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Days of Surviving and Days of Living After the Passing of My Son

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I was reading the obituary for my son, Stuart, recently. It says I survived him.

In the beginning, I didn’t think I would survive. I didn’t even want to. No mother wants to “survive” her child.

I have indeed survived, and I have even lived, but the two are not the same.

Two and half years later, and I have days of surviving and days of living. I have found the living comes for greater stretches of time now. Unfortunately, when the surviving days come, it’s a hard blow. The living is moving along, and I think I’m doing “fine,” and then it’s as if a lightning bolt strikes and the surviving is back. There are many triggers. Many you would expect, but there are some that take you by surprise.

I learned the son of an old friend took his life last week. Back to surviving! My heart is broken for her and her family. It takes me back to the horrifying days and weeks when our son first went to heaven.

I see a mom and her grown son having lunch together and I long to sit down and have a conversation with Stuart.

Something makes me laugh, and I know Stuart would love it, too.

I love fall. The breeze swirls around my body and envelopes me in the movement and the sound of the changing season. Then, I feel the deep longing of shared moments with my son. I want to talk to him, to stand in the breeze with him. Selfishly, I want him to see and feel the changing season. I want him here.

I’ve been through many “seasons” in my life. I’ve changed and grown through it all. The loss of my child has molded me into a different person altogether. I would hope every change is or will be for the better. The truth is that I don’t function on the same level as before. Maybe these struggles will dissipate over time — I’ll let you know.

Surviving is the best I can do some days. I think that’s OK. I think it’s normal. I don’t think it means my Faith is weak. I don’t think it means I’m less strong.

It means I’m broken, but healing.

It means I’m “normal” because losing my son should hurt.

It means I’m strong because I know I can feel my grief and still have hope.

The world says, “He will never give you more than you can handle.”

That’s ridiculous, and it isn’t scriptural. Believe me; this is more than I can handle. It’s only because of His promises that I can take the next breath. I have hope because of the cross. I believe He sustains me, whether I am having a day of barely surviving or fully living. He knows my heartache, and I know He is my comforter, my redeemer, my peace, and my shield.

I have survived, and I am living life. I choose joy, I laugh, smile and act silly. I enjoy my family and friends, and I dance in my kitchen to music that is way too loud. I also cry and long for eternity.

And it’s all perfectly OK!

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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Thinkstock image by Grandfailure

Originally published: July 26, 2017
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