If today is your Day One, my heart breaks for you.
Nothing prepares you for the moment you find out your child has left this world. Nothing. I remember sitting across the table from the police officer and hearing the words – It was fatal – echoing over and over, but I struggled to wrap my head around them. How is this happening? I thought. How is this true? I’m not sure I can accurately describe the feeling of disbelief and bewilderment that overcame me. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t wail and scream and sob. I was numb. I know we called our families. I know many of our friends came over and hugged us and held us and cried themselves, but for me there was just this fog. My friend, Jane, explained to me later that our brain, when presented with a traumatic situation, only lets in as much as it can handle. Looking back on it now, I’m not sure I would have made it if the wound that was created when Luke died had been fully exposed that first day. I needed the fog.
Somehow, the hours passed. The night of my Day One, when I couldn’t lay awake in bed with my thoughts another minute, I remember making my way down the hall to Luke’s room. On his bed was Patch, a raggedy stuffed dog from when he was a little boy. It was when I picked up that dog and stared into its face that the fog lifted a little and the pain came crashing through. It was only then, with Patch wrapped tightly in my arms, that I sobbed and I rocked and I ached for the boy that I would never hold again.
If this is your Day One I want you to know that this grief-induced haze you are in has a purpose. It is a barrier that surrounds you and allows you to ease your way into life without your sweet child. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe. And if the fog stops even just a little of the pain from getting in, let it be.