I am approaching the 10 month mark since my son passed away. It's a new year, 2015, and this year hopes to bring more happiness than 2014 and I am happy to put the past year behind me. It was a painful year, filled with sadness over my deep loss. Even though I try to be optimistic and look at all the blessings I still have, everything seems to be overshadowed by the death of my son. I still find myself quietly uncomfortable around little babies at the age my son passed away and little boys at the age my son should be currently. I tend to dwell on what I will never experience with him rather than the beautiful moments during the 9 months he was alive. People ask me if I am having a good day. I find it an odd question, since I no longer measure my days by good but rather by degrees of not so bad. Sometimes I have really rough days filled with despair causing me to isolate in my depression and then other times, I have less hard days where I still miss him but I am able to function and participate in my life. When I am having those really rough days, three things get me through them: Faith, Family & Friends.
Faith: This is the most important part of my life and the cornerstone to surviving for me. I have been a Christian all of my life and I have had my ups and downs in my relationship with God but I have always known God was there for me, even when I wasn't living my life for him. The tragic death of my son has been so exacting even with my faith that I cannot comprehend how people without it, who do not know God's presence and comfort, find their way through the grief. Worship, prayer and partnership help me on a daily basis, sometimes moment by moment. I am so grateful I serve a gracious and compassionate Savior who loves me unconditionally and is always there for me.
Family: I am blessed to have a loving and supporting family that starts with my husband and two daughters but also includes two wonderful sets of parents, amazing siblings and loyal cousins who are there for me when I need them. When I start to tear up and my 6-year-old notices, she asks me, "Are you sad about Dylan, Mommy?" and when I tell her that I am, she climbs up into my arms, and tells me she loves me and that everything will be okay. My husband lets me cry on his shoulder and helps me by being there when I need him. I can call my mother up and she listens to me when I need to talk about my son. My brother and cousins text and call me to see how I am doing and to let me know they care. My family put pictures and handprints of my son up around their homes and still send gifts for his grave. They keep him alive as much as I do.
Friends: I have found true friends through my life that have taken the time to invest in me as I have in them and those friends make an effort to reach out to me and see how I am doing. I receive calls to go out to lunch and shopping which can help take my mind off of the hard times. I have good friends that let me cry, express anger, or laugh uncontrollably without judging me or making me feel bad about myself. Some of the time, they do those things with me.
Grief can be very isolating. You feel alone and don't want to burden people with your pain or problems. You want to be better but there's no quick fix. I am keenly aware of how lucky I am. Not everyone has the network of support I have. Even when it's the worst of days, I am not alone. My faith, family and friends get me through.