What Is a Broken Heart?

Why do we call it a broken heart?   Broken is something that you may chose to glue back together and carefully display  again.  Sometimes, you may simply decide to toss it away and find a replacement.   You carefully pick up each piece, examine it and then take the time to determine if  repairing it is worth it.  If you chose to do the latter, the piece  becomes whole again.  Except for a few dings here and there or a sliver of a missing fragment, it comes alive again.   My heart is beyond broken.

Shattered doesn’t seem to  work either.  Something that shatters isn’t easily repairable.  Big unscathed pieces lie next to some that are so tiny, you cant make heads or tails of them.    Shattered items must simply be swept up and discarded.  Unseen fragments are usually hiding under nooks and crannies.   Days or months later, when you unknowingly come across this forgotten piece, you simply toss it , forgetting that this piece once belonged to something you loved.  Still, shattered does’t come close.

Could a heart be annihilated,  disintegrated, or even demolished?  Possibly, but these descriptions give the impression that where there was once something tangible, it is no more. What once was  there,  has now been obliterated into the atmosphere in a cloud of ash leaving only a dark hole behind.  I can’t accept this.  I fervently  need what’s left of my incomplete heart.  I  need it not for the the obvious reason of continuing another day, but  because I have other children that continue to engrave it with irreplaceable and magical moments of their lives.  Memories of  weddings, births, new jobs and  great accomplishments live in there. There are grandchildren that  everyday leave their tiny hand prints and goofy smiles embedded in it.  There is a husband that still makes it skip a beat whenever he kisses me and loved ones that fill it with hope.  I need my heart whole because there, is the only place my son now resides .

So, as I  have slowly come to terms that even though my heart feels as if it is truly broken, or shattered , it is still whole and it continues beating inside my  chest.  I try to convince myself  that it is not physically broken…there is no actual hole and no pieces are missing and yet the pain makes me think otherwise.  Everyday is a struggle as my brain tries to comprehend these truths…that even though my heart  is physically the same as it was 458 days ago, it will actually NEVER be the same.

There Is No Pain Than the Heartache of a Grieving Mother ….

 

 

 

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The Power Of An Emoji Post

There are two sides to me.  Well, there are many sides but there are a distinct two that I share with the world.  It became very apparent to me today as I was scrolling through my social media.  These two sides are as different as life and death and the real me lies somewhere in between.

Like millions of others, I am a part of the ever non private social media we call Facebook.  I have one page that I share with my friends, family and co-workers.  On this page, I share pictures of my grandchildren, tag  raunchy jokes and share those hysterical videos that continually go around the internet.  I ‘heart’ my friends vacation pictures and ‘like’ those yummy pictures of ‘WHAT WE’RE HAVING FOR DINNER” .

But I also have another page that I share with people that are just “like me”. A page that is private and exclusive but not in a “I want to join” kind of way.  No one wants to be a part of this one but yet I find myself more attached to some of the people on this page than on my “normal” page.  This page is solely dedicated to those parents that have  lost a child.

I was desperately seeking to be consoled .  I felt that even with the support of family and friends, there wasn’t anyone that JUST GOT IT, you know? No one that could say ‘I know how you feel’ and really did.   I knew I could seek therapy but this type of pain doesn’t have a 45 minute time limit.  I ached for someone that could scream with me.  Someone that would be mad with me, tell me that is was OK and normal to be secretly pissed at my friends whose lives were untouched by tragedy and that their biggest gripe was that they needed a new dishwasher.  I needed someone that had felt this cruel and agonizing pain called grief but that was still able to function in everyday life.   I needed ME.

One day, I came across this page. I immediately asked for permission to join.  As soon as I became a member, I shared my story and my blog.  Within seconds, people were on there expressing their warmth and compassion!  They were sending me sad faces,  broken hearts and angel emoji s. They told me that they knew of my pain and heartache and shared their own stories of pain.  They were kind and welcoming and I instantly felt a connection to the hundreds of parents on this site.  These people get me.  They are everyday human beings scattered throughout the world except, their lives, as mine, have been struck with the cruel and harsh reality of losing a child.  Some, as horrific as it may sound, have outlived 2 or more children with some even coming within months of each other.  These deaths have attacked these families from every force imaginable.  Suicide, murder, accidents, cancer, illness.  Some have no reason.  What child’s death though, is reasonable?

The people here don’t tell me that heaven needed him back or he wasn’t mine in the first place.  They don’t give advice on how to get past it.  They don’t judge me when I rant or criticize me when I vent.  They merely let me be me.  I don’t have to explain to them why I don’t reply to text messages or why today was just harder than yesterday.  They just get it.  Every little bit of it.

You might ask why I would expose myself to even more heartache than I need to be.  I don’t see it that way.  Yes, my heart aches and some postings are as if I am writing them myself but it’s so much greater than that.  I feel an enormous need to let those other grieving parents know that I was once where they are at that very minute!  I want them to know that I share in their pain and that if we knew each other in person, I would be there in a heartbeat to scream with them or to hold their hand. I would tell them that it is OK to throw that plate or punch your pillow!  I would let them ask me WHY over and over and I would gently answer each time “I don’t know” because it’s OK to say that.  I would also tell them that it is PERFECTLY normal and understandable (though maybe illegal) to put you hair up in a ponytail, jump out of your car and for you and your daughter to yell at a perfect stranger who cut you off in a parking lot BRING IT ON BITCH!”  ( for those of you new to this blog, you might want to read my pages on anger before you judge) winking emoji. I want them to know I am them and they are me.  That though we only know each other as “Joey’s mom” or “Daniel Story”,  ALL of us…hundreds and hundreds of us…will help each other through the pain, and the anger.  We will give advice only when asked and we will be honest as to how we navigate our own road.  We might not have the answers, but we patiently await as one of us aimlessly tries to find them.  Maybe in hopes that they will share it with us.  I also know without a doubt, that when I am the one that is screaming in pain, they are the ones screaming with me. Through this vast emptiness called grief, and though we are all strangers to one another, we fill the void no one else can.  Together, we will “heart” each other through this.

Though WE are different…WE are the same….

 

An Unwanted and Undeserved Title

What comes to mind when someone uses the term brave or courageous?  Who or what do you envision?  The reason I ask is because I have been falsely identified as being brave, courageous or strong. I have even  been identified as someones hero.  I am neither.  I am weak.  I am scared.  I am a grieving parent.

Those titles are given to people who know the danger they are putting themselves in, but do so anyway.  Police officers know that every day they put on the uniform, they face life and death situations and possibly might not make it home.  Firefighters willingly place themselves into harm’s way as they embattled flames to save their fellow human beings lives.  Military personnel join their chosen branch knowing that at any given moment, they might be sent to a war ridden country as bullets and bombs fly all around them.  ALL of them know and understand the heartbreak and dangers of what they must face each and every day.  They were fully aware of the pain that their decision would cause themselves or those that love them if the unthinkable happened.  Those are the true Hero’s. My son Anthony joined the military around the time when our war was at the worst.  He knew going in that he more than likely would need to face danger straight on knowing he might not win. I still recall the day he called me to tell me he was being shipped out.  I needed to be strong for him because I knew he was scared.  He told me he was ready….ready for what I thought?  HE is a hero.  He deserves the title.  He knew the danger and faced it anyway.

I, on the other hand, did not sign up for this when I became a mother.  I knew there would be heartaches, worries, disagreements and sleepless nights, but I never, not even for one inkling of a moment would I ever imagine I would lose my child.  Even as Anthony went to war, I always knew he would return.  When he did, I knew I was one of the lucky ones.  I never wanted to put a flag on a coffin.  I never wanted to see a coffin, yet I unwillingly faced it with the death of my other son. Yet, like Anthony, I am fighting my own battle but I have no hope of ever leaving the battle field.  I fight this war every day and I am not brave.  I was never given the choice.  Please don’t call me brave. I am scared beyond belief.

I am not strong. This war inside of me has left me weak and defeated.  There are days I can barely lift my head off my pillow.  Some nights I just want to drift off to sleep so I no longer hear the sounds on bombs going off around me or feel the ugliness of war.  I want to forget the images that only war brings….the image of death.

I am not courageous.  I am scared…more like terrified.  I am afraid of what the future holds for me…for my other children.  I am scared of being in that state of bliss.  That feeling when you feel the wind in your hair and the breeze brush upon your cheek.  You know that one moment when you smile, inhale and say “Life is good.” I am afraid that I will never have that again and if I do, I may jinx it.

I am not anyone’s hero.  Hero isn’t a word that should be associated with a grieving parent.  Heroes are given medals and proclamations.  They are given standing ovations and pats on the back.  What do you give a parent who not only has buried their child, but one that is expected to continue to go about their lives every day?  The only thing that we want, we will never get.  I don’t need a pat on the back or a high five.  I don’t need the Purple Medal of Honor, even though my wounds supersedes all wounds.

This got me to thinking…What positive word is out there to describe a parent that even though they feel dead inside, they have chosen to keep on living.  Webster’s dictionary describes a hero as a person admired for achievements and noble qualities: one who shows great courage. The, the word courage is defined as mental or moral strength to venture and persevere, while withstanding danger, fear, or difficulty.  I have not preserved at anything.  I then decided to look up grief and the definition was quite the opposite:  Disaster, unfortunate, despair, suffering. There was not one positive word in the definition of grief.  There was nothing about being a hero, being strong, or being courageous.   Grief is just that…grief. Every day is a battle, every day I am scared, every day I am weak. I am an embattled fearful solider, hearing the bombs go off around me as I duck for cover and praying for silence.

 We, those who lost their child, have lost the battle yet our war continues…