Friday, June 26, 2015

To my best friend

I wrote this to my best friend the other day. It happened to be a "bad" (a.k.a. grief) day. I was missing Matt and struggling because I hadn't yet had a plan in place for next month for the 29th, the four year anniversary. It was weighing heavily on me, and with each passing day it got worse. When my friend called to tell me about her oldest child's accomplishment, I was, regrettably, a "rain on her parade." I knew I was, too, so I sent her an email later that day.

"I wanted to tell you on the phone today in a bright, cheerful voice, “Congratulations!” when you told me about Sam’s ACT score. I wanted to, but I failed. I failed because my hurt was too great. The pain of missing Matt was all I could feel. Pain, and jealousy. Jealousy because, honestly, as you told me such wonderful news, all I could think was, “I wish I had gotten that chance with Matt.” “I wish I could have experienced it with my son, my oldest.” It’s selfish, I know, and I’m sorry. I immediately felt like such a failure as a friend. I feel so bad for my friends and family who have to put up with me when grief rears it’s ugly head. And the problem is that you’re never given any warning. Instead, you just get to deal with messy me. 

As if you probably hadn’t noticed, the last couple weeks have been touchy. See, it’s June, but all I can think about is July. July, which means another year without Matt. July, when every day of June’s voice taunts, “It’s coming. It’s coming.” July, when I wish time would stop, that I could run away or fast-forward the calendar to August."

Of course, she responded, as is typical of her, with grace and forgiveness. This whole "It's June, but July's coming" thing is horrible. It's horrible because of the anticipation and horrible because I like having a plan for the 29th, and I didn't have one. Not having a plan was putting me into a tailspin.

But as much as I want to avoid July, I can't. I can't avoid it, but I can be honest. I can be honest about my struggle, and I can ask forgiveness for being jealous. I can not allow grief to be my excuse for acting unkindly. Thank you, dear friends and family. Thank you for the grace you’ve shown me every day. Thank you for listening. Thank you for understanding and allowing me to grieve. Thank you for understanding that my grief will last until I see my son again in heaven. Thank you for acknowledging my sorrow, for validating my feelings. Your support continues to matter and make a difference.

Grief is still present, but I'm able to see joy and purpose in life again. I'm able to live life while missing my son every single day. I'm able to move forward with grief and with hope. I will continue to write about our journey because I know that it has value. There is value in being vulnerable about the grief process because it is in being real that others, hopefully, will no longer be, as this writer puts it, "grief illiterate."

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