Shortly after Michael’s death, I joined an online grief group for parents in my position. The idea was to have some place and some people to talk to about my son who weren’t immediate family or my husband — because as we all know, when you are in grief, you tend to repeat yourself as you work through it, and being a broken record to those who live with you is frustrating at best, especially when you are all feeling the same. I also figured it might help me to see others who had successfully worked through the heartache, and to learn how they did it so I might have a better plan as to how to proceed.
And for a time, it was so. I felt (and still feel) comfort in talking, it helps me make sense of my world now.
But there comes a time when you can’t stand still anymore. Eventually, there comes a time when you are better served by walking on your own two feet. I’d expected my “moment” would arrive later, much later. I didn’t expect myself to be even remotely capable of standing on my own for a year, let alone two, or three, or five.
As it turns out, I am stronger than I suspected, and I am ready to take my first steps a scant three months from my son’s birth and death.
The days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months, and I find I am wearied by hearing all that can go so very wrong with the birth of a child. Certainly there is solidarity in knowing my husband and I are not alone in this loss, but I grow frustrated and disheartened in hearing all the stories. Hearing just how many can be lost before a couple brings home a living, breathing child. Hearing all the crazy things that can go badly, all the crap outcomes. And it’s not good for my sanity, just like all the other “help” we’ve received about how losing Michael is a spiritual “lesson” (implying God chose to inflict this hurt on us. Meaning God is a sadistic bastard… which I refuse to believe), or how we need to “get over it” (as if Michael wasn’t my son, and worthy of my grief). I am already wrestling with the question of the Subsequent Child, and being slapped with the hard, ugly face of reality just makes me want to run, because what good is it to want something as beautiful as a child when the odds are never in your favor? What is the point?
More importantly, what is the point of hanging on every word of these tales when I already know how badly and how quickly things can go wrong?
It is time to focus on moving forward under my own power. Certainly these first steps are going to be shaky, but I am blessed to have staunch friends and family to bear me up along the way. I am blessed to have my music, to give voice to the things I cannot find words to say. It is time to focus on the times things go right, the ways hope still exists, and how happiness can still be achieved. Because I already know about the dark side, and I can’t keep living there.
So today? I am living by the motto my creative writing professor always used to say:
Onward and Upward.
Indeed. It won’t be easy, but it also won’t always be tough, either.