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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Out to sea in the boat of grief

Losing my son landed me in a boat.

That boat is still on the sea people. In fact, I don't see land in site. Daily I wonder if the boat will sink.
I am often dehydrated from the sun and in agony that I might not live through this trip.
Other boats around me are sailing and looking at me as though my sails should be up by now, but they aren't.

I have been in touch with many boats from afar who are also in this same boat and even after a year, most of them are not sailing, so my five months is puny.
So I am not alone in still feeling this way.

 The gut wrenching pain of losing a child is only known and understood by those that have had this happen to them. If you haven't experienced it you can't really understand it. 

 You can say "I am sorry" all day long and it doesn't even seal a tiny crack in my boat.
Nope, there isn't a way you can fix my boat.
There is a way you can help me keep my boat afloat though.

You can love me when I appear to be "throwing up" all over the place with my pain.
You can stop thinking that I should be sailing and stop expecting me to be ok.
I am not. Not even close.

You can just be there. Being there to hold my boat out of the water for just a little while each day gives me a chance to feel uplifted.  It helps me to keep paddling through the very dark waters and not feel as though one moment  my boat is just going to sink and I will go down with the ship.

 You can not judge me when I over react to every other situation in life that triggers my PTSD.
All of these things make my boat roll from side to side so much that I honestly hang on for dear life in that moment. I scream for someone to help me feel safe again, and no one shows up.
 
 I have moments when I want to take my own knives and cut holes in my boat and sink it on purpose just so I can escape the reality of the scorching sun and the rocking boat.
  
All the boats around me are not really paying attention to that and they want me to just straighten up and fly right and they want to smack me and hope I wake up from such thoughts. They order me to jump ship and get out of that boat. They tell me you don't get to die with that ship. They say my thoughts are STUPID. 

They belittle me. They think their actions are going to fix my boat.
 What they do is make my boat look more riddled with holes. They add pain to my pain.
Then they move off into their own boat world where parties take place, laughter, happiness, joy and fun.

Their lives honestly don't want to touch mine any more because I look scary to them. It feels to them if they get near me that their own boat will be tainted and they might ruin some of their own fun.
 
They don't even want to consider what it might be like to lose a child, so getting near me scares the crap out of them. It is as though my disease will hop onto them.
 
 They also don't want to deal with pain because no one does. That is the human condition. So if they get near my boat, they might be confronted with their own desire not to touch pain.
 So this boat I am in that is riddled with holes and rocking with the storms, is all alone in the sea.

 I cry out to God. When can I come ashore God? When can I get out of this boat? Will I ever be free of it?
I can see Him plugging a hole now and then and allowing me some more safety. I can see Him often sitting in the boat with me. Then a crisis happens and the repaired holes not only break, they look bigger to me at that time.
 
 I get it if you can't come in the boat with me. I get it if you don't even want to look at me.

What I hope is that you will at least give me the grace that allows me to "throw up my pain" now and then. when the sun has scorched me so bad that I am dehydrated and sick. When I get through that, just don't leave the water that is near me. Stick around if you can. Maybe one day we can all go ashore together.  

Maybe. I am not sure yet.

Terry Quinn

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