By Rachel Fitzgerald
As an ER nurse I remember really thinking, I knew what real grief was. I had held the hands of the dying and comforted those left behind. I’d heard the desperate screams from mothers and soft wail from fathers as they stood holding their child, for the last moments. I’d watched countless husbands and wives carry a fixed blank stare across the room, unsure how life will continue, without their partner. I also remember the remarkable peace felt by those who were certain of their loved ones faith, those that could say with no uncertainty that they knew exactly where there loved one was, the stillness in their voices painted a picture of a victorious finish line regardless of the journey it took to get there. Grief was the deepest emotion I had ever seen and I thought I knew it well. It wasn’t until my children died that I knew what real grief FELT like, it was much different than what it looked like. How does it feel? A combination of devastation, despair, powerlessness, existential fear and GUILT, lots and lots of guilt. I never knew that such pain could last in a body for so long. A misconception I had, was all grief had a season, meaning it would pass, never did I think it would feel like the true journey that it is. Yes, it softens. Yes, we can and have found amazing joy and learned to love the skies we are under. Yes, the grief is different on different days. It certainly changes but it is by no means a season. It’s been 7 years since our 4 year old Collin, joined his sister in Heaven. Through the grief, still stands the beautiful memories that remain of his life. On these days I concentrate on the 24 hours before our son took his final breath. I can recall his words perfectly during that terrible snow storm as we drove near a van stuck in a deep ditch, “Mama we need to help those people. Remember, treat others the way we would want to be treated.” Those memories make me cry, but I so desperately want to hold those memories tight, until I can hold him, until I can look in his eyes and thank him for teaching him mama so much. I want to touch them, just as my arms ache to touch him. I want them to materialize and live through his surviving siblings and family. That gives this grief, a purpose, and my heart the peace it begs to have, as we continue on this journey.
Repost from Facebook post shared December 11, 2019