Monday, January 20, 2014

It Happened Again

Special thanks to Holly Polakoff from New Jersey for sending this - she commented that when she falls back into that very uncomfortable "dark place" that feels as though she's drowning in her grief, she pulls out this article and reads it again and again to remind herself that she is going to get through it.  She knows she has to, when her son Burke died suddenly due to a tragic accident at the age of 11, she had 3 younger children who desperately needed her.  But there were times she said, that even her love for her 3 little ones, didn't seem as though it would be enough to help her go on (but of course it was)..  "It Happened Again" was written by Sandy Goodman

It’s happening again.  Right outside my front door, under an inch of leftover snow a daffodil is pushing its way up into the sunlight.  The bare places in my lawn are thawed and messy, and the steady drip from the roof lulls us to sleep. Yesterday I strolled the thirty feet to my mailbox without a jacket.  Spring has reappeared.

Spring is a time for optimism.  Suddenly living seems easier, happier, and less stressful.  Depression lifts and a feeling of hope fills the air.  We shed our winter blues and replace our frowns and cantankerous attitudes with smiles and loving kindness.  We visit with our neighbors over fences, clean up the barbecues, and start leafing through seed catalogues.  Life is good….but not invariably and not for everyone. 

I remember a spring that bore no resemblance to what I’ve just described.  It was the spring of ’97 and it was the first spring after my son’s death.  By the time the first warm day arrived that year, the numbness of Jason’s death had disappeared and I had entered what I call the “pit of grief.”  Simply typing this paragraph takes me back in time and once again, I am there…..

.....and it is cold and dark.  I am alone, curled up in a corner of this make believe place where
.....only my pain exists.  The sorrow is my only link to him, my only awareness, the only thing that 
.....matters.  If I allow myself to move away from it, I may lose him again.  I cannot do that.  I
.....cannot take that chance.  And so I hold it, cradle the pain in my arms, shielding it from those
.....who want to take it from me, and I weep……

However, spring arrives without invitations and it calls on everyone.  It skips in like a long awaited guest and expects to be welcomed with open arms.  I recall what seemed like the entire world growing jovial and lighthearted, which merely pushes me to tunnel further in my corner and the sanctuary of my grief.  I longed for the reappearance of winter because it had kept the “ones who do not know” away from the door.  I remember feeling betrayed.  How could the earth suddenly wake up and come alive when my son had no opportunity to do so?

It’s happening again.  Spring is once again knocking on our doors.  Each of you know, love, or can befriend someone who is precisely where I was (ten) years ago.

The winter has been long and hard; you are ready for a new beginning.  I understand.  I share your anticipation.  (Ten) years ago is not now.  My corner of the pit had been occupied by many since my stay there, and I have no intention of revisiting it.  But there are many who have just descended and they are burrowing in, seeking solitude.  Although I firmly believe that being there is a necessary task in getting to the other side of grief, I also believe that we must come out occasionally for fresh air and sunshine.  It is up to you, and to me, to go into this world and reach out for her hand.  Once she’s taken hold, her chance of successfully climbing out is greatly increased.  So go on, go buy those doughnuts…..someone is waiting just for you.

Sandy Goodman is the author of “ Love Never Dies: A Mother’s Journey from Loss to Love”

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