There is a small industry of books about grief, and a sizable subgenre of books about the loss of a child. There are self-help groups and therapists and what not, and they all agree on one thing. Since people are unique and relationships are unique every grief is unique.
So my question is, how do I know I’m making progress?
I cried the morning Kevin died. I also experienced a seething anger the likes of which I’ve never imagined.
I haven’t really cried since.
I’ve teared up and become emotional. I’ve had moments that I couldn’t really speak, but I haven’t really cried. Most folks who are interviewed in the books wonder when they are going to stop. I wonder when, or if, I’m going to start. I imagine that really letting lose would be cathartic. Crying is supposed to heal, but I seem to lack the capacity to do so. Is there something wrong with this? Is there some insight that will break the dam and let the tears flow? I’m supposed to “lean into the pain” but I don’t know how.
What anger I have flares up and goes out, like a flame without enough fuel. I keep expecting to get really angry. I don’t mean the little momentary flare-ups, I mean the really seething pissed off at the world kind of anger that everyone seems to describe in the books. What if I don’t have this, will my anger come out in other, less healthy ways?
How do I know I’m not stuck? I get up, I go to work, I do stuff with the family, I feel satisfaction at times, I feel moved at times, but there’s always the shadow, like a cloud passing on an otherwise sunny day. Is this melancholy as good as it gets?
I’ve thought of little other than Kevin over the last year. Everything is somehow related to this loss. I worry about the other kids and how they are dealing. I try to find answers about where he might be and how he might be doing. I try to process my own thoughts and feelings, but at the same time I feel like I’ve thought this thing to death, but I haven’t felt it yet.
Sometimes I feel like helping others is the way to healing. Sometimes I let others help me, but sometimes I feel like I have to travel this road alone since my grief is unique.
There’s no guide book for this, no instruction manual. It’s confusing and frustrating at times. I guess that’s where I’m at today, confused and frustrated. I’m trying to force something to happen. I want to feel different. I want to make progress, yet it feels like I’m taking the same walk every day, wearing a groove in the sidewalk.