"For those who have lost their loved ones, or friends, As a matter of fact, nobody ever dies. Because they're gonna live inside everybody who ever knew them. Everyone they ever touched, no matter how little, and the people who love them, their families and friends, they're never gonna stop thinking about them or talking about them. They're never gonna die because they were loved and they loved.They're going to live forever in your heart, as death doesn't put an end to love." ~ Unknown
When my children were born I could not imagine living in this physical world without them in it for even one minute. Here I am, eleven years later and it does not matter if it is one minute, or eleven years....the pain is the same, but the level of pain has changed over the course of time. I would be lying if i said all days were happy ones, some days are just wretched, but I have more happy days than sad days as time moves forward. While I have experienced the death of both a child and a spouse, grief is different in both cases....vastly different.
There are many things to experience in the wake of death. Do you know what I love? Seeing and hearing what John's friends have accomplished at this stage of their lives....does it hurt to hear and see such things...of course, but it represents to me the life that John could have had. His cute, and determined personality would have paved a successful path for him..I just know it. For me, it helps to talk about "the day". To relive the moments leading up to death can be painful, but in many ways it helps the grief process. I posed a question on Facebook last month about 9/11 and "where were you?" People wrote in such detail because it is day that our minds and hearts will not forget. Our parents would always ask others..."where were you when Kennedy was shot". It is the same for our generation...except it is 9/11. Rethinking may seem harmful...and hurtful, but in reality it is reminding us this horrific event did happen...and while there is no reason behind it all...it helps us accept in some strange way the tragic event. I think a lot about the day that John died, I can recite the entire day's history even 11 years later. It's inscribed in my heart, forever.
I recently talked to a bereaved friend and as we were getting caught up he told me with a little laugh, that he actually took a vacation from "grief". While he could not see me smile...I smiled big and inside fist pumped, "YES". He lost his son a few years ago and as can be imagined, has struggled with the many "whys" that bereaved parents suffer through. He said it actually felt good to let go of some of those feelings and focus on his other son..laughing felt good! It made my heart sing to hear this...I felt that he is moving forward in his grief. Those of us with other children at home would never want them to feel like they are in their deceased siblings shadow...we would never put any of them in anyones shadow...right??
While this day has significant meaning to me, it is a day that you just don't know what to do with. You quietly observe the day. Sometimes I just want to shout it out to a clerk in a store or the person giving me my skinny latte..."do you know why this day is important to ME???" And while I have terrific friends it is hard for them to truly understand what I am feeling. I can't fault them for that, the situation is what it is.
Sweet John... one minute, one year, five years, eleven years...love you and miss you and while grief may change, the strength of love I hold in my heart will never change.