Friday, March 13, 2015

Easier than what?: A mother looks at life without

There's a part of me that died that winter's night.

Illusions. Myths. Platitudes. An old way of looking at faith and life. My future as I'd anticipated it. The ability to be "normal".

A part of me died when my child breathed his last.

I suppose that a part lived, too.

The hope that life can be okay again. That by treasuring my son and the memories of who he was, I can be his memory keeper. I share him and because of this, the world can be a brighter place.

Oh, I have learned the value of so many things. Yes, I can still see the glass half full. My Daniel lived; he loved. I keep all that in my heart.

But every so often this extroverted person I once was just wants to retreat and be alone with her pen and paper. Talk to God. Walk alone on the beach. Not have to play nice or join in the conversations about other people's children. Or other people's small problems that they get so worked up about.

Sometimes so much gets bottled up inside me and I have to let go.

I cry over simple things. Or just feel overwhelming sadness. Over the years, I don't struggle to "feel better". I know how to let these emotions run their course. It's okay to be sad. It's all right to step away from the crowd. And if I grow frustrated that I can't always participate like others can, that's fine, too.

I channel my frustration by writing. I write from the turmoil and as I do, I've been able to produce some beautiful things.

So the question is raised: Does it get any easier?

Easier than being woken to tapes in your mind that replay the horror of watching a four-year-old die and you are helpless to save him? Easier than aching for his hand in yours? Easier than shopping for everyone else and not being able to surprise him with a toy?

You can't erase love. Love remains just as strong and passionate as it was when he was with me on earth.

It's not easy to love for the rest of your life someone you can't see and can only feel in your dreams and memories.

Life does go on. Problems continue to find you. The other children you have have bad days and your mother's heart aches. Life ain't for wimps.

But you know that. It's chiseled in your core. You know a child can die.

And that when he is gone, it means forever on this earth. No more picnics. No more smiles. No more watching all your children grow up together.

Does it get any easier?



It depends on the day of the week, the time of the year. Some days you think you're strong. While other days, especially those insignificant days, you feel like a puddle.

It's all about adapting. Adjusting. Knowing when to bring the tissues.

Perhaps that's what becomes easier. Our ability to cope. Not our ability to live without. Just cope with the without.


  1. My empty arms relate to all of your words, Alice. Thank you for sharing from your heart—for being transparent with how it really is when others want to offer platitudes. I don't blame them. They can't possibly understand. And I pray they never have to. ((HUGS)) dear friend.

  2. Thank you for your blog. Your words say what we feel in our hearts.

  3. well worded summary. learning to live with the without - very true! This summer it will be 20 years since our Bryan died; his birthday next month he would have been 40. Hard to imagine but they are not imagination, these are reality. Love and miss our Bryan. Hurting for all the other families with a special person missing from their physical lives. Love is forever.

  4. further reflection on your question - Easier with time? It has gotten different in the intensity and duration of the intensity, but the loss is always present. I truly have learned the many situations that 'Bittersweet" applies. This is a forever absence. I remember a story about the broken vase that can be put back together but never will be the same. My life was oh so much better with my child in it; through his loss, while I am the 'same' to others, I am totally different on the inside.

    1. I feel the same way. Different on the inside, even if others might not see that.

  5. I can't imagine losing a child but I do know what it means to lose the love of your life and soul mate way too soon. This is a beautiful post and brought tears to my eyes. Love and hugs to you.

    1. Ann, thank you. Comfort and peace to you as you travel this path of deep loss.

  6. Oh Alice, how I cherish your words! Your ability to write so openly and with vulnerability so that all readers, bereaved or not, can be encouraged. My journey has been like a roller times churning the stomach until you want to hurl. Especially when a random thought takes you back to the day Jeffrey breathed his last breath and I find myself hyperventilating as I relive that horrible day. Still, I want to live my life to honor his. I appreciate the beauty that God has created for us to enjoy and I count my blessings. I no longer care if people don't understand that I sometimes cannot participate. I'm a grief-crazed Mama and that's no lie. Thanks for all you do and write for those of us who struggle. Love you Alice! Diane Wolcott

    1. Thank you, Diane! We are a crazed bunch and that is the only way to be in light of all we have been through.

  7. Your words pierce my soul as I still trudge through so many days after six and a half years.