I remember the day that we discovered he had a tumor as though it was yesterday. I remember the events leading up to it, the phone call so vividly. I remember dropping to me knees and emptying the contents of my stomach after hanging up with mom. I needed to be home that moment, but was convinced to make the drive to the hospital in the morning instead. I remember walking into Dr. Young's office for the first time and JD greeting me with a giant smile, asking if I knew he had something growing on his brain, informing me that he'd soon be smarter than the rest of us. He was more right than I could have ever imagined.
It's been ten months, yes... but the memories are so fresh, the wound far from healed. I won't speak for everyone- for anyone other than myself, really, but I want to talk a little bit about grief... from this side of things. This is only my story, my perspective, my heartbreak, my healing. I don't know what is normal- I just know what it has been like for me.
I can't imagine it being much harder than this first year has been. Truth is- I cannot remember much of anything from October to March. Other than what is written on my blog and the pictures I've taken, I have few memories of those 5 months. I didn't know what was normal, what was expected, what was just sadness, when I crossed that line into depression- but at some point, it was crossed. It was a chore to get out of bed every morning. My children were an interruption to my sleep, to my quiet, to my sorrow. I found joy in little. I had people all around, but had never felt more alone. I craved closeness, but had nothing to give. I thought I was okay, that this was just grief. I don't know- maybe it is, maybe depression and grieving go hand and hand, but I was heartbroken to a point of barely surviving, of going through the motions at best.
I don't know what happened, what clicked, but I remember driving downtown, sobbing on the phone with Jordan confessing that I wasn't okay, that I felt so far from okay. He listened, didn't push, told me we would do whatever I needed to do. I guess for me, a corner was turned on just realizing that I wasn't okay, that I couldn't handle trying to get through it on my own any longer. From there, I finally began to talk. Sure, I'd discussed the details surrounding JD's death continually. Sometimes there would be tears, but more often, I was stoic. I'd answer that it was harder than I had ever imagined it being, but that was as deep as I would go. There was a tremendous freedom in finally sharing, and I finally began to see that I wasn't alone. I didn't have anyone who had been in my shoes, but I had a lot of people who loved me, who would cry with me, pray with me, listen to me... and that was what I needed. I think wintertime only compounded everything I was feeling- the gloomy, grey, cold, long days. It seemed to me that March 1st held promise... spring would come. Refreshing would come. Light would come. There was hope of smiling again.
The sunshine really was good for me. I don't know what it was, but it was a new day come springtime. Oh, the hurt was (is) far from over, but I think I finally began to live again starting in March. There's been a lot of two steps forward, one step back since then, but the darkest days I've endured are a chapter that I have closed, and I praise God for that. I'm not going to pretend that there aren't still days where I feel like the grief could swallow me whole, but they come less frequently than they once did. JD being gone will never be an easy thing. There will always be days, smells, things that trigger a memory so strong and a hurt so great, I'm sure of it. There are some things that I know and expect to be difficult, but I've been shocked by what has caught me off guard, brought tears before I knew why I was crying. Corban having a birthday hadn't even crossed my mind as being a difficult day to get through, but I thought so many times about our prior celebrations and all that JD was in them... My heart broke all over again realizing my baby boy is without his uncle whom he loved so much.
Most days, I am okay. It's never far from my mind, and tears still come quick and easy-- but now the smiles come, too. I know I was carried through those dark winter months... if not for the Lord, I don't know where I'd be. If not for those precious babies of mine, I don't know that I would've left the bed. God knew what He was doing when He gave us those children when He did - I'm more sure of that now than I've ever been. I found an old journal from the time that JD was going through radiation, and I had this inscribed on the top of several pages- lyrics to a song I no longer remember, but words that rang so true in my heart then, and even more so now:
The only thing worth holding on to
is holding onto me...
I didn't have the strength to do much more than get through the days, but God saw me through... and here we are. I'm a different person than I once was. I hope to soon write about the journey that this has been for my faith- the many ups and downs that have come... it's been a rocky road. But through it all, the conclusion I've come to over and over and over is that God is good and He is faithful. Even when I couldn't hold on, He was carrying me. He hasn't left me yet...