It's October Now By Amanda Slocum
The following post was written by Amanda Slocum. A dear friend and director of our new Drew's Cruiser Program. Her post mirrors the same grief of loss, joy in Christ, and new love for her child. We are blessed by and thankful for her.
It’s October now. It’s been 6 months with Hadley in our arms and 9 months without our Drew. The fog of what we have been living has begun to slowly rise. We’ve been running on autopilot for the greater part of this year and as time continues to go by and the dust is settling in, my grief is taking a very real and more painful turn. Almost like an anesthetic slowly wearing off … the reality of our life here on earth without Drew is slowly becoming more evident and so very painfully concrete. Some of you could possibly assume things may get easier with time, but I’m here to confirm that’s not the case at all. There are reminders of his life with every twist and turn of my day and the more time that goes by only makes me miss and crave him more.
This statement below was written in a blog post I recently came across. I honestly couldn’t have described it better.
“It is true, I believe, that people have a finite amount of sympathy to dispense before they expect the bereaved [parent] to move on. As a griever, I have come to realize this and so my grief, to some, has become a secret. When someone asks you how you are for the 100th time after, say, seven months, you begin to reply “OK” – there’s only so much about your grief you can tell another person. I am not saying people are intentionally callous, but, generally, they do not know how to deal with another person’s grief. It’s not convenient for them to know the truth. What if you were to tell the truth – “I’m not OK”? You have just handed the person a hot potato. I think the natural reaction, especially for family members, is to “fix the problem”. But it’s important to point out that we grievers do not expect you to fix anything. You cannot fix it.” (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/10/a-dirty-secret-called-grief)
So perfectly put. I think it’s also important to point out that although no one can fix our hurt, you can still be there. People can still be present and intentional when spending time with those that are hurting. It’s also important to know that things are still day to day for us. They have been since January 2nd and they will especially be in the coming months as we relive all that we experienced this time last year.
We’ve been trying really hard to continue surrounding ourselves with community, people who have remained emotionally present and supportive and even stepping out to get involved in new groups of people. Regardless of whether it’s family, friends, or complete strangers, it has proven very challenging to try existing, being where we are in our grief, in the company of others. Gatherings with “all” of our family only remind us that not everyone is there. Meeting new people will always open us up to the uncomfortable conversation of ‘having a son in heaven and a daughter in our arms.’ Being in group settings and talking about day to day and often superficial topics, only causes us to push our grief, and the crazy stressful life we’ve lived the past 3 years, to the side as that doesn’t really qualify as “easy conversation.” In so many ways, our life with and without Drew the past 3 years has now become “a secret” and the thing we now haven’t been able to talk about. Not talking about our son… how incredibly painful that is. Now more than ever, I get why so many who have lost children end up withdrawing, closing up and shutting out those on the outside, those that just can’t understand. That, quite honestly, is the easiest and least painful thing to do.
These past few months have consisted of some good days and many rough ones. There are days I feel strong enough to venture out, meet with friends and even meet with new groups of other Moms. There are many days that all I want to do is just be home with Hadley and Colby, my safe place, work on onesies (http://claireparkerfoundation.org/what-we-do/drews-cruisers/) and small projects around the house. There have also been days I can barely find the energy or motivation to do much of anything at all. Those days are the hard ones … the days I miss him so much I can barely function … the days where I end up laying on the floor of Drew’s room during Hadley’s naps and cry myself to sleep praying for the gift of seeing him in a dream. Regardless of what I do each day, I devote myself each morning to prayer and devotion as that is honestly the only way I’ve been able to find peace. It’s been amazing really, to be living out my lowest of lows and still absolutely experience God’s strength and peace through prayer. I’m incredibly thankfully for that and for my faith. I go through pictures of both my babies daily and as my Mom has always told me, I make the choice to “stay in today and count every single blessing I’ve been given.”
So in the coming months, as we approach what would’ve been Drew’s 3rd birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and the anniversary of his passing, please know how challenging they will be for us and our family. Please understand that we will likely take a “time out” from normal and routine ways of celebrating the holidays and please also know how very grateful we are for all of you who love us so well.
~ Amanda Slocum