Some days it’s my turn to hold up the roof. Some days it’s up to me to keep everything moving in a forward direction despite my own inner aversion in doing so.
If I keep the roof up, the walls won’t cave in around us. Sometimes I want them to. Sometimes I want the walls to simply plunge inward and smash into little bits over me. Like the Wicked Witch of The East at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz, I want to get the house dropped on me.Imagine that, wanting the walls to just collapse in on you. A violent implosion. The sheet rock and twisted metal pressing against your lungs, shortening your breath to strained pulses. Raw nails and splinters piercing your skin, the resulting tears revealing organ and bone.
Wanting life to just stop.
Wanting another day to not come.
If you have lost a child, you understand what I am feeling.
I am not suicidal, so please do not start telephoning my psychiatrist. This is simply real, raw emotion. I firmly believe that by sharing how I feel, in the most free format I can, helps. I say the words out loud, I don’t hide my feelings.
I am also not averse to admitting that I do seek help. I need it. I wish others around me had same self-awareness that I do, maybe then I wouldn’t have to hold up the roof so often.
However, grief and bereavement of a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin is a personal and private journey for each member of my family.
No one, not even Lou or my other son’s truly understand what I feel, nor can I understand them. Grief focuses you inward, not outward.
When you’re grieving you can only be there for yourself. Others can listen, but who is doing the expression of feelings, YOU. If I turn to my parents and say “I miss Anthony,” naturally they will say “I do too.” They do.
But it’s not the same as my feelings. The way they miss him is very different than the way I do. Each of us has a unique spiritual connection to another. Lou and I don’t share the same connections and Anthony was our son.
Lou’s connection to our son was a full 180 degree difference than mine. Lou was the “talking parent,” it may have been, often, in deafening decibels, but he would talk to Anthony. They would have breakfast together or watch the news on TV. They loved discussing current events.
Lou spent a lot more time with Anthony than I did. Not saying it’s good or bad, it’s simply the facts. I was working, he was home. Lou’s emotional and spiritual connection to our son is on a very different level than mine. Now that Anthony is gone, Lou has a different grief journey than I do.
Versus fighting every time I don’t understand an emotion that Lou expresses or when he is weak and simply wants to let go, I hold up the roof. I simply grab ahold of the beam supporting the load bearing wall and press all of my weight against it.
He needs to be free to express his emotions, just as I do, and our boys do. There is no right or wrong. Sometimes, Lou has been downright nasty and I simply call him out on it and step away to go hold up the wall again.
What’s the point in arguing now? Nothing will change what happened. No one set of feelings is right. Nothing you have ever experienced (even the death of a spouse or parent) prepares you for the death of you child.
Even if your child is terminally ill, their death is it’s own action. I know parents who prayed for miracles that never came, despite warnings to the contrary. When their child died, a part of them went too. Every death is an individual process in and of itself.
Right now, there is no “positive progress.” We each need our space to be both person and parent. Each of us needs the roof held up for the other.
We take turns holding up the roof and it’s just the way things will be.
There is no use in me trying to change the foundation or ask to remodel. The house we have, is the house we have. It’s shitty, but it’s ours. As is.
Remember you can never change someone’s foundation without major consequences and construction. They have to be willing to do the work.
The color he paints the resulting walls I may find hideous but as long as there is no eminent danger, he can do what he likes. He can let go of the roof when he needs to.
I can too.