Monday, March 17, 2014

Grief.

*March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I am sharing a series of posts about my amazing children, in the hope that by hearing our story, you'll be more aware of the stories around you!*


My friend purchased a baseball glove the day she discovered her third child was a boy. Her excitement was adorable to all of us gathered around her. I loved my friend. I loved her children. And I was delighted for her. So I was completely caught off guard when the walls started closing in on me and I felt desperate to flee the room. Desperate to grab my three three-year-olds and run far far away.

My husband was not surprised. Grief, he explained. You are grieving for the dreams you had for our boys.

I refused to accept that.

I knew grief. Grief is what happens when your amazing wonderful Daddy dies before his 50th birthday. Grief is the pain of knowing you won't have his unconditional love for even one more day on earth. Grief is a pain that sits in your heart causing an ache of longing that can not be filled. It is hard, it is awful and it is about loss.





I was not grieving. I had three beautiful children who I adored. I refused to believe that my emotional response had anything to do with loss when I had been given so very much! I was -- and continue to be -- awed by the fact that God chose me to mother Benjamin, Mason and Claire. No. No. I wouldn't believe grief was involved.




To his great credit, my husband was extremely patient with me -- even though I was not patient in my absolute insistence that what I felt was not grief.




Over time -- he didn't nag or belabor the point -- he would remind me that grief has different faces. It isn't always about death. Sometimes, it is about the loss of what we thought life would look like.





Oh how I wish I could tell you that I understood and accepted this truth quickly. I did not. I remained in my stubborn insistence that I would not grieve for years. Years.

The triplets were around seven years old when I finally made peace with the pain. See, I knew the five stages of grief --  I had cycled through denial, anger, bargaining, depression for a long time before finally reaching acceptance with my Daddy's death. I understood grief. But what I needed to understand was that sometimes grief is not about a losing a person, or losing hope. Sometimes, we can receive a gift far more precious than the one we imagined and yet still hurt for the gift we thought we were getting.





And while those five stages are good to understand -- I need to say that having a list led me to believe I could work through the list and be done, done with the whole grief thing. But that is not the case.

With every surgery, I cycle through denial, anger, bargaining and blasted, some depression. I ache and hurt and am mad as a hornet that my dear boys have to endure so much. I cycle through and often get stuck in one or more of those items on the list. It isn't like a to-do list where I can check them off as I go, making progress and moving forward. I hate that.




With every milestone, I can cycle through again: starting kindergarten, high school, turning 16, prom. I imagine high school graduation. Every single milestone that we are taught to mark, celebrate and that it will look like xy and z, can cause me to cycle through those blasted phases again.

And sometimes, the trigger will be something mundane, like a girlfriend expecting a baby boy, that pulls the rug out from under me and starts the chain.




Counting my blessings is far more than a catchy blog title. It is the key to breaking the grief cycle.  For almost 17 years, it has been my privilege to parent these amazing three, my privilege to walk with them when days are hard and cry with them when the obstacles are too much and fight with them when we all need to overcome.

The seasons of grief will come. I recognize that. But I refuse to wait for the painful times to recede, I chase the grief, I push it away, I fight to remember that these children are an absolute gift, an absolute blessing. And my boys. My boys are quick to remind me that the very thing that causes them pain is the thing that makes them unique, special, who they are.

And believe me, who they are is an incredible blessing.

5 comments:

Schwarzen Family Missions/To Sow a Seed said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I am the mother of eight-- one of whom is a very special little man who struggles with many of the things that come so easily to other children. I grieve, though it doesn't always occur to me that it is grief I feel. Mostly, I am just wrapped up in how blessed we are to call this boy our son. :-)

andre pizon said...

You always thrills me, and I wept much than that I identified myself. As it is difficult to see someone you love, suffer. Your blog is a source of hope and encouragement to my heart. God bless us

Krissy H said...

Since I am fresh into this unexpected grief cycle, I appreciate this post so much... I am not even two years in with my little angel and it is not easy to feel those pangs when I realize MY hopes for her are not maybe going to happen. But it's going to be ok.. It's nice to know I am not alone...

Krissy H said...

Since I am fresh into this unexpected grief cycle, I appreciate this post so much... I am not even two years in with my little angel and it is not easy to feel those pangs when I realize MY hopes for her are not maybe going to happen. But it's going to be ok.. It's nice to know I am not alone...

Krissy H said...

Since I am fresh into this unexpected grief cycle, I appreciate this post so much... I am not even two years in with my little angel and it is not easy to feel those pangs when I realize MY hopes for her are not maybe going to happen. But it's going to be ok.. It's nice to know I am not alone...