Thursday, March 20, 2014

{i thought i knew grief}


Having experienced considerable grief throughout my life I thought that I was well prepared for saying goodbye to Holden. But nothing in my life to date has prepared me for how I’ve been feeling since we said goodbye.

There is a quiet, dull, aching emptiness in my soul that won’t be soothed. It seems driven by the absence of Holden’s actual physical presence in my life. I’m amazed at how tangible it feels.  And I think made so much worse by the fact that we’ve just moved house and there are no memories of him in our new and unfamiliar space.

I have so much compassion for people who have lost a close loved one, like my Aunt who recently lost her partner of 25 years. I can’t even imagine what that absence feels like and how she makes her way through her days. Or people who lose a child. How do they ever move forward with their lives? It takes so much courage and strength to live with grief.

On some level I thought that because we made a conscious decision to end his life {and his suffering} that it would be easier. But in truth the decision has tormented me. In the depths of my grief it has felt like something I have brought on myself and something that I desperately want to be able to undo. My mind has played terrible tricks on me with questions about how sick he really was and whether the timing was right. The hard truth is that he was dying, perhaps slowly, but inevitably. Another truth is that he was suffering, how much we don’t really know. And surely another truth is that we did the most humane thing.

I know that I don’t need to question myself, and I’m not doing it on purpose. It’s just part of the impact that making this decision has had on me.

Mostly though I’m just incredibly sad.

I dreamt of my sweet boy a couple of nights ago. It was such a relief and a comfort to see him. In fact, it was probably the first point at which I started to feel somewhat OK. Before that it felt like he had just completely disappeared from my life, which was causing me so much pain. At least in dreams we can still hang out together every now and then. And who is to say whether the substance of dreams are imagined or really about finding each other in some other realm.

To live the rest of my days without him in my life is simply too much to bear.


  1. My friend, I am sorry for the grief you are going through, but I am glad you are sharing your process here. Grief really needs to be discussed more often, because it really is a universal experience and should not be hidden in the shadows.

    Your idea that 'the substance of dreams are imagined or really about finding each other in some other realm' is a lovely one and I think an idea that many people actually experience, but don't share for fear of ridicule, so thank you for sharing it here with us all =-) May I share your quote?

  2. Oh Cathy, I know how you feel .... our family had to make that decision when I was younger and it is so very hard. There is a time for grief and that for you is now. I think it is good that you are sharing your grief with us. It is good to let out how you are feeling. Grief is something overcome by time. I pray that time will pass quickly for you and that you will be left with beautiful memories that you will cherish in your heart forever.