I've realized something recently....grief is such a private, isolated matter and yet a very public one as well. It has and continues to affect the relationships I have with my friends, family, and world. But it is in my solitude that I am most obviously affected by my loss. Although I know I will never return to "normal" it has still been difficult for me to accept what now is the new norm. I feel so different than I used to...physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I'm certain I've aged 10 years in the past 10 months. I can't help but wonder how I'd be feeling if Graham were still with us.
Monday, November 22, 2010
is so very hard...as we continue to live each day without our Graham. With every day closer to Thanksgiving means a day closer to Christmas and a day closer to the anniversary of Graham's meeting with Jesus. None of which I feel like I can bear. My soul still hurts so deeply and longs so much for my Graham. It's so difficult to be constantly plagued with the "last year at this time..." thoughts. My life is divided into the before and after and I have to consciously work every day, often times every moment, to live the after. People have asked me how I'm doing...if things have gotten easier. Honestly, no, I don't think things have gotten easier at all. The biggest difference is that now I feel I've learned to manage my grief a little better. I've learned to control it a bit more...but I still ache for him in a way that words simply cannot describe. I've learned to be strong on the outside even when I'm a mess on this inside. I look at toddlers and I wonder what his laugh would sound like, what his cry would sound like, how much hair he'd have, what his little personality would be like, what foods he'd like, what toys he'd play with, how the kids would be with him. These are all things I'm left to wonder about and the farther we get away from his time with us, the more difficult it is to imagine....and that is more difficult than words can even describe.
I love the holidays. I always have, but this year is so different. It is so bittersweet...new memories with James and Lauren and yet the ache of missing our Graham. Everyone wants to know our plans and quite frankly, I don't want any plans. It's almost like in my mind if I can avoid planning it, it won't come and we won't have to endure the pain of the days where the world seems to be celebrating while we hurt. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for and although I am SO blessed, I can't help but feel the bitter absence of our Graham. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I realize though that I am so eternally grateful for my 14 weeks of life with Graham. Although I wish with everything in me it were longer, I wouldn't trade this pain and grief for not knowing my son.
We are beginning to put together ideas for the kids for Christmas. James and Lauren both have birthday within 6 weeks of Christmas so we have to put careful consideration into what we get them simply because this is it for the year. It is so difficult to know we will have an empty stocking with Graham's name on it and less presents under the tree. I think about all of the things we would have gotten Graham this year and about the unused Christmas gifts we had for him last year. I want so much to be creating 3 wish lists for my kids this year. Again, a difficult reminder of what is gone. We have decided to "adopt" a child in honor of Graham this year and purchase gifts for the child in a family. We will wrap the gifts and deliver them as a family to the child. We'd like to have the kids help us choose the gifts. This is something we'd like to do as a family to keep Graham's memory alive and to honor him.
The Christmas lights are starting to go up around the neighborhood and each time I pass a house with lights lit, my eyes well up with tears thinking about celebrating Christmas without our Graham. James and Lauren are so sweet... especially when it comes to speaking of Graham. James keeps telling me how big he thinks Graham is now and still what he thinks he's doing in heaven. Yesterday he said, "Mom, I think Graham is probably as big as you because he's been gone a long time." That was so hard for me to hear...it has been long and I hate knowing that it feels that way for James too. Every time we pass the church where Graham is buried, they excitedly wave and say, "Hi Graham-Bam or Hey Wam-Bam..Miss you Grammie." Again, these are such precious, but heart breaking moments.
We are continuing to try and leave our hurt and sorrow at the feet of Jesus. It's so hard not to question and wonder as we look around and see mother's who don't seem to care for their children. But we must remind ourselves continually that God is in control and this is ultimately part of His plan. Thank you for your prayers...please do not stop. We know that your prayers are the reason we can still get up and breathe each day. The next couple of months are going to be some of our most difficult. We again are so grateful for you....