For sometime now I have been living the life of two people. Since Brittany died I found myself in the familiar territory of grief, but the unfamiliar territory of having a reason to keep living. To have a purpose. You see when my mother died I was 7 months pregnant with Brittany. So her impending birth kept me busy, so busy that I avoided the grieving process for about five years. Save that topic for another day.
The grieving process may be identified as the same according to many sources, but for me these were two totally different experiences. Even when my grandmother died five years after my mom, I felt I dealt with it as best I could. I was busy with a newly diagnosed epileptic daughter and she needed my full attention. I was also in nursing school at the time. So my plate was pretty full. No time for grieving.
So you can see that I do have some experience in the grief department. But nothing really prepares you to lose a child. I think mostly because it is so out-of-order of what should be a natural life process. A child, no matter the age, should never go before their parents. But it happens so much more than you would think. But that’s one of the biggest problems – we just don’t want to think about it.
I found for the most part that my family and friends just couldn’t deal with my grief. There were a few core people who, even if they didn’t understand, they knew to just be there. As the months waned on and people began to go back to their “normal” lives, I was left with the most profound emptiness one could ever imagine. That is where I began to play “Mirror Mirror”.
Mirror Mirror is what I call the game a griever plays when they put on the mask everyone wants to see and hides the mask no one wants to see. Everyday that I left my house I put on that masked and pretended all was fine. I was fine. I mean really I was laughing and having fun – or so it would appear. Then I would barely make it home to crawl in my house and find my bible and begin to read passages in hopes of finding some small shred of hope that I was going to survive this loss.
This went on for quite some time. Throughout the process the financial hardship I faced from the medical bills that piled up during her treatment and that trailed in after her death. Many people came to my rescue and helped me with so many things. But it was the one thing, you know that one thing – that no one could help me with – the fact that my only child, the love of my life, the reason I lived and breathed was gone.
I became very good at pretending I was doing ok. But at the end of the day I would look in the mirror and the fear of the future, the fear of losing my memories of her, the fear of living began to paralyze my life. I could barely breathe. There is a lot of fear that comes while grieving the loss of someone you loved beyond life itself. You becomes really good at hiding it all. Because no one really wants to see it. No one wants to be reminded that this too could happen to them.
Until next time,