Next month should be my daughter’s 14th birthday.
Fourteen years without her. 14 years without her father. Nearly 8 years without her sister. It seems unreal that it has been so long, too often it still feels like yesterday.
I created a pretty damn good life since the loss of them.
I love being a therapist and working with grieving mothers. I love writing my books and helping give a voice to people who simply want to be heard. I have enjoyed my slightly nomadic life, moving around to different towns and different states. I have meet so many amazing people over the years and they have made my life so much brighter.
Still, lately, it seems I’ve stumbled into another layer of grief in this life after loss that I am living. This past year has been difficult – the missing of my daughters and my fiancé, all gone far before I was ready to say good-bye, has become closer to the surface than it was in recent years. I am once again crying nearly every day for the burning ache of missing them. I’m back in therapy myself for some added support as I find my way through this new layer of grief.
In all honestly, part of me always thinks that someday, finally, this grief and this aching will fade away. I know better, my love for them will always tangle with grief over the absence of them, yet part of me always hopes that this someday of faded grief will come.
I guess I can’t say what the future will hold, but 14 years later I still grieve for and think about them every day.
Every single day.
They are the first thing I think about upon waking up in the morning. They are the last thing I think of when I lay down to sleep. Thoughts of them arise a hundred times throughout the day – sometimes a fleeting awareness and other times I have a difficult time focusing because I’m distracted by thoughts or memories of them.
Lately I miss them so fiercely it hurts to breathe.
I struggle with knowing how to talk about this grief – the grief that is 14 years old yet feels bitterly fresh and new again. I don’t know how to describe it to friends and family. I don’t have an explanation for why it’s rearing its head so strongly after all this time.
And I admit, I’m afraid of hearing the things I’ve heard too often before.
Haven’t you moved past this yet?
It’s been how many years now?
Shouldn’t you be in a better place by now?
You’re focusing too much on the sad stuff, you should focus on the positive.
Truthfully, I don’t know really if I should or shouldn’t be where I’m at with grief right now. I don’t think it really matters. This is where I am.
Grief, like love, has no basis in time.
So, I don’t necessarily have any words of wisdom to offer. I don’t have any answers for you if you are grieving too.
What I can say is this:
If you are grieving, whether it’s been hours or decades, wherever you are in that process is ok.
I may not have answers, but I do know that together we can walk each other through the dark.
If you miss your “them” and you are hurting and grieving – me too. You don’t have to face it alone.