When we hear the word “recovery,” we probably think about someone who is doing better after a long illness, or possibly someone in a 12 step program, who is progressing through the steps. While in the throes of new grief and sorrow, “getting better” and “healing” aren’t bullet points on the agenda. We are consumed with our loss and how difficult and unfair day-to-day life is without the one we are missing so desperately. Just surviving and moving through the basic motions are exhausting. Forget about recovery!
It has been nearly 21 months since my eldest son left for Heaven—every single day has been tainted by this cloud of darkness, and little joy has been had, no matter how hard I try or pray! Most days, I still feel like I am in a dazed dream, and none of this can possibly be real.
But this week, it seemed as if there was a sliver of light and hope, and I was actually able to laugh out loud, while watching a funny video! I am sure most who are reading this can understand where I am coming from—to catch myself actually smiling and enjoying something—what a foreign concept it has been these many months!
I caught myself, and smiled; but then what did I do? I started feeling guilty for that ounce of normality, and chided myself for daring to NOT be in despair and misery. I mean, my son is gone! How could I possibly have the audacity to smile and laugh—to find pleasure in something my beloved can no longer experience?!
It was a brief encounter, but I do recognize that it will be ok to have these moments of contentment, and they most likely will come more often as time goes on. And whether they occur infrequently or not is totally ok. It’s on MY timetable: not my husbands, nor my two other sons, nor my friends…
Megan Devine, author of an excellent book called “It’s OK That You’re Not OK,” says in an article I’m including at the end of this post: “Given that what I’ve lost cannot be restored, given that what was taken cannot be returned, what would healing look like? What would it look like for me to live this life well?”
This is a question as individual as you are, and one that may take weeks, months, or years, to figure out.
I’m going to keep giving in to the smile—the laugh out loud—then feel guilty about it, be ok with that, talk it through…and in time, hopefully, the “recovery” will look like all the very best thoughts and memories, pinned on the timeline of my sons life, and hurt just a little bit less…