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The Overwhelming Grief I Feel on the Anniversary of My Son's Death

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In two weeks, it will be 19 years since my beloved son was killed by a drunken man from Columbia. I have spent the last month knowing my son’s anniversary would be arriving soon. I have been in countdown mode. I find myself wondering, always anticipating, when/where/how it will hit… if at all.

Well, it’s here.

I have even been struggling in the grief community. I will be going along fine, then I click on a notification and there it is… a graphic or gif about St. Patrick’s Day. For a moment, I seemingly cease to breathe. I quickly scroll by it pretending I did not see it. However, as the day approaches, they are getting much more difficult to ignore. There are moments in which I go completely numb; there are moments in which I want to scream at people, “Don’t you know my son was killed on St. Patrick’s Day?” They mean no harm and they have every right to celebrate the day in memory of their child. But… I cannot help how it affects me.

I hate this!

I think of my boy every single day; I miss him every single day. Yet, I function just fine on most days. But days such as these are unbearable. One moment I’m fine, truly; the next, I may be numb. I can jump from intense anger to excruciating pain and back to complete numbness in a nanosecond.

We never get over this! We move forward and rebuild, but that moment we are told our child is dead is frozen in time and it travels with us as a constant utterly undesirable companion. Never had I known before my child’s demise that joy and intense sorrow could walk hand in hand. I feel as if I am living in two worlds simultaneously. Sometimes, I will find myself living in one more than the other, yet both remain. I cannot escape either.

I never know from one day to the next where I will be on this spectrum. The roller coaster is a nightmare from which I am incapable of awaking.

A bereaved dad asked me today to describe my son. As I told him about his beauty, the floodgates opened and I abruptly cut the conversation short. But I’m very glad I was asked to do so. I love to tell others how wonderful he was… so handsome, so intelligent, so witty, so talented, and so very much in love with Jesus. I beam with joy and pride as I speak of him. Then I fall to pieces as I embrace the sorrow of his absence. God, how I hate this!

So I admit without hesitation, I am a mess. I will get through this to the other side, I always do. Surely, I have had enough practice after 19 years. But I will not pretend. I will not lie to folks and tell them I’m fine when I am not.

It has most definitely gotten easier over time. I’ve learned to foresee for the most part when rough waters lie ahead, though I can still be caught off-guard. I’ve learned that the worst darkest hours will pass… eventually. I’ve learned that my God never forsakes me and always sustains me until I reach the shore on the other side once again. But I won’t pretend that the intensity of those moments ever subsides… at least not for me. We all grieve differently. Please don’t lay your expectations upon me, and I promise not to do such to you.

I love my son!

I miss my son!

I believe I will see my son again!

Until I do, I will continue to ride out these waves until I am reunited with him once again.

Author’s note: I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct TextbookFollow this journey on Jude’s website.

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Getty image by sSplajn

Originally published: March 11, 2018
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