My friend, Grief, is visiting today. He woke me up by banging intensely on my door last night. He likes to wake me up. We have become steadfast friends. Sometimes he stands in the corner and watches me. Sometimes he leaps suddenly into the middle of whatever I am doing – unloading the dishwasher or the washing machine, sometimes in a song or in a smell and causes tears to flow for seemingly no reason. Sometimes he whispers to me but last night he shouted until I got out of bed. His persistence in being acknowledged is aggravating.
I wondered if 330am was too early to drink coffee but Grief didn’t think so. Coffee always helps me pay attention and he wanted my full attention. I pulled up a chair and invited him to sit with me.
Sometimes he makes my stomach hurt. Sometimes he makes me cry. Sometimes he makes me question everything I believe about life and death. Sometimes he makes me feel guilty for feeling happy. Sometimes he makes me feel better about my new normal. And sometimes he makes me feel worse about my new normal. Sometimes he dances at my pity party. Sometimes he just watches me cry. Sometimes he nudges me if I smile too much.
In the wee hours of this morning, Grief reminded me that today at 4am- Nick is 12 years, 8 months and 11 days old – the same age Zack was when he died.
I didn’t think I could bear to go on without Zack yet here I stand with my friend, Grief.
He reminds me I will always be broken. I tell him I don’t need reminding.
He points out people who are complaining about everything and nothing and I feel bad for feeling resentful toward them. “Perspective,” my friend Jennifer points out. I don’t like my perspective.
Grief points out my weakness and my flaws. He knows me well. Sometimes he fades into the background but he never goes away completely.
Today, he is here.
Today, Nick skis on a mountain that a big brother loved.
Today, a little brother Zack never met, plays in the Utah snow that Zack loved.
Today, a mommy and daddy choose to live fully and intentionally because a little boy died.
Today, we still celebrate the short life Zack was given.
Today, we press on through the pain of losing him and use that pain to fuel our journey.
Today, I am thankful for the 12 years, 8 months and 11 days I got to be his mom.
Keep watching, I tell my friend, Grief. Watch me shine bright! This pain, this pain which isn’t as raw as it once was, will not be wasted.
2 Corinthians 1:4-6