Waiting for the Waves

grief quote

Most days I don’t think about the waves. I function like a somewhat normal person and my life seems about as sane at it can for that given day. I get things done. I might have lunch with a friend or have a mini-binge watching session of a good comedy. I might even laugh. I smile. I’m content.

And then out of nowhere, in the middle of a seemingly innocent activity I am engulfed by a wave that if I’m lucky just reaches my waist and throws me a bit off balance. I’m able to steady myself, brush myself off, blink back a few tears, and quiet the ache in my heart. Other times those mini waves are not in the cards and I’m knocked off my feet. My head is under water. I’m sputtering and flailing, trying to regain my footing. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. I can’t do anything but cry.

I can’t predict when the waves will come or how overwhelming they might be. Sometimes the biggest waves flow in and out, temporarily destroying me and yet I’m able to stand quickly- all the terror and pain residing. Other times tiny waves that lap at my ankles and cause little chaos linger for days. Or vice versa.

“Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It is originally an unlearned feeling process. Keeping grief inside increases your pain.” -Anne Grant

I lost my loved one less than six months ago. I thought I had suffered loss in my life but nothing prepared me for the magnitude of what I felt when I saw that she was gone. I knew when I entered the house that morning and no one was waiting at the top of the stairs to give me an update. I put my bag on “my” chair at the kitchen table and set down my keys and tea. I remember feeling like I was wading through something I couldn’t see as I made my way the short distance to my loved one’s room. It was the breathless crying, the sound of sorrow that floated down to greet me, that was all the confirmation I needed.

My life changed forever that morning. Although her passing was not unexpected, it wasn’t expected quite that quickly. And nothing has been the same since then. I wasn’t prepared. There was no way I could be.

I know that it won’t always be like this. The waves will calm down a little, maybe lessen in frequency. I know that this first year is the worst. And because of the timing of her passing, I expect the beginning of the second year to be a bit rocky. I am fully aware that I cannot prepare for any of it and I just need to roll with it. I am going to continue to wait for the waves, get through each day, week, month…..until I can settle into a new normal for my life. One that goes on without my precious loved one in it.

-Kat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

Friday Fuzz- Sadness

“Every human walks around with a certain kind of sadness. They may not wear it on their sleeves, but it’s there if you look deep.” -Taraji P. Henson
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A transgender teenager threw himself in front of a train. If you know the right people, have liked the right pages on Facebook or follow the right people on Twitter, you have heard about him. It’s a tragedy. Any time a person takes their own life, it’s devastating. That a child who had his entire life ahead of him felt like he had no other choice breaks my heart. As a teenager he was out of options. He felt he had nowhere to turn.

I have encountered his story in news articles, in Facebook groups and even here in blogs. I’ve read commentaries made by parents of transgender children. I’ve read articles written by people who are not familiar with transgender people. In some, the parents are quoted. And in some they are not. Sometimes the correct pronouns are used. Sometimes they are not. It’s driving me crazy!

Here’s what we know- a transgender teenager killed himself by stepping in front of a speeding train and now he is gone. He was obviously suffering greatly.

Are his parents to blame? I don’t know. I don’t have anything to go on. I don’t know how long his parents knew that their child was transgender. I don’t know if they were supportive or not. I don’t know if they were truly trying or not. I don’t know what they knew about being transgender or if they even understood what it meant. I don’t know if they turned their backs on him. I don’t know if they truly believed he was transgender or suicidal or what.

Was his extended family supportive? Did they know? What was his support system like? Did he have one? I don’t know any of these things.

People are passing judgment on his parents. People are looking for someone to blame. People are trying to cope. I get that.

As a parent of a transgender child, it makes me feel scared and angry and helpless. Whether transgender or not, it is very terrifying to hear that your child has thought about suicide. Your blood runs cold. Your heart seizes up. You suddenly cannot swallow the huge boulder of a lump in your throat. In your paralyzing fear, you are trying to get your limbs to move- to race to your child and hold him in your arms and keep him safe.

I know this because 8 months ago I sat in a psychiatrist’s office and heard him ask Kris, “Do you still have thoughts of suicide?”  Wait, what, STILL??? His answer- “Yes.” I won’t share any of the conversation that followed his admission. I will never forget it.

And so, someone’s child is gone. He will never know the full potential of who he could have been. He barely experienced his life at all. And he had a mere few seconds of living in the gender he knew he was. We will never know the great things he could have done, the awesome man he was going to grow into being. It’s his loss. The world’s loss. And regardless of where his parents, family and friends fell in the equation- their loss.

I can’t sit here and judge who failed and where the blame lays. I can only grieve for a child who is gone much too soon.

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