Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lingering Grief - Lasting Support

Sometimes waves of grief come unexpectedly even years down the road. I have been feeling my loss weigh on my heart more than normal lately. It hasn't felt like the crashing waves of fresh grief. It is more of a huge swell in the tide ... gentler but just as deeply felt.

The nice thing about fresh grief is that it is expected ... by everyone. People expect you are hurting. They don't need to be told. They treat you gently. There is no or at least little embarrassment in fresh grief. It is more ... understood.

Lingering grief on the other hand is more of a mystery both to those who feel it and the outside world looking at it. There is no telling when it will hit and how long it will last or why it has come again. It is unpredictable and there is much more of a stigma felt in grieving over a loss years later.

So we lingering grievers don't always open up and admit when we are hurting. Sometimes we are quieter than we used to be or maybe more withdrawn. We don't want to pull others around us back into our grief with us. We bare it more on our own and remember the kindnesses of the past to remind us of the love and support we felt and let the memory of that support shore us up now.

Then last week, out of the blue, I got an email from a couple of readers of this blog. Brooke and Annette from I Declare Charms wrote to tell me they had made a necklace for me. They did it as a thank you for this blog and what they feel they have gotten from my posts. They asked for my address to mail it to me.

I really can't put into words how humbled and grateful I am to receive such a gift. It tells me that even now 4 years and 3 months later people still care and remember and understand. It shows me that the Lord remembers me and my heart ache and is still taking care of me even years down this road.

The necklace is beautiful. I absolutely love it. I love that Camille's charm is a little different from my other children's. I love that Ann Marie's charm has AM on it. And I most of all love the feeling I get of support and strength from people I have never met when I wear it. Thank you so much Brooke and Annette and all the team at I Declare Charms.

Last night I wore my new necklace on my date with my husband to see Wicked for the first time. I sat in my chair enjoying the performance through the first half. At intermission, I was thinking to myself about how I have changed since Camille's death. My in laws were at the performance and I notice that I act more withdrawn and distant than I used to sometimes. I don't mean to. I don't love any less. I just ... am changed.

So then we started into the second half. I felt the challenge to defy the emotional gravity I have been feeling and lift myself up and out into the world. And then the two leads began the song "For Good."

I sat with tears streaming down my face thinking of my little girl and how she has changed me for good. I can only hope that the ways I have been changed for the better outweigh the ways I have been changed for the worse. This much I know for sure, I have been changed for good.

The live music and performance affected me. I felt it deeply and could hardly talk after the show. I still feel remnants of it now. I could barely tell Jon why I was so quiet as we drove home. At home I listened to the music once more on my phone and then I got ready for bed. I kept my necklace on. I just wasn't ready to take it off yet. Then I  snuggled up under my "magic blanket" that my friend LaRae gave us after Camille died. It feels like a hug and reminds me of the love and support I have from both sides of the veil. And I felt loved and supported regardless of how I have been changed. And I slept.