Hoping to share the love, joy, and grace I have received in my own life.

Time flies…or does it?

on August 5, 2015

I remember hearing after Trevor died that “the first year is the hardest.”  I can see why people shared that sentiment with me.  They were trying to offer me hope, hope that the pain would lessen.  Surely they didn’t mean to cause me harm or more grief by trying to encourage me through the first twelve months following burying my child, but this is how I have experienced the progress of time since we said goodbye to our son.

I believed that the first year would be the worst.  The first year was hard because I was wading in  unchartered waters.  I didn’t know how to swim in those waters and often, I felt like I was drowning.  I didn’t know what it would be like to get through Mother’s Day, Trevor’s birthday, and worst of all that dreaded date that he died.  The anxiety leading up to those days, usually starting almost a month before the day would arrive, was in most cases worse than the actual days themselves.  I had no plan.  I didn’t know what those days would bring, but I knew they would be difficult to get through.  That made the first year difficult.

Believing the first year would be the worst was hard on me, because that was not my reality.  I know for some, the first is the hardest, but I can tell you from experience that isn’t true for all of us.  I remember thinking, about a month after Trevor died that I just wanted the first year to be over.  I had heard so much about the first year, even before Trevor died.  In fact, I am not certain, but feeling like that made sense, I may have shared that thought with friends and family that grieved before me.  I know better now. My anticipation for getting through the first year, came crashing down with a different perspective. 

Trevor died December 9th, 2011.  The day before our 18th wedding anniversary.  He was buried on December 15th, just ten days before Christmas.  In 2011, we didn’t celebrate Christmas at our house.  I didn’t think of the second year beginning until we got through Christmas 2012.  I remember how I felt anticipating the arrival of  January 1, 2013.  My expectations were that I would get up in the new year and suddenly feel better.  I made a New Year’s resolution to have a better year in 2013…to be happy and to try to focus on the things I loved to do and the person I was striving to be before Trevor died.  Within seconds of waking up New Year’s Day, it hit me.  I had been through 12 months of living without waking my son up each day for school, without hearing him sing, play his drums or guitar, hear his jokes, and without seeing him at our dinner table.  It was a terrible 12 months, but the reality came crashing in.  However long I am able to live this life, I will live it without Trevor.  12 months is nothing.  I will, most likely, live years without him…YEARS without my son.  I didn’t have to just make it 12 months.  I needed to survive for years without him living and breathing.  That was an excruciating reality for me, one that I honestly hadn’t thought about.  I was working so hard to get through the first year, I didn’t consider years after that.

Time is funny.  There are moments that I can look at our couch and still see Trevor sitting there, like he had just gotten up and left the room.  Then there are moments that it feels like it has been many, many years since I last saw him, hugged him, talked with him.  I miss him.  There are times that I miss him so much my heart actually aches.  I experienced those times the first year, the second year, the third year, and still experience them in the fourth year.  The things that set these past three years apart from the first is that I know what I have experienced on certain dates, but I still don’t know what to expect because I can’t control how the grief will manifest.  The times of real uncontrollable, painful heartbreaking grief don’t seem to happen as often, but I certainly still experience them fairly frequently.  The hardest part is that society doesn’t recognize what an incredible weight it is for a mother to continue living without one of her children. It doesn’t stop because a year has passed.  I understand the reason so many people say “you have to move on” or “you need to get over it”, but acknowledge that they must be people that haven’t outlived one of their children.  Time doesn’t take away my love for Trevor.  Thank, God!  Time just passes and I miss him more and more.

Rose Kennedy said, “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’  I do not agree.  The wounds remain.  In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.  But it is never gone.” I agree that there are more days that I have less grief than others, but what isn’t recognized by others is that I also still have days just like I did in the first year,  days that I want to wrap myself in the quilt made from Trevor’s shirts and sit in his room and cry.  I need those days.  I don’t want them to stop coming.  I want to feel that wound reopen and feel the strength of the love that I have for all of my children.  I want to sit in silence and remember the fabulous son that he was.  It doesn’t matter how much time has passed.  Don’t forget grieving parents because you think they are “over it” or “through it” or whatever you have heard.  Time passes, but our love for our children does not.


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