Many times, people who are grieving believe (and often are told) that the first year is the hardest. During the first year after your loss, you are in shock, you are numb, you are angry, and on top of all that, you have a thousand details to manage. After the first year, it is tempting, even reassuring to think that you have gone through the “firsts” and it is going to get easier.
I can tell you that it does not get easier or better the second year. In fact, the second year is when it really hit me: my son is gone, forever. I will not see him again in this lifetime. No smiles, no laughter, no hugs, no talks about football, no updates on his girlfriends, no talk about his career, no grandchildren to hug one day, no nothing. Nothing. For a very long time. For an indefinite period of time.
The shock is gone, the numbness has faded, and you are left with memories and pictures. Memories and pictures are wonderful things to have, but they cannot replace the living, breathing child you lost. Your child’s friends move on with their lives, which is completely natural. If they had a significant other, that person eventually moves on, which is a good thing for them.
But I am stuck. I am alive, yet not really living. I’m putting one foot in front of the other each day. I’m breathing. I’m a body, a shell of emptiness where my son once took up space. I move through the days without any real purpose. There are things to be done, but nothing brings any joy. It feels like a cloud is following me, like my shadow, every step of the way. Sometimes it’s dark and heavy. Sometimes it’s light and fluffy. Sometimes, the thunderheads start to build and I know it’s going to get bad.
This week, on Monday, August 18, 2014, it was two years since my son’s death. Today, August 23, 2014, it has been two years since I buried my only child. I have cried and screamed. I wanted to throw things or destroy things. I wanted to stop breathing. I was so tired of it all. I just wanted to fade away. I wanted the pain to stop. It didn’t and I’m still breathing. I’m calmer now, but so very sad and alone. I have prayed and shared my anguish with God. I want what I cannot have, what cannot be. I want to see my son, to hear his laugh, see his green eyes sparkle, see that beautiful smile, and just look at him. I want to feel his hug. I want to drink a beer and eat Mexican food and discuss college football with him. So, I am left wondering, what is the point? Why am I here! I don’t want to be here without my son. Yet, here I am. Alive, but not really living. Doing the bare minimum to get through each day. Alone.
The first year was easier than this. Now, I know what lies ahead and it’s scary. It’s dreary. It’s lonely. I try not to feel like this, but I do. I have no one to share these feelings with, other than my doctors. I have no dreams, no goals, no hope. My friends tell me how strong I am. They don’t want to hear how weak I really am.
My only solace, the only thing that keeps me alive, is my faith in God and my trust in him to show me the reason why he has kept me here, when I would rather be in heaven with my son. God has a plan and a purpose for me, I just wish it included the light of my life, my beloved son, Donald Phillip Gwarjanski.