I feel so far from Beckett and Clementine, miles and miles are between where I stood in the fall of 2014 and where I am today. In the seven or so months since shooting the videos for Courageous Parents Network, space has been made between the woman sitting in front of the camera and who I am today. I am not a new person, I haven’t made some monumentous breakthrough; but now each morning I don’t wake in a puddle, wet and defeated.
Grief brings the rain, a thundering, torrential downpour, crushing and suffocating. For so long, a current carried me, rushing and cold. I couldn’t fight against it so I just struggled to keep my head above my sadness, choking back tears. I made it to the sea, no land in sight but now instead of being dragged and pulled under, I drifted with the tide. Each day the ebb and flow, in and out, sometimes feeling warmth and happiness but most days I wandered through the thick fog of fresh loss. These days it is more of a stream, steady and I can hear the memories as they drift around me. I am in control, I determine when to just brush the surface of what has happened or if I want to fall headfirst into my grief, plunging deep below into the dark fathomless bottom.
I am just as sad today as I was when Beckett and Clementine died. I feel the stark emptiness, the gnawing disintegration of every facet of our lives. Death can be sudden, but decay is slow and painful lasting years beyond the moment of the last exhale. At first, I would hold my breath and dive under the surface heading straight for what I thought would be the bottom. I hoped my heart would stop and I would slip all the way down to where I could finally rest from the weight of my grief. I have learned I cannot live with all of my feelings each day, I am wounded and broken I need to give myself grace so I can heal.
More than two years later, I know to carve out the space and time to sit in all of what has happened. I will still be caught off guard, like recently at the hair salon when a gentleman brought his wheelchair-bound son in for a trim. I sat, my hair dripping with dye, and as tears rushed down my face. I couldn’t open my mouth because I was afraid of the noise I would utter. I excused myself to the bathroom, leaning against sink to catch my breath, trying to push every second of Beckett and Clementine’s life and death back deep inside. I am fragile and exposed when I cry like this. To be so tender in public, you feel at the mercy of the world, which is a frightening realization. I want control, I want to tell you my story, I don’t want it to tell me.
The more I speak of them, the stronger I feel the connection to them. To taste their names on my tongue, its a release I need to experience. It is getting easier to talk of their days when they were here with us. I don’t cry as hard or as often which in turn gives people courage to bring Beckett and Clementine into the conversation. All of this has been nothing short of harrowing, but the constant pressure, wave after wave of grief, it has carved into me such a bittersweet imprint of what it means to love another.