There is no such thing as an expert in grief. For a brief moment this morning, my brain tried to convince me that it is something I have gotten a handle on. I have had a lot of experience with different types of grief. I have lived with grief for fifteen years. And four years. And just over one year.
This morning, I wrote a post on facebook, meant to encourage others in my life who are living inside grief. Who are currently being ripped apart and changed at the very core by grief. I wanted to say things like: There will come a time when you will laugh more than you cry, when you remember your loved one/that time in your life/those dreams you once held dear.
It may be true. For me, when I think about my brother, who died 15 years ago on this very day, I DO laugh more than I cry. I still shed tears for him, but it is the exception now, rather than the rule. Instead, I think about the time I had with him, and there is so much to laugh about inside our memories! His loss will always hurt, and I will always wish he was still here, doing life alongside me. But 15 years is a long time to live with grief, and you get to a point where the change in you feels more…normal.
But being practically unable to hold back tears at the end of a library story time session with my son this morning, I was reminded that, inside this kind of daily grief, it may not be true. Perhaps I will always shed more tears over the loss I feel for the life I wanted – not only for myself, but for my son.
I love library story time. It has been one of my favorite nannying activities for ten years. I love books and songs and socialization, and it encompasses all of those things. When I thought about myself as a mom, I thought of weekly library visits for story time. It was not a dream that could come to fruition, until today. Until we got the okay to live our life, as if our son is healthy and normal.
But he’s not. And for some reason, a story time they say is designed for ages 6 mos-18 mos was full of nothing but toddlers. Every other kid in there was walking around, pointing to their body parts, saying words….while Kiran was in my lap. He was happy. He was oblivious. He was clapping his hands and watching all his new friends. He was enjoying himself, and I was fairly successful at quelling the panic I felt inside over picking the wrong story time to sign us up for. Until the end. When the story time lady blew bubbles. All of the other kids were squealing, popping bubbles, walking through them….and I couldn’t even tell if Kiran could SEE the bubbles. And it broke my heart. And I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it to the car before the tears came. I did, but just barely.
I am learning a new type of grief. I have experience in grieving loss by death. I am thankful – beyond thankful – I am not having to experience that type of grief now. I am thankful to have Kiran still here, living life alongside his mama. But this grieving of the loss of a life imagined – of dreams dreamed – is messy business. And sometimes, I’m going to sit in my car in the library parking lot and cry my eyes out.