A newly bereaved mom, the other day, saw this meme that I had posted and shared with me that the death of her child has torn her down and that her life is Empty and will always be so.
These are words that I have spoken.
These are emotions that I know.
It was that way for me, for years…..
Then, somewhere along the way, I honored my Robbie
(and surprised the Stuffing out of me)
by becoming an intentional survivor instead of a collateral victim of her death.
Never expected that….never even wanted it.
But I live on, and she lives through me and through the Good Stuff that I do for others.
I know that I have belief that no one in the world could be more BEREFT.
I was certain that the word BEREFT had been invented for me.
Recently, I sat in for a Mother’s Day webinar that TCF hosted in May, in conjunction with Open Hope to Hope.
There was one thing that was a light bulb for me in that webinar.
An elderly mom was speaking to her daughter, who is in her sixties. Daughter had both been widowed and had her daughter died within the same very short few month period.
Mom said to her daughter
“Nothing stays the same.”
And it’s true.
With each inhale and with each exhale, things change, whether we want them to or not.
I never ever ever ever ever had a goal to “get better” following Robyn’s death.
At best, I have been ambivalent about being alive. I have woken up morning after morning after morning after morning after morning depressed and consumed with horrible, terrible, eviscerating pain because I woke up and was still alive. Life has been nothing but feeling like a torturous prison sentence without any possibility of parole. Since Robyn died I have been filled with anger and resentment that I was forced to stay here without her.
I lost my bucket list.
I lost my light heartedness.
I lost Me.
I very much relate to the statement that I died too, they just didn’t bury me.
My world once chaotic and filled with color and fantasy and fun became Grey…and, simply, Without…..
I knew that I had reason to still feel thanks and to still feel love and still be loved, but it was if all of my emotion, other than pain, missing and longing, had been stripped from me with her last breath.
I just Didn’t Care.
I stopped being the driver and executor of my life, and became only a passenger, trapoed by the very Act of Breathing that I didn’t want to do.
There is such guilt when this BEREFT Mom can’t muster any enthusiasm for other loved ones in my life…. for hating to be around other mothers and their children, especially mothers and their daughters…. the guilt of cheating my husband out of the warm, wonderful, kind, compassionate, fun-loving woman he fell in love with and married, and giving him back only a blank, life-less shell of whom I once was…..
The guilt of being with my son and daughter-in-law; or my step-children and their children~ and instead of being immersed in family and love and possibilities, only feeling void and pain and the missing of my daughter….
And I was resigned to accept this and experience this for all of my days….
And honestly, just didn’t care if it were ever different.
And HOW COULD it ever be different?
The only way it could ever be “better”, would be if Robyn were suddenly alive.
I never went to Compassionate Friends workshops or meetings or gatherings to get “better”; especially since my belief was that such an existence was not only NOT possible, but not wanted.
My loving life, as I knew it to be, had ended with the death of my daughter.
And I felt guilty for cheating those around me who didn’t sign on for this existence.
It was, at the time, Robyn’s Legacy. Robyn’s Death Destroyed My Life.
But I kept going to meetings and workshops.
My intent, I think, was to not feel so alone in my pain.
My intent, I think, was to have a place where I could say Robyn’s name over and over and over again; where I could share her stories, where I didn’t have to bite my tongue because of someone else’s discomfort, where she could sit with me and be with me and we were together, unashamedly near other people, other than only in the pain and dark hidden caverns of my mind and heart.
Without me planning on it
Without me wanting it
Without me even feeling the need for it,
all fueled by my continuing and growing love for my daughter, began to seep back into the far edges of this prison sentence I was living.
NOTHING STAYS THE SAME
I expected it only to get worse and worse and worse with every exhale and inhale breath.
My goal has been, only, to try to get through another day; to exist for another set of 24 hours, because purposely ending my life was never an option.
I gave my soul to my grief.
I never softened it.
I never denied it.
I never hid from it.
I never tried to bury it.
I have lived with it in tandem.
And, Slowly, the color has begun to move deeper towards the center of my life.
My Grief remains with me, always, not only by my side, but inside of me.
Robyn remains cremains in my pendant.
Robyn remains no longer encased in human form.
NOTHING STAYS THE SAME
These years are passing.
And with each passing day
With Each passing inhale and exhale
My love for my daughter continues to grow
That ever accumulating love
has begun to outshine the darkness of The Pain of Her Death
and The Grays from her absence in my physical life.
Her ever growing love for me and mine for her
is bringing more color than I ever would have known could be possible.
I have always agreed with author Nicholas Soarks that the reason why we hurt so much is because we love so deeply….
From her place in Death,
Robyn is teaching me
that we continue to love deeply
And more deeply
And more deeply.
With those inhales and with those exhales,
Grows Stronger. ….
Because I am no longer immersed in ONLY the pain.
Because I have not only Allowed,
but Welcomed love
back into my life
and into my heart.
I learned to recognize and gratefully accept the gifts that Robyn continues to give to me;
of course, our continued bond
(though I still feel so cheated from the relationship that I want)
and our ever-growing love, now untainted by the restraints of human boundaries and human tugs-of-war and human relationships…..
The Color that she is introducing back into my life….
the people and the living relationships that she leads to me.
I have come to recognize that we are still in a partnership; though we do not have the one that I would have chosen, nor is this the one that I want,
this is the one that I GET,
And I relish the little scraps of what I have, rather than live in only what I do not.
7 years later and the reality of it,
IT STILL SUCKS.
NOTHING STAYS THE SAME.
NOTHING IS STAGNANT.
The Sucking hasn’t gone away, and I presume never will.
but the balance has shifted because OUR LOVE continues to grow,
And it is that love that I try to allow to fill my spirit.
NOTHING STAYS THE SAME.
I haven’t gotten “better” since Robyn’s death.
Many parts of who I was before have not come back.
Many parts of me are less than and worse than I was 7 years ago, before my first born child was killed.
But I am not The Same.
I am Different.
I have been Becoming Different through all these years.
I am no longer BEREFT, though I still know sadness and depression and loneliness and angst.
In Life, Robbie needed me to be a good person,
to be a helpful person,
to be someone who she could walk with respctfully,
Who she could introduce to others and say with purpose and pride, “This is MY Mom….”
I think that she STILL needs that and expects that from me every bit as much as she did for the 28 years that I got to spend on Earth with her this time.
I remain her mother for as long as I live.
And it remains my job to be the best mother that I can be….
even one that has included years of barely functioning and being bereft,
and suffering pain that I can’t imagine ever living through.
There will always be a hole in my physical life the shape of Robyn.
There will always be a pain and missing and longing and wanting.
There are things that were “just ours” that will never be done again, because the pain of not physically sharing with her is too great for me to Bear and still continue to breathe.
There are Things that we used to do together that I do now in her memory.
And there are so so so many things, mostly surrounding my support of other bereaved families and the education of Grief, but I never ever ever expected to be doing…. yet that I do, filled with her love and do gratefully in her honor.
My life will never be The Same.
I am not The Same.
NOTHING STAYS THE SAME.
With every inhale and every exhale of every breath, I am here in the physical world, to remind all of this nature, all of This Universe, that Robbie was, and indeed, remains a part of it.
Nothing Stays The Same.
And I am allowing Our Love to continue to grow ♥