Reprieve

rays of sun

We’ve had several days of rainy, dreary weather in South Florida and the weather, coupled with the seven month anniversary of Kai’s death on Monday have contributed to make the last week or so particularly difficult for me.

Grief is a terrifying journey.  Just when I think I have hit the bottom, I sink even lower.  At this level of sorrow, very little can be done to blunt the pain or distract from the feelings of utter despondence.   Focusing on anything is difficult, anger boils to the surface quickly and easily, and crazy thoughts present themselves with alarming frequency and intensity.  During these times I’m too raw to even form any kind of prayer, so I just simply say, God, help me.  Do something, anything to help me or I will not make it another day.  What’s happened is simply too much to bear.

And then yesterday afternoon, I was driving home from work and realized to my surprise and relief that I felt slightly lighter and more stable.  I felt a shift in energy from black to gray.  Nothing happened to cause this shift that I could pinpoint, no change in my circumstances.  But I knew what it was… a reprieve.

I’ve had a few of these reprieves in the last seven months.  Some have lasted only an hour or two, some have lasted a few days.  None will last forever.  I know this now.

Those who are unfamiliar with grief might say that this lightening of my mood is a sign that things are getting better or that I am “healing.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There is no healing from this, not yet anyway.  I hope that someday I might heal, but I believe healing will come in the same way that an amputee heals.  The wound may not bleed unless something irritates and reopens it, but the limb will never return.

We do not expect an amputee to heal and move on with his or her life as it was before.  This is impossible.  The amputee goes on living, but with major and permanent limitations and often lifelong phantom pain, the body’s way of mourning the limb that should be there but was taken away unnaturally.

Why then do we expect people to “heal” or “move on” from the death of a child or an extremely close loved one, a loss exponentially more profound than the loss of a limb?  I do not believe that I will ever truly heal nor move on from Kai’s death, but I am thankful for the occasional reprieve.

One thought on “Reprieve

  1. I remember my sister telling me of her shock one afternoon when she realized she went 7 minutes or so without thinking of her son who had died several months prior. Her “reprieves” during that first year gradually extended to 10 minutes, maybe 20 some days. She would understand your sense of grief never being healed, of your life being irreparably altered. My love and prayers are with you, Lisa.

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