Sunday, April 18, 2010


Grief has been my kidney stone recently.

Most injuries, most illnesses that result in pain, make people motionless. If I don't move my broken arm, it won't hurt. Not kidney stones. That sharp edged stone just doesn't settle into a comfortable spot in the ureter with it's smooth walls. So most people with kidney stones are constantly shifting, trying without success to find that one position where it doesn't hurt.

This has been my recent MO. Henry's absence has been a constant presence for me. My middling and I scrubbed fingerprints off of doors this morning, and all I could think was that none of them were Henry's anymore. We went to a high school production last night, and ordered 4 tickets. Not 5. I spent it wondering if he would have liked it (decided he wouldn't have). My middling is lying on the floor building with Legos as I type. Alone. Without her brother.

And the discomfort that is leading to has me constantly looking, without success, for that position of relief. When I'm at work, I'm wishing I wasn't, wanting to be home where I can be alone with my pain, take off the happy face. Home hasn't been much of a relief either. My impulse is to push the girls away, though I feel terrible about it. Being along doesn't help much either, I spend it wishing my family was with me again.

I do feel the need for a support group, that I have yet to find. Our family grief group is useful, and I am grateful for it, but it's brief, far away, and we have trouble getting there now that soccer season is in full swing. I have not found an online group that I feel I can participate with. Most parents seem to turn to religion and the afterlife to comfort themselves, and I can't find any solace there. To boot, I have a realistic fear that I'm just barely hanging in there right now, and I am afraid of someone else's naked grief pulling me under.

I have also recognized that I have significant anxiety about three upcoming events. They are all very public fundraising events where people we love and who loved Henry give their time and money to support. I've admitted to myself that I'm dreading each one. Social events suck me dry of all energy on a good day; to stand and welcome friends, and strangers, and thank them genuinely, as they deserve, is exhausting. I feel like I have a scarlet letter on my chest, whatever letter you'd wear as a bereaved parent. It's awkward, and uncomfortable, and I wish they were over. These events are important, and I'm so appreciative of the work that goes into them, and the fundraising that results, but I just want them to be done.

So, this post was my attempt at lithotripsy, to break that damn stone up a little bit so I can pass it soon. I continue to find this blog a huge source of support; I remain grateful to all of you.


rlbates said...

I remain here to give you any measure of support and relief I can. Hug those girls for me.

Anonymous said...

I wish Henry was still with you. I'm so sorry.


Katerina said...

I am sorry but completely relate re. those events. I hope happier days will return, your spring post was so hopeful.

Keeping you in my thoughts and wishing much strength.

P.S. Forgive me for saying this but I have wondered if medication would be helpful; but you're a doctor and must have your own reasons for not taking that route. I struggled with "moderate" PPD (it certainly didn't seem "moderate" to me) and a small dose of Zoloft was the one thing that helped me lift myself out of the darkness. Again, I'm sorry for being so forward.

Anonymous said...

I don't find the right words to tell you what I want to say, but know that I'm always reading your posts, and that I keep you and your family in my thoughts.

twinmom said...

You said in an earlier post that many find the second year to be worse than the first. So it's likely to get worse before it gets better - and then, not sure "better" is the right word. Perhaps just less intense, less omnipresent? I always find truth in your writing, the bare naked kind. I'm glad it helps you too.

radioactive girl said...

I am so sorry. If you ever need anything that I could help with, please ask. I wish there was something I could do to take away the pain and make it all just go away.

I totally relate to the just barely hanging on and not wanting someone else to pull you under. I avoided in person support groups for that same reason.

As for finding meaning or a reason for it all, I never could figure out how to do that. Because of that it was hard to relate to online support groups. I see you are in about the same place with that and I am sorry.

Anonymous said...

I share your thoughts and feelings. My daughter has been gone for 13 years. I still think about what ifs and why and all of the questions because I don't understand. I am now dealing with younger siblings wondering so much of the same things that I do.
I honestly don't know how you move on and live without wondering....this wasn't meant to be.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading for a year. I have never commented. I love reading your intelligent, thoughtful and honest posts. Your voice is so clear, so strong. As much as your readers may help you to cope with your grief, you help us to see what it means to live with grace and courage. I am truly so sorry for your loss of Henry. I hope that you find a way to thank all those people, even if you really just want to be left alone. And I hope that knowing we are thinking of you and your family helps you in some way.

...tom... said...


I have been absent too long . . .that is my loss, not yours. If 'loss' is not a meaningless word now.


"Social events suck me dry of all energy on a good day; to stand and welcome friends, and strangers, and thank them genuinely, as they deserve, is exhausting. I feel like I have a scarlet letter on my chest, whatever letter you'd wear as a bereaved parent. It's awkward, and uncomfortable, and I wish they were over."

Interesting to me that you would feel 'sucked dry' by these moments.

While they might be physically and mentally challenging ...I would think they would return something to you as well. Warm thoughts, hugs, knowing (or unknowing) yet unspoken thoughts, touches shared, awkward words ...hard on the outside but meaningful on the inside,

I would think the same challenges and rewards that you find here, doing this blog without a net, would also be found there. Surrounded by people who cared then and care even more deeply now and tomorrow. Even as they slowly forget what you cannot and never will.

As someone who refuses to accept the possibility of something . . .'else' beyond this mortal coil ...I would think the love and support of the 'here and now' would somehow be oh so important.

Perhaps I misunderstand ...perhaps I/we can never understand without suffering a similar loss.

Hmmm. As always I am left thinking after reading here . . .even without 'big words'. ...:minism:...

As always, warm thoughts (spring thoughts this time..!!) from the heartland.