The initial shock of losing Charlie has dissipated. It is hard to even write that, and I haven’t yet said that out loud. I am not sure I will ever be able to say it.
Shock provides a comfort zone in the grieving process. That sounds like an oxymoron, I know. But in all of life’s big moments, there is a shock period. You graduate from college, shock… and then you realize, crap I have to get a job and be an adult. You get married, shock… and then you realize, wow that wedding was fun (ours was really fun, if I do say so myself!) but now I have to make this marriage thing work for the rest of my life. You get pregnant, shock… but then diapers, daycare, and expense all bring you to the reality that I am responsible for this new life, and will I be able to do this for the long haul?
There was a long shock period after Charlie died. Our counselor described it as a “fog,” the world was moving around us while we were standing still. Daily life halted, dishes were not done, laundry piled up, food wasn’t necessary (at least for me) and we went inward into our thoughts and emotions. It felt like a bubble was created around us and we couldn’t see or partake in anything beyond ourselves and the memories of our sweet Charlie. We were consumed with losing our son.
Reading this over as I am writing, it sounds terrible… and it was. But it was also comforting. We literally did not have the ability to let the outside world in. There was no thinking about schedules, time didn’t matter, deadlines did not exist and decisions beyond hours or a few days were not made. There was no long term. We could only live in the present.
The fog has since lifted and our new reality has been knocking at the door. The shock phase of grief is by far easier than reality.
Our world started moving again… even though we begged it to stop. We have schedules, time is of the essence and decisions have to be made. Now we see people and the things around us. We observe parents taking their children to school, going to soccer practices and doing everyday activities as a WHOLE family. The loss of Charlie hits us in the face in each moment of everyday.
We hear people complaining about frivolous things, obsessing about the smallest details and not living life for what is important. It is hard in this new reality, coming to grips with the fact we were those people before we lost Charlie. We knew our life was so good, but we didn’t always appreciate it.
Sometimes I ask God to send us back to into the “fog”, where the world stopped and all we could do was look inward. I want to feel that security of time standing still, no decisions, no schedules and no moving forward.
But as much as I want that, God knowing what is better for us than we know ourselves, has not allowed it. He used the shock phase, the “fog”, to soften the blow of reality. Now God is nudging us forward. And as much as it hurts, I try to put one foot in front of the other and trust God to give us the strength to live each day in appreciation for the gifts He has given us.