When either the birthday or the anniversary date of our child’s demise is approaching, anxiety often begins to take hold of us. Their birthday is a reminder of what was, and will never be again. A birthday is normally a time to celebrate life, a time to celebrate a person’s existence. When our child’s life on this earth has ceased, birthdays descend like a dark cloud. We become preoccupied; we become enveloped and lost in the infamous ‘Grief Fog’.
The anniversary date hits us in a similar manner. However, there is often a greater amount of anxiety that presents itself. It’s as if we fear we will be reliving the nightmare anew. It feels as if our child will be dying again and that the pain will be as fresh and as piercing as it was on that day they did go ahead of us. Though it is often true that the anticipation is usually worse than the actual day, Grief is not logical and emotion overrides all our self-talk.
In the early years on this journey, I’d often begin to tell friends and family that I would not be myself approximately six weeks in advance of any such dates. I learned early on that I would be entering a season in which it would be difficult for me to focus. I’d apologize in advance for seeming aloof. I’d let others know that I would be climbing into my cave. Some were able to accept this, others could not. But whether they could or couldn’t, it didn’t change what was to be. Then it would take approximately another two weeks after the date had come and gone for the fog to clear.
Over the years, that time of anticipation has shortened in duration. But it has not ceased to exist; I still dread those seasons. I, however, feel less inclined to make any apologies or offer any explanations. Those who were able to be accepting of such times in the early years, no longer are. The only ones who still ‘get it’ are those who are also on this journey of grief. It is one of the loneliest, if not the loneliest, journey a person must travel in this life. Outside of the grieving community, we find little validation. I truly do wish our society was more informed in regards to grief. Perhaps, that is why I have chosen to write about it as often as possible. Although no one can ever fully understand this journey we travel if they have not traveled it themselves, it is still my Hope that by ‘spreading the word’ some will at least attempt to educate themselves in this regard.
With time, I have learned to manage the seasons of anticipation to some degree. I plan for the worst while hoping for the best. I’ve learned that every year can be different. Some years are more manageable than others; other years may still blind-side me. Learning to accept that this is my ‘new normal’ has helped. I’ve stopped fighting against the waves. Whatever degree of anticipation presents itself as I am approaching one of these dates, I know that ‘this too shall pass’. I also know that this entire journey is only temporary. Jesus the Christ Who was ‘well acquainted with grief’ set for us an example. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He experienced such intense anticipation of what He was about to endure that He sweated blood. We are told that He endured because He remained focused on the ‘joy set before Him’ (Hebrews 12:2). I, too, must remain focused on eternity and being reunited with my child. I must remind myself repeatedly that there is coming a day when my mourning will be turned into joy and I will be comforted (Jeremiah 31:13).
What will our state be when there will be no more sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain? This will be more glorious than we can as yet imagine. O eyes that are red with weeping, cease your scalding flow, for in a little while ye shall know no more tears! None can wipe tears away like the God of love, but He is coming to do it. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Come, Lord, and tarry not; for now both men and women must weep!
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))