Comparisons are inevitable, I suppose. Losing baby boys exactly one year apart is freakish enough to make everyone else in the world gasp in horror, so why not join in the fun for myself?
I've spent a good deal of time over the last week going back in time...reading old sympathy notes...sifting through memory boxes...reading what I wrote following Alex's death. I particularly noted how my entries have changed over the past year. It's an almost tangible reminder of the ebb and flow of my grieving process. As I read them, I remembered the entries written through a blur of tears...the entries written with a smile on my face...the entries written out of sheer exhaustion...the entries written when I simply had nothing real to say. It's astounding to me to see the hope and the happiness return to my life...bit by bit...especially now...in the face of complete broken-ness. I read each entry in suspense, hoping that it would turn out well. I'm here living this nightmare and I keep wishing for the freaking happy ending.
It feels like there is nothing left now. Where before at least there was the hope that life would get better, there is now nothing but blackness. I KNOW now. I know what it means to give up hope. And it scares the hell out of me.
My life is now something completely different...something I don't know what to do with. Everyone will tell me, "You still have Sam and Steve." And yes...I know I do...I know I have blessings in my life. But now I know what it means to be given more than you can handle. I know what it means to be turned inward so far that you can't find your way out into the light again. Before, I was dealing with a wrong turn...not correctable...but something you steer around...find an alternate route...enjoy the new scenery along the new path. Now, I'm sitting at the end of a dead-end road...stuck in the mud...in the dark. There is nowhere to go from here.
A friend once wrote me an email (that I blogged about, of course) in which she said:
The image I have had is that you're in a creek or river being swept along in this raging current and you're trying to keep your head above water, and I'm on the bank and there's this chain link fence between us, and all I can do is run along beside the creek and yell these stupid words of encouragement down to you as you're fighting for your life. Sometimes I've wondered if you wouldn't like to throw a rock at me if you had the energy, but still, I keep talking to you just so you know there's someone here and just in case it might help.
Back then, I had delusions that I could beat the rapid and climb to safety on the shore. A whole freaking cheering section could be on the shore shouting encouragment...it wouldn't make a difference. Now I KNOW that I'll never reach the shore and I'm just too tired to swim.