I am heading into ‘THE WEEK’. You know what I’m talking about… the days leading up to the last day of my son, Brandon’s, life. October 9th, this Friday marks the five year mark. On one hand time has never marched forward so slow, and yet, often feels like the blink of an eye since Brandon left. I can still see his smile, warm brown eyes, and the scar on the back of his right hand from falling through a window – and remember so much about him that only a Mother would know.
And yes, I miss him horribly.
Right now, and all I can handle is ‘right now’, I feel deeply blessed and like my life is overflowing with abundance. I also feel like there is a massive shift happening deep below the surface. It feels like there is an alignment happening that has been rumbling for a while and has finally found a place to settle.
These feelings are in complete opposition in every way than what ‘THIS WEEK’ usually feels like.
Although I will say, that one thing I have learned about anniversary and other special dates is not to get attached to any given feeling because each year brings it’s own shift. This is the essence of grief, ever changing, morphing, expanding and contracting.
Tweet: This is the essence of grief, ever changing, morphing, expanding and contracting. Read this post. http://bit.ly/1LdxAuQ @crazygoodgrief [click to tweet]
Honestly, this huge shift feels both wonderful & honorable and a little WTF… and I know that at any moment I could shift again. But, for now, it feels good and I want to be with all of it.
I also think there is a really good reason for this unexpected peace. Below are the three reasons I can attribute this too.
1. Being connected to a community (a Kula) of like minded parents.
As some of you know for the last five weeks I have hosted a live conf call on Tues night where I shared the five things I’ve learned in five years that have helped me. Each call ended with Q&A/discussion with the incredible parents who are also doing the hard work of healing. It has been incredibly humbling to give and take healing messages!
I highly recommend that you stick around and get connected to this Kula so you too can get the healing juju!
2. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Period!
Time doesn’t do anything but march along uninterrupted…. but… Work in Action can be a powerful healer. I have been very mindful in recent days to do the things I know work put me in a positive mindset…. cutting back on coffee & sugar, increasing exercise, journaling in the morning, practicing gratitude.
I have been checking in with myself on almost a moment to moment basis. Being present and aware of what’s going on beneath the surface and making small course corrections before I am completely derailed and way off course. (read: feeling like hammered shit – physically & emotionally)
3. Changing the way I look at this period of time.
I have one of my beautiful Moms to thank for this. On the call last week this Mamma said she feels like these days are ‘sacred’ time (her angelversary had just passed). It resonated so deeply with my soul! The power of choice – I, no one else, gets to decide how I define this time… and I choose honor and love.
And so… I have decided to treat this week like my own sacred holiday. I am going to create my own rituals like we do for Easter, Ramadan, Hanukkah or whatever else you all might celebrate. I’m going to eat special food (like we do on other holidays), and make time for celebration and remembering.
Tweet: Find out why this period of time in my life has just become a personal holiday. http://bit.ly/1LdxAuQ @crazygoodgrief #grief #lifeafterloss [click to tweet]
Of course I plan to cry and connect to missing my incredible son. I also hope to be committed to using this time to get intimate with my grief. Just like any relationship grief and I need to check in and do some maintenance.
I am fully committed to my relationship with grief because grief will be an intimate part of my life as long as I love my son… and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
When I think of it this way October 9th becomes an anniversary about love not grief. I choose, grief doesn’t get to choose this for me.
In the comments below tell me your Love Anniversary date. Who knows maybe we should celebrate together sometime!
April 15th 2009 Zach
September 12th 2011 Ben
April 30th 2014 Ivan
January 23, 2015 is our daughter’s Heaven-Birthday
We are planning to honor our beautiful Eunice by doing a found raising activity for the scholarship that was created on her name, we say “love in action” activity, but as a family we are also going to make a special ritual of some sort, we haven’t figure it out yet, maybe a family trip every year in her honor, we are so early on this journey.
Sending you hugs and love Paula, I’ll be thinking about you and Brandon next week.
August 14, 2000 Jesse
July 6, 2011 Justin
July 17th,2015, Johnny
July 17th of this year,2015.
Litzi – Thank you for sharing. You are so early, fresh and raw. Please read my words with the heart of knowing that you won’t always be where you are not, everything changes. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. <3
September 9, 2014 Cody
Oct. 10 is just our son’s 6th month angelversary —I am already a basket case just thinking about it…and I’m supposed to attend a wedding that day…..I will need a padded room before the day is over. Everyone says I have to go…..do they know how hard it is to just breathe…let alone function….
ugh… I have a sense of how yucky that will be. About 6 months after Brandon died I had to go to a funeral, it was horrible! Really check in with yourself and honor your healing. I don’t know the circumstances but get clear on what serves your healing and if you don’t feel like you can do – don’t. *hugs*
I have to agree with Paula…UGH! My son Tim’s death anniversary date is Oct. 12th, 2008 and there are still functions that I can not attend. People can not understand how hard it is because hopefully they have never lost a child. The only suggestion I have for you is to take care of you…whatever you decide….and keep breathing!
James – 27 June 2015 son
Robert – 6 October 2013 husband
8 am November 1, 1999
February 7 2016 will be Doug’s one year crapaversary.
At the Mom who mentioned the wedding:don’t go if you don’t want to. In Judaism you are supposed to mourn and not attend such events for one year. I pushed myself twice to attend things and both time it was bad for me and I left.
November 26 marks the fourth anniversary of our son’s death. This year falling on Thanksgiving Day. I will take a long walk, cook for my family, including something he especially loved, hug my daughter and granddaughters constantly and remember my son and the 27 wonderful years we had with him.
Eric September 28, 2007
Marika Joy Warden died on March 4, 2011. I like your idea of making this a personal holiday and even taking a vacation. Hugs!
Elizabeth, Fischer, Ben and unborn baby Hayes, went to heaven on July 30, 2012.
I always take the day off and go to special places that my daughter and grandsons shared special memories.
Make memorial wreaths, go to the cemetery, clean up the grounds and spend the day remembering and honoring……I am the keeper of their legacies. I am proud and honored to do so.
Trentin’s angelversary is July 28th, 2013 his birthday July 23rd. You and other grieving parents have really helped me look at my grief in a way too that I can accept the pain because of the awesome love and relationship I had with Trent before he went to heaven, I love your idea of celebrating. I have been practicing living my life as if Trent and I of course still have a relationship it’s just different now, it’s only natural to have a celebration, ritual, party whatever your comfortable with to keep your dear loved one a part of our lives. Namasta
Suzannah…1-4-201love tou ging
Oct 3 – and I love the idea of treating the time as sacred time. The only thing we know for sure is that we are going to continue to get tatted up :), and just go where our hearts take us. I will say that the anticipation of the 1st anniversary of his death was much worse than the actual day – I found a lot of peace that day, just celebrating him and surrendering to the feelings that I normally compartmentalize to make others feel less uncomfortable.
My daughter Ellen’s first anniversary was last Friday, October 2nd. It is truly a myth that so many peothat the grieving period ends after one year. People think you should be able to move on after a year but I’ll tell you I didn’t feel any better the next morning.
Dec. 13, 2011 Eric Randall Dunn Some only dream of Angels, I was blessed to be held by one O:)
We just finished our week, Justin September 27, 2010. Five years. We give ourselves the week before and the week after as days to be extra gentle with ourselves and each other.
march 20th. 2015 will be 2 yrs. he was only 34 yrs old. We have not put him in the cemetery yet. I was waiting to do it with his kids now 9 and 10. Do you think it’s to late? Yesterday I designed his headstone. His dad who passed 4 yrs ago will be buried with him. Any thoughts on involving the kids would be appreciated. Mom had the kids at his celebration of life and they were not their for that either. :(. -Kate
August 12, 2015 – he was 22.
Just finished one of our weeks. Garth Sept 30…buried him on my birthday Oct 4. Have another week for Gunnar coming Nov 12. Both my kids. It sucks.
October 31st is Emma’s second Anniversary.she was 24.
On today, 10/6/2012, three years ago. Both of my sons, Paul and Mason, died. Honoring their memories today.
November 17, 2014 -my brother was 16
Thank you for sharing! I love the celebration and holiday of the Angelversary. A tender, beautiful, sacred time.
I would love to meet you & celebrate (share) together. I would probably say this when we met…..
1st off – losing our child(ren) is pure BS. 2nd. There is absolutely nothing we can do about it, right? 3rd. I don’t see any other choice except to survive. What choice is there except to survive – for many reasons??? So………..why not grab hold of what you (Paula) is showing us? Showing me?
I am now 6 years w/o my sweet daughter & keep thinking I’ll just turn the corner & be “okay”. NOT!! But, I’m here to say – no matter the length of time – this takes work. It’s hard work – but, with positive results. Not to say, there aren’t bad days. Not to say, I’m still not struggling & still not searching for answers. It still sucks!! I still cry, still go to my knees.
But – you, Paula have Truly helped me start on a path of finding a way to LIVE. I wish I’d found you earlier. You are making me think, making me explore, helping me be a better me.
Paula – I’m thinking of you as you remember your sweet Brandon. Thank you for your continued honesty about losing your son, sharing your struggles, and keeping it real. And, thank you for helping us move towards a healthier life – not without our child(ren) – but, with them by our side.
Hugs to you.
Karen – You are such a sweet soul! I’m glad we’ve connected and can walk this journey together. *hugs*
My son was 17 years old when he died while working the first day on the job commercial fishing on Lake Winnipeg. He was a high school student. It will be 16 years on October 23, 2015. Already I am dreading next year when he will be gone longer than he was alive.
We miss him very much each and every day.
January 23rd was my first angelversary to get thru. My daughter Sarah, was the youngest of my triplets. 19 1/2 yrs to the date.
Sean’s angelversary is 7/14/13. He was 35 years old and has a twin sister.