Sometimes it hits me. The grief, the still foreign concept. I lost a child. He was 27 years old when he died in September of 2011, but he was still my child. They say the loss of a child by far is the heaviest of losses a soul can bear. I agree.
I found another thing they say to be true. They, being the experts on grief and loss. The second year of loss is the worst. I agree. The reality pools around one’s feet. The permanency of this kind of loss becomes a stagnant puddle one must wade through.
I have also come to realize that the grief and shock of the first year are like a salve of endurance. A gift. A numbness that eases the deep heartache when one swirls in a mess of pain, confusion, anger, disbelief, disappointment, memories, fear, loss, and betrayal. Expectations and dreams that will never be. The murky waters splash against our minds, threatening to erode our faith and everything we ever believed.
The first month or two, people are very compassionate and patient. As time roles on, their patience grows thin, their understanding thinner. “Why won’t she just move past that?”
“Elizabeth, this is such a terrible time. We understand how hard it is for you to not want to socialize and get out there after such a tragedy. But, if after about six months or so you are still just as depressed, then we’ll know something’s wrong.” A well-meaning friend said to me after I was having a hard time moving with the flow of life. A statement that left a hollow echo in my soul. I didn’t expect her to understand. Her children were all living.
Once that first year rolls on and the second year confronts us with life, the murky waters begin to clear up. We can almost see our toes in the mud. We begin to realize that person is permanently gone from this earth. All that’s left are pictures, memories, and mementos. Unresolved issues hang around like a morning fog.
I started having more dreams about my son after the first year. In my last dream, he was lying on a bed and I was sitting on the floor. I knew he was dead but for some reason it felt perfectly natural for me to be sitting there, just waiting for him. Suddenly for some reason, he fell off the bed. I was horrified.
Then, I heard a cough. My son coughed! I ran to him, kneeled on the floor, and lifted his head and shoulders on to my lap. I soothed him with words. He adjusted his weight on my lap and asked for a piece of cornbread. He used to love cornbread with syrup and milk. Of course, I didn’t have any.
“Okay, I will find some right away. Just wait for me. Okay? Please, just wait a few minutes for me.” I pleaded. He nodded weakly. I really didn’t want to leave him, but he asked for cornbread and I had to find a piece for him.
In split second timing that only happens in dreams, I ran from house to house, from store to store. Then finally found a large piece. I would have rocked the world off its axis to find cornbread. I sat him up, leaning his body against mine for support, and broke off tiny pieces. He ate slowly. I hand-fed him the rest and gave him sips of water. He began to revive and was almost able to sit up on his own. He was still very weak, but certainly alive. I told him I understood when he said he was tired. I hugged him and told him how sorry I was that things had been strained between us before he died. “I wish things had been different. There was so much I didn’t understand.” I said.
“I’m really sorry too, Mom,” he said. “I could have tried harder.” We held each other on the floor.
“I love you, Jonathan.” I said.
“I love you too, Mom.”
That’s when I woke up. I lay in bed, reliving the dream in my mind. At first, I thought it was a cruel joke of nature. To play with my mind like that. But as the minutes passed, I became very grateful for the dream. I could still see his face and hear his voice in my mind. The dream was actually beautifully peaceful, not scary at all. A gift from God. I got to see my son again, to hold him, to tell him I love him, and to tell him I am sorry.
I have had other similar dreams. Each time I am thankful I get to see him once more, even if only in my dreams. They say our brains are programmed to solve problems. Things that we cannot explain or solve during the day, get stuck. Our brain tries to fix and solve these while we sleep. That makes sense and explains a lot.
I look forward to the day I will see my son again in person! He has not passed away, but passed on to the perfect world we all long for. A glory we cannot imagine.
1st Corinthian 2:9 For it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Revelation 21:4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013