I haven’t written here lately. It’s not because I am feeling better. It’s more that nothing has changed.
I still miss him, keenly. I still cry. I still feel guilty and angry and sad. I still rage against the passing of time, that lets the world spin on while he remains frozen in the past.
I guess I’m just better at compartmentalizing it. I was talking to a friend of mine who has also lost a child, and we agreed that your feelings don’t change, just your ability to manage them and still go about your daily life. My level of grief is the same–I can just push it down and ignore it better.
And don’t get me wrong, there is still happiness and joy. I love my family and friends. I can laugh. But that was true even immediately after Charlie died. You can feel immense, life-altering grief and still have room for gratefulness and love.
At this point, the grief comes out in little ways. For example, it’s Christmas time. I love getting holiday cards from friends and family. I display them every year, and then I save them. I have a box with … 20? 30? years worth of Christmas cards. I have no idea what my kids will make of it when I’m gone, but every so often when I’m taking down the Christmas decorations, I enjoy sifting through the box and looking at holiday cards past, especially the photo ones.
Yet I never send out cards any more, and probably never will again. I used to take a picture of the kids in their holiday pjs and use that for a photo card. While I take plenty of pictures of the kids, I don’t take those posed pictures any more.
We haven’t done a family portrait, either. Just the thought makes me cry. How can we take a beautiful portrait of something that’s broken? Every time I looked at it, it would remind me of what’s gone. I can’t help but think it would remind others of what’s gone, too.
So, no more Christmas cards from us. Just one of the little ways grief has changed me.