Building this blog has been on my brain for months now. I just didn’t ever start writing. And now I am. But not at all in the way I expected too.
I’ve waited because life has just felt heavy and hard for many months now and I wasn’t sure how/what/where to start. I wasn’t sure what I could share that would be bright and uplifting and empowering. And now here I am. Writing. And now it’s heavy. No, it’s really heavy. Now it’s different. Now, I’m different.
Now, I’m one of those moms. The mom I hoped I’d never have to be. I don’t think there is a “name” for what I am now. I just know it’s not a club I want to be part of, but here I am. I didn’t get to choose. I didn’t get a say. I’m just here. It’s my life now. It’s part of me. It’s my reality.
I’m a mother who had to bury a child. Three weeks ago, my 18-year-old son died, tragically. I’m still trying to sort things out in my mind. I’m still trying to process the events of that night. The events of the weeks prior to that night. The months and years prior. I’m still trying to recall details, all while desperately wishing my reality was something different than it is and hoping this is all just a nightmare and I’ll wake up and my boy will still be here. I’m trying to work out in my mind how and why my son felt he had no other option but to end his own life. I’m trying not to spiral into self blame and guilt about all the “shoulda, woulda and what if’s”. I’m trying desperately to continue on for my children. To be a stable, loving and solid figure in their lives as they each navigate this journey they’ve been given. I’m trying to have a healthy relationship with my spouse as we both mourn and grieve and allow each other to do the same in our very different and individual ways. I’m trying to figure out how and why the rest of the world seems to just keep going while mine seems stuck and completely turned upside down.
I don’t know what this is going to look like, exactly. I just know that along with my hurt, my frustration, my sadness, my grief, my anger and my confusion, somewhere deep inside of me, I still feel HOPE. I still have FAITH. I still see God’s gracious, loving and merciful hand in my life and in the life of my family. I believe that God is very aware of me, of my sorrow and my agony. In all that I have experienced in my 40 years on earth (and apparently it’s a lot according to my closest friends) I do not, for one second, believe that I’ve been abandoned by God. I do not believe he sent me or anyone else here to suffer and hurt. I believe that though our trials and earthy sorrows, He has a plan and a purpose for us. That there can be purpose in our pain, if we choose to seek it and find it. I haven’t found it yet in the loss of my son. I can’t even fathom finding it, if I’m to be honest, but my soul believes it.
I know that we don’t talk about mental health enough. I know that we don’t always talk about addictions and substance abuse in the right ways. I know that we don’t talk openly and open minded enough about about our youth and young adults who are hurting and struggling. I know we’re not educated enough on these subjects as a society to be able to lend the support and help that individuals need. I know that most people are doing the best they can with what they know. I also know we can’t do better until we know better. I also know that unless I seek it out, I’ll never know better to do better. So, in memory of my son, Teagan, and for my six other children, my daughter-in-law, my future grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, and all human beings who ever have or will struggle, I’m going to do my best to learn, to educate myself and others and to know better so I can do better. I hope to create space for people to openly talk about struggles without judgement. I hope to create space for people to find the help and hope they need. I also hope to create space for those loss survivors who are trying to navigate the seemingly impossible waters of grief and pain. While this isn’t what I expected, here I am living this reality and I’m going to do my very best with what I’ve been given.