(This was written to a friend, July 7, 2008, six weeks after the death of my daughter Ava. It may help some folks understand the newly bereaved.)
I haven’t called, written or spoken to you in a while. It is no reflection on our friendship. Perhaps the best way to explain my lack of communication is that I don’t have much to say.
I do have volumes to express about my amazing daughter. I have bucketloads about grief and how this is an unspeakable and horrific pain that no one can know except another parent who has lost a child. However, I have a total and complete inability to “chat,” to make small-talk, or to even converse about so-called “other important matters.” For me, there currently ARE no other matters of any consequence. So, it is really hard to talk, email, telephone, what-have-you, right now.
It is nearly impossible for me to talk to people now without totally breaking down, and I do plenty of that anyway – break down, that is. I am even having a hard time talking to the grief counselor for the reasons that 1) she has no children of her own (and therefore), 2) has never suffered a loss like mine. She gives me textbook stuff and platitudes and a “paid, objective friend,” which really isn’t doing me any good at all.
This is going to be a long process for me. It is for anyone. I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject already, and frankly there isn’t much written that’s very good or helpful. This is the MOST horrific loss that anyone can suffer – that much is agreed upon – and there is no easy way through it. There is no “recovery” per se, you simply learn to live with the pain and somehow find purpose in life again.
So much of who I am, WHAT I am – or was – is “a mother.” I have a long road ahead of me to find out how to live without that definition. Or to find another way to “mother” again. Not to mention the bottomless hole that is the inside of me now. She was there, but has been ripped out by the roots. I miss her so much – on a cellular level.
I am far too intense for casual conversation. I am far too easily brought to my knees. I will get stronger, but it will be months, probably years before I’m “back” again. I hope it is sooner, because it is very VERY difficult to be this sad all the time; to feel this crushing pain ALL THE TIME. It’s excruciating and mind-numbing.
That is an honest and complete explanation of why I’m not conversing much. I have no conversation but this one.