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The Solitude of My Grief as I Mourn for My Son

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The past couple of weeks have been rough. I’ve had to once again deal with necessary repairs from broken pipes and damaged ceilings, etc. But the most difficult is the physical pain I experience due to my aging, disabled body. Some of it is age in general, but every time my back hurts beyond belief I am reminded of the years of abuse that resulted in this pain and the awful leg spasms that accompany it.

But there is another grief that consumes me even more so… the missing of my son.

I’ve not been shy in stating I hate holidays. Too many memories are resurrected this time of year. In addition, my son’s birthday falls right in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has always been worst than even the anniversary of his demise for me. I once again enter into that “grief fog.” I lose concentration quickly and others become
impatient with me because of it. I can only focus on whatever they are telling me for so long before I drift once again. I know this is sometimes perceived as if the person talking to me or what they are saying is unimportant to me — but that simply is not the case. I want to focus and be attentive; it’s not my intent to drift off, nevertheless, I do. It is that place of solitude that I venture to beyond my control.

I’ve noticed a “quietness” in the grief community the past couple of weeks as well. It could be that I am not alone. That somehow in this solitude of grief there are many others also in their own place of solitude. If this is true, then we are all alone together.

Yes, alone together — an oxymoron for sure.

Grief’s solitude is a lonely place. No other human being, try as they may, can go there with us. Our memories are ours alone. What we feel when we encounter them is felt by us alone. Perhaps there are some people close to us who also shared in certain moments who can relate more deeply than others. Still, another cannot get into my head and think my thoughts — or into my heart and feel my pain. In such moments, I am driven to my beliefs and my God, for He alone knows.

There is a song by Joni Eareckson Tada that brings me great comfort in such solitude called: “Alone Yet Not Alone.” It is a gentle reminder to me that although I feel alone, I once again find that “feelings are not always facts.” I am also reminded of Elijah who also believed he was all alone, yet God informed him that there were 7,000 others out there just
like him (1 Kings 19:14-18).

I cannot wear your shoes and you cannot wear mine. Yet, we can and do travel this road together side by side. We “weep with those who weep” and we “rejoice with those who rejoice.”

“When one member of the body suffers, we all suffer.” (1 Cor. 12:26)

Though we cannot specifically feel the pain another suffers, we can acknowledge it and say: “Me, too.”

It may not, and probably won’t, relieve our own personal feeling of loss, yet knowing that another is walking alongside of us often gives us the strength necessary to endure and persevere.

We will make it.

Alone together.

Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct Textbook.

Follow this journey on Jude’s website.

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Thinkstock image by carlacastagno

Originally published: November 15, 2017
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