Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finding Comfort In the Words of Others

Peanut -

As I have sought answers, comfort and safe places to grieve over the last 7 months, I have discovered two very clear, plain truths for me, personally.

First, the very clinical, psychology-based "self help" books have been anything but helpful.  They tend to make me feel judged - like I'm not moving through the prescribed stages of grief in the right order or timeline.  Like I should be "getting over" the loss of you.  No thanks, folks.

Second, I have found great solace in the expressions of others who have experienced their own excruciating loss and grief, and choose to express it via words, songs, images.  Regardless of the circumstances, my heart and brain are drawn to other bereaved parents.  In particular, those who are further in their own grief journey than your Momma, because they show me it is possible to keep living.  To survive and rebuild.

Tonight I am sharing a passage from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's journal written the July after the kidnapping and senseless murder of her darling 18-month old son, Charlie.  A writer by profession, she was an avid journal writer.  In the 10 weeks her son was missing, her journal was her safe haven to express her despair and panic while keeping a brave face for the public.  After her child's body was discovered, the journal became her outlet for her grief.  The following passage is from July 16, 1932:

"...I feel obsessed now when I say good-bye to people - that I will not see them again.  Something in me that says perpetually: "Seize this while you have it, remember that gesture, it is the last time."  Something in me that wants to make everything significant because, perhaps, I did not make significant enough the few hours I had with Charlie, spending them recklessly, looking ahead to endless years of him.

But you are always fooled - it is not what you expect that waits for you..."

Peanut, I love you more than I ever thought I could love anyone in this world.  I hope you felt that love while here on earth, and I hope you feel it now.  I hope I made our moments, days together significant.  I hope I made them count.  But, much like Anne Morrow Lindbergh, I worry that I did not.  That I took time for granted.

Mrs. Morrow Lindbergh went on to live a full life, and to publish several beautiful books, form charitable foundations, and to have several more children.  And, she continued to remember and honor her dear first child, lost to her and her husband under such tragic circumstances.  In particular through her book of published diary and journal entries from this at first joyful then tragic time in her life: Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead.  Her strength is nothing short of remarkable.

Peanut, I will continue to try to make every memory count.  To send you love and letters.  To let you know I think of you every single day, from the moment I wake up to the second sleep finds me in the evening.  You are forever my heart and soul.  I love you dear Peanut - to the mooooooon and back!

- Momma

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