you are feeling to surface and come out of you, as long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else in this process of sifting, sorting, and trying to come to terms with it all.
I do not have to be brace, holding in my emotions, as they had their own flow, much like a river, coursing, river, winding, curving, traveling through my veins, surfacing through my pours, running out my eyes, pouring down my face in streams of relenting lament.
I had to allow, allow my tears, allow my fears, allow this burst of pained sorrow its own doorway of expression, as it was my pain that screamed to be heard and I allowed it to be heard from the shallowed breath of my soul.
It was in experiencing this most tragic of losses, this most unexpected death of my son Lucas, where I learned to fall into the compassionate caring understanding of others who have shared in this unimaginable wordless entrenched living with the death of a child, who has a name, Lucas James Taylor.
He will always be with me. He will always be carried close to my bosom of the mother I was to him in all those shared moments of living, in the special togetherness we had in all the priceless memories, he will always be in me, in the core of my womb who birthed him into the wonderful, bright, enthusiastic young man he became in always helping others.
So, he lives on in me. His life lives on in all those lives he touched. He is alive in a different way, inside my mind, in the pictures of known living, yet now, known loss.
In memory of Lucas