The Hard Part Is Living

Today I am sad. The gray clouds and rain seem cued up to match my mood. Luke is constantly on my mind these days and the inescapable truth of what I have to live with and hold on to and what defines my every living breathing moment is following me around every corner and crushing me like a weight.

It has been a hard week. The news is full of three recent suicides: Two of the young people involved in the shootings in Parkland, Florida and most recently, the father of one of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. My heart was broken in all three of these cases, but particularly for Mr. Richman. I understand all too well how hard it is to live after you lose a child. And it is so hard!

If you haven’t lost a child or someone equally important in your life, you may not realize the high percentage of people who talk about the darkness or thoughts of suicide that prevail following an event such as this. Sixty-five percent is the official number. What has been expressed to me are the feelings of hopelessness that follow a traumatic loss.

“What’s the point of being here?”

“How can I go on without my baby?”

“I just want to end it all so this pain will disappear.”

The hurt around grieving is never ending. I have written before about how John just wanted a number… how many days did he have to endure before this ache in his heart would go away? He wanted there to be an endpoint to his grief because we believe anyone can do something for a short period of time. I say this to my students all the time when they are frustrated. Anyone can do one day. Or my co-workers after a particularly busy week – anyone can do the six weeks till April vacation. We humans work best with an end date to anticipate. But therein lies the problem. Grief has no end date. It ebbs and flows like a wave on the ocean, but it is always there. Personally, I wake up with it every morning, I hold it in my heart all day, and I take it to bed. Every. damn. day. And like the five pounds you have been trying to lose since the holidays, grief has a palpable, real weight to it. And for some, it becomes more like a noose around the neck or a cinder block on the chest. Too hard to escape from.

So cry with me over the friends and the father who reached their limit. Don’t judge them, but instead, hold them for a moment in your heart, imagine the depth of pain they had endured, and then send them love and understanding on the other side.

As for me, I know today is a hard day. It might be hard days for the next two weeks or more and yet, I understand that this is my new normal and I am okay. It isn’t always pretty, lol, but after four years I know that hope is always just around the bend.

Joy, love, happiness, and gratefulness are part of my every day, but so are death, loss, heartache, and grief.

Scribbles and Crumbs

So here’s what I want you to know: No one ever tells you when you lose part of your heart, that going on without them might actually be the biggest challenge. Be gentle with yourself and take it one day at a time. Rivers and Roads, my sweet friends, Rivers and Roads. And remember – Living, loving, losing – it can all be hard and it isn’t always visible. So be kind to one another. Love one another. Hug one another. It’s only together we get through. Xxx

Please note: If you are struggling, don’t be alone. Tell your momma, or your doctor, or call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Donna Inwood
    March 31, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Who do you tell or talk to when you are the mama? I totally understand the struggle, especially as that date, that awful date creeps closer. No, I don’t really understand, at least not from a mother’s heart just from a grandma’s heart. Luke has been on my mind so much lately too. It’s not hard to understand why after 4 years, this time of year takes us back, like it just happened. It all comes down to love. That kind of love stays in our hearts forever. ?

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