A piece of the chorus of this Bonnie Raitt song keeps going through my head today. “River of Tears/Oceans of Heartbreak.” It is a song about a breakup of love, the rest of the lyrics don’t exactly apply, but what does, is that grief is the same whatever the loss. No matter what it may be, the pain, the longing, the “wondering what went wrong”, all whirl around like a cyclone transporting us to a new and strange land. It ain’t Kansas, and it ain’t Oz either. It is an odd parallel universe. In the sunlit universe, the one most of us spend our days in, life goes on as usual; errands have to be run, laundry washed, bills paid, the thousand and one mundane details of daily living jostle against one another for recognition. The other, darker universe that exists alongside this one is a realm of the surreal. Where clocks run in reverse, events happen out-of-order, nothing makes sense, and the unspeakable is commonplace. It doesn’t ask for recognition, it demands it.
This alternate universe has a habit of impinging on the one we all perceive. Without warning, the wormhole opens, and I am sucked into a bleak and inhospitable landscape. Hitherto hidden, it is as real as anyplace. It is a land of unanswered questions, pointless recriminations, staggering sorrow, confusion, bewilderment, and heartache. Mercifully, I am spending less time here there than I did several weeks ago, but knowing it is there, can open suddenly and unexpectedly, throws everything into a different and unsettling light. It casts a shadow on every aspect of life. I live in both universes simultaneously sometimes. Tears and laughter coexist. I smile at a memory as my eyes overflow. Talk about bi-polar.
Today is week number 10. Seventy days since Jake’s death. I feel as if I have aged 70 years in those 70 days. No wiser, but far, far sadder. Wearier. Wondering what there is for me to do. I know that there are still things left to accomplish. I am not quite sure what they are, but they are out there, unseen but no less powerful, pulling me forward. The currents bear me along, inexorably toward an unknown destination. My frail ship rudderless, at the mercy of the stormy waters. I have battened down the hatches, furled the sails, made ready for the storm. The hurricane has already passed, what’s left is the aftermath; the wormy winds that blow capriciously in every direction. Who knows what storms await? I am sure they will strike unbidden and unannounced.
So I sail on through the darkness. Down the River of Tears and across the Oceans of Heartbreak. How long the voyage will be is also a mystery. I have only to keep the ship from foundering as I make my way to that distant journey’s end.
Some days as better than others. Some days the grief is raw and overwhelming. Other days we are just numb. Hope tomorrow is a numb day.
You have indeed gone through a wormhole, and will never be the same person again. But you and Terry will always be much loved. Though that’s scant comfort when the shock waves of grief overwhelm you, though none of us will ever understand the awful vagaries of the material world in which we exist, we stand in awe of your grace, courage, and candor.
My deepest, deepest sympathy. I am 7 months living in this foreign dimension without my youngest child, my sweet Amy. You are so right when you said, it ain’t Kansas and it sure ain’t Oz! And I agree with Tersia; numb is good, while it lasts.
I am pretty much numb all the time, other than when the tidal waves wash over me. They don’t hit quite as often as during those first horrific weeks, but they come pretty regularly. Those Grief Spasms. It is so fresh that I still ask, no more than a thousand times a day, “Is this really happening?” And to my utter dismay, of course it is, it did.
Reblogged this on MourningAmyMarie and commented:
I stumbled upon this blog this morning and the blogger, another grieving parent, eloquently expresses exactly what it’s like when the worst thing that could happen, happens.
I am so very, very sorry for your loss and for what your son lost too. You are not alone in this horrible new journey. I used to worry about the feeling numb — have I stopped feeling? How can I be so calm? Now, after almost one year, I realize that it doesn’t last and I am again raw, split open, and still asking “How can this be?” Surely we will awaken and find it was one long horribly bad dream. But we don’t and somehow we are going on.
So sorry you are enduring this journey as well. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your son, Jake, and the chasm of pain that you have found yourself in. I am closing in on 2 years without my son, Evan. Sending you gentle hugs ❤
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