January 26, 2004

// June 1st, 2010 // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Today I went to see Ty, the grief counselor at The Elizabeth Hospice. I’d been putting off going ever since Steve died, believing that I was chugging along just fine. But in the last few weeks I thought …maybe there’s more I can do to get beyond this.
Ty didn’t really tell me any more than I already knew but in a way she gave me the permission I must have needed to carry on, develop, work through, continue…my grief. I know now that it’s ok to be right where I am in the grieving process. She told me that grief is hard work and I agree with her. It’s like having a huge, cumbersome, awkwardly shaped duffle bag strapped to my back that no one can see unless they already know it’s there. I go through the day struggling with the great weight of it and sometimes I just want to scream…. “Can’t you see this?! My son has died! I can hardly move!” But somehow, by God’s grace, I do keep moving.
I came home from the meeting and watched an episode of X-Files as I ate a delicious lunch made of last night’s leftovers. Then I went to bed and sobbed. As I sit here writing I am still wracked by sporadic outbursts. Maybe they will haunt me as long as I’m alive. My dear son, Steve, is gone. My life will never be the same. This shadow will always be near and will affect me the rest of my days but…..our lives will go on and we will continue to grow.
I don’t know how anyone can do this without knowing that God is walking at their side. I am so grateful for His comforting presence in my days, even when the pain is so great that it moans out of me, God is there, cradling me in His comforting arms.
Today Ty called me courageous. Very odd. I think I understand why she did but I think it was a mistake. What she called courage I feel as faith. Maybe that’s all courage really is. For me faith is in trusting the absolute power and love of God. God will see me through this, using my friends and family (and Hospice) to help me adjust to this new normal.

FROM 2010
Oh how I remember those dark days. But that’s just what they are now ~ memories.
Yes, losing Steve changed me and yes, I still miss him every day. But the duffle bag is now a small tote I carry with me everywhere I go. The pain has been replaced by fond, sweet, and sometimes hilarious memories. I can open it any time I want to and see my healthy, rambunctious, off-road enthusiast, loving, hot tempered, care free, tooth brushing, crazy, fun, true brother, fun-loving, honest, daring, stubborn, outgoing, helpful, friendly, hard livin’, big hearted ……my loving and well loved son.
Thank you Lord for your faithfulness in turning my sorrow into joy!

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