When Travis died- there was only pain. Excruciating-gut wrenching- agonizing pain.
In the beginning, there is a numbness that is hard to recognize. I remember feeling as if I was walking in a fog. How could I be so numb, when I hurt so much? A book I read explained our bodies turn to numbness because we truly cannot handle the intense loss, our body protects us by going into the numb state. The loss is too much to handle. Yet, the loss will eat you alive if you don’t allow yourself to feel the pain and emotions. I found various ways to discuss and learn about my grief. I have turned to social media to share my children’s and my story, social media has also given me insight on others whom have experienced loss. I continue to see my counselor and share thoughts and emotions that I cannot or do not feel I can share with my family, children or others. The truth is, this struggle is beyond difficult, and it is lonelier than I ever could imagine. This is so terribly hard and days I feel utterly, completely alone.
Grief and pain go hand in hand. Grief is extremely painful, unlike any pain that I have ever experienced. There are different types of grief, we all may grieve differently, yet we all experience grief. The one thing that is the same for all of us is pain. My children, my parents, my siblings, my in-laws we are all in pain.
Family and friends want to help, but they haven’t been here and they want to make us feel better, but nothing can fix this. This pain, this reality, this brokenness… it can’t be fixed. No one can fix this, because that’s not how death/ grief works. I hear many comments over and over again: “he’s in a better place, God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle, something good will come out of this, its time to move one, you have to find a new normal”. I want to tell them all “bullshit, you have no idea”.
I read in a grief book that we need to allow the emotions to come through- we need to feel the pain. I personally allow myself to feel all the emotions and the exruciating/ suffocating pain. When I am all alone, in the car, in our room, outside, I allow the pain to take over, I allow myself to feel destroyed. I cry, I scream, I hate the world and everything in it. I feel closer to Travis when I allow myself to feel the pain. I feel his pain, I feel his presence, I know that he is also upset that he left this world too soon. I feel the worry for our children and knowing they will not have their father physically in their lives. I feel the pain of the unknown and worry I have for our future. I feel the pain of the loss. I feel the pain of the long three days of searching for his body. I feel the pain of the unanswered prayers. I feel it all, I feel all the pain and all the emotions.
I worry about our children’s grief and if they have allowed themselves to exrepss their emotions and feel the pain. The two youngest do not like talking about their feelings. I frequently will ask them and usually am told “I dont want to talk about it”. The many books I have read encourage me to not push, allow them to experience the loss when they are ready. I allow them to see me in tears at times, I allow them to hear me verbalize my anger about how their father was taken too soon and he didnt deserve to die, we didnt deserve to be without him. I share my love for him and stories every day. I share that I talk to him constantly, I continue to text him, I continue to sleep in his clothes and have our pillow covered with his shirts. I hope that by sharing my pain and my emotions, they may feel comfort know they can experience and share theirs.
When I allow myself to completely feel the pain, I feel connected to my Travis, to myself and to my children. I realize that I may worry my children and my family, but that is OK. I have to allow myself to do this- feeling the pain is a part of my reality. I cannot recover, I cannot get over it, I cannot survive. I have to live. I have to find joy and happiness again. Travis would want that. From the moment we found his body, I knew that the only thing he wanted for our children and me was happiness. I was beyond lucky to have had him for time that I did. Now, our three children and I are his legacy. We continue his life by living our lives in his honor. This is why I started the blog that he encouraged me to do prior to his death. This is why I share my story and personal feelings. I want to help others, I am not certain how to do that, but know that is part of my future. I don’t want others to feel alone in their grief and loss. I need to know that his life had purpose and meaning. I need to know that we can continue to make a difference, together.