The First Year Is NOT The Hardest

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.

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5 thoughts on “The First Year Is NOT The Hardest

  1. I found your life to be much like mine. I lost my 8 year old son my only child yesterday was only two months ago.nov-9-2006 to jan15-2015. He also had green eyes he loved football and so much more.. He had an ATV wreck 300 yrds from where I was standing he died on impact .. I also hate life and feel very alone I too have faith in god however I’m angry with him.. I just want you to know that it was nice to find someone who only had one child . it make a difference. Thank you for sharing. God bless your heart

    1. I am so sorry. I barely remember myself at two months after the death of my son. God bless you. I won’t pretend it’s easy. It’s not. I can say that as you learn to live with the awful, crushing loss of your son, your only child, you will begin to have days that are better than others. It is important not to put pressure on yourself or expect to “feel better” at any particular time. It takes as long as it takes, everyone is different. It’s okay to be angry at God. It’s okay to question and ask why my son, why me, why, why, why? Losing a child is the worst thing in the world for a mother. I don’t like to compare grief or the extent of pain, but losing your only child is different, at least that I what I have learned through talking to other moms.
      I know you feel alone. No one but you and God knows the depth of your despair. I pray that you have friends and family who are willing to just be there. People that won’t try to fix things or tell you what to do, but people who can sit there with you or walk with you while you cry and grieve and try to find your way.

  2. Thank you for posting this I just lost my 14 year old son and my best friend on 4/14/15 and I’m completely devastated your words are beautiful
    Thank you from another grieving mother

    1. Mindy, I apologize for not responding sooner. I took a much needed break from sharing all my feelings and thoughts. I am sorry for the loss of your son. As a mother who has lost a son, I know it is totally devastating. I often tell people that it feels as if half of me is missing. God bless you and I hope you are getting along okay.
      Kat

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I lost my 17 year old son on 10/28/15. He too was an only child. I am completely devastated and miss him so badly it hurts. To cope, I try to keep myself busy and have gone back to work. But the overwhelming sadness and despair still lives with me. Sometimes I have to take it one breath at a time, to make it through the minutes, the hours and the days. I pray for God’s peace on all of us.

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