Thursday, December 13, 2012

Old Grief

What will grief look like when we're 60?

Currently, we're celebrating Christmas with Andrew in our presence. He has a stocking hanging near the tree, where his ashes are on the bookshelf. I bought him an ornament last year and this year and intend to buy one every year forevermore. Of course, that makes me wonder if by my 60th year, he'll have 32 ornaments? What will I do with them all, and how healthy will that be?

I know my grief will change. But I don't ever want it to change so drastically that Andrew is a distant memory. It's already hard enough admitting that he sort of is that distant memory.

I struggle with thinking about how eventually this mourning might become old hat. Andrew used to be the first person I woke up thinking about. Now, that's not the case. I guess it's healthy that he's not, but I still think of him many times each day.

December is just his month. It's hard for me not to think about him often. It's hard for me to hang decorations and walk by them all day long without thinking about being pregnant with him. After all, it was the last time Christmas decorations were seen in and around our home.

I can't imagine blogging about grief from age 28 until I'm elderly. Or maybe I can? I do love to write and I did start this blog far before Andrew died... so maybe I can keep writing. Will I write about him every year? I'm scared of the answer, honestly. I want to know his memory is alive to me and I fear that this grief will get "old" in some ways.

What about you guys? Ever think about how grief will change over the course of your lifetime?


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I wonder about this a lot, especially as many bloggers in our "cohort" have stopped writing--not because their grief is over by any means, but because how long can we keep saying the same thing? We love them. We miss them. It hurts. It's not fair. It never will be.

I write my blog for myself (and my parents, I guess) so I know I'll keep writing. But I expect it's natural that there will be fewer posts about how much I miss Eliza and more posts about what her sister is doing.

I keep going back to that poem I just posted. It's not about the weight of our grief--it's how we carry it. As time goes on, I'm sure we'll carry it much differently, and that's a good thing.

But it will never be ok, you know?

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Yup, it really never will be okay.

As one of the bloggers who has cut down how much she blogs (because that's exactly it- I have nothing new to say except I really hate how this version of my life sucks more than I ever thought my life would be). But grief? Grief is forever.

I have bought a few Jack ornaments this year- and I know I should only buy one, but somehow it occurs to me that this is really all I can do.. All I can collect where no one questions what I'm doing, or why...

Christmas is bittersweet- two Christmases without Jack, the eve of his birth, and yet there were some happy moments sprinkled in there too just two years ago.

But 32 Andrew ornaments on the tree? Why not? With any luck, Benjamin and Gracie will be happily wed with trees upon which to hang their own ornaments, and Andrew will always be associated with the holiday. It's just how it is.

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

I also wonder about this a lot. I also fast forward to the far, far future, when I'm very old, and Dave is probably gone (women in my family live forever, both sides) and my children are maybe scattered away from me.

What is there to keep an old woman from her thoughts? I hope the grief doesn't come back to haunt me.

It's as you, say, I don't wake up anymore with Georgie as the first thing on my mind. I love her more than myself, more than my own life, but I never want to go back to that place.

I am hoping time continues to soften it.

In the meantime, I will collect all the Christmas ornaments I feel like. If that means someday that she has her own full length tree, so be it.

Right now, her tree is only 3 ft tall. I'm doing good so far. :)

Paula said... [Reply to comment]

I rarely blog anymore. It is not that I have nothing to say but nothing new. His memory has not faded but it is changing. I think of him often but it is not all consuming like it was in the beginning. I know I will never forget and yes I do hope that when I am 60 I will have little memories still present in my life, lots of ornaments just for him. Things change but the actual missing it is still the same.

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

I see ahead of me my mother her son, my brother died several hours after birth. Shestill thinks of him I know. Especially around his birthday in November. She talks about him more with me now since Camille died. But she also has a religious belief that she willl see him again. I know grief changes... It already has. But I feel like even in my feelings that I still miss her and that will never change, muddied and how it affects ny life is still changing. It's still really fresh for me. I don't feel oldsbout it. I feel like it was yesterday and 100years ago simultaneously. I didn't buy her an ornament this year and I don't have a stocking...Something I was talking with my therapist this morning about. But I do little things here and there. Blogging and reading blogs is really important to me. I'd do it more if I had a computer. Because writing comments via iPhone blows. Instagram has been great for me too because I feel really connected to my BLM friends and it helps foster the friendships and make themfeel more real. So right now it's hard to say where i will be in 60 years but right now I need the space. I was not blogging previously to Camille's death but I was parenting prior to her death so now parenting Camille while parenting two living childen is just about balance for me. I think of her all the time but I walk past her photo multiple times a day without looking at it and when I realize this it hurts my heart. She iS not physically present but I think of her all the time. She is no longer the first thing I think of when I wake up but she is often one of the last people I think of before going to sleep. Old age seems like a very long time to carry such a heavy load of grief. A very long time.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I think about this too. I wonder if things that stress me out now (stockings) will have much of an impact on me in 5,10,20 years from now. I think it's hard(er) now also just being at the point we are - still young(ish) and trying to create our family as my family doesn't feel full yet. But what if we have another? will I be as content with that picture of my family as I can be given that Cale is gone? Will things just change then once we are done having kids and what we've got is just it? Maybe. Maybe grief will be different - as Brooke said, I'll just carry it differently.

I think about the couple at my parents church - they are in their 70's and when we lost Cale they told my mom they think about their daughter every day. And that was over 50 years ago. So maybe that's just how it will be - we will love them and think of them always. We'll reach out when others lose someone so precious, but we will also have lived a long and meaningful life (hopefully) where the grief was present, but most of the time it wasn't crippling. It just. . .was.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

I think about this so often. After Liam passed I bought him ornaments and a stocking and figured I would buy something every year for him as well. Now that Evelynn has died I can't even bring myself to look at or buy anything Christmas related. I want stuff for her but its all too painful. I don't know how things will be years from now, and I am sure my grief and anger will lessen, but I will never forget how much there lives have impacted mine.

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

Great question. I was thinking about other people in my life who have died, for example my great-grandma in 2005. So much time has passed that I don't think of her often, except when I'm remembering a good memory, like how she loved to wear bright colored nail polish. But I don't have those kinds of memories with Kayla, so what will I remember? Already pregnancy seems like a distant memory (even with Livia who is 4 months body just forgot what it was like). I think maybe I will still be comparing people her age to my vision of her. So I'll be looking at middle aged women when I'm old and trying to see Kayla in them.