I will survive but never heal.

In grieving a hard loss and traumatic experience, as I am, I will not heal. I know this and have come to peace with it. I no longer push myself into a timeline of “getting better”. I do not constantly search through the symptoms and lists of “common behaviors” of a survivor.

Life without one of my children is difficult to explain. My arm has been cut off. I am missing a leg. Part of my heart was removed, I am left with 3 fingers on each hand. I am not whole on the inside or the outside. I feel like a freak, tremendous in size, small in purpose. I walk among the living, feeling partially dead, grieving my son and my lost duties surrounding his life. A young man dies, so young, we lose not only his physical presence but we also lose the unrealized dreams and lost potential that we will never know from him.

Self reinvention begins with a bit of clarification. Clarification of who we are at present time and who we want to become. Point A to Point B.

Isn’t this what we are doing in our grief work and grieving process? Self reinvention?

Clarifying anything means to strain, sometimes several times, back and forth. The liquid that contains cloudy substances cannot be seen through. Straining out the debris and refining the liquid back to a translucent state clarifies it.

Becoming victorious in anyone’s life starts as a small glimmer. A hope turns to a dream which turns to a vision. When our vision is clouded, and things are not clear we tend to stray off of our path because of the darkness. I try to wash my glasses a little cleaner and clearer each day, trying to keep myself off of the path to darkness and out of the same dark hole my son fell into.

What is working in my life, what is not? What do I actually want to be doing in my life? What do I actually want to stop doing in my life?

I attract what I give away. Peace, love, comfort and everything the opposite. I shed my winter coat full of nasty piles of discontent. I cover my missing limbs, my missing fingers. I build a wall around my broken heart. I wear a mask of satisfaction with life, a mask that hides scars and pain. I laugh, I dance, I amaze those around me with my adaptability and willingness to survive. I still hurt, bleed, cry, and fall apart. But the clarity of the window, that window through my wall, the wall around my heart, it shows me that there is a place for me. Somewhere there is a place for me in this world.

Today I write this post while at the same time I feel humbled by a recent experience. I have one thousand things to do now, and another one hundred things I really should be doing instead. My mind is overwhelmed with excitement to realize some of my son’s dreams through my own life. I welcome the moments of peace that shine through me, and eagerly wait for the next one while working through misery. I do not keep a calendar anymore, and I am not very good with time commitments yet either. I cannot schedule my life yet. I cannot schedule my pain.

So, I float.

I am the liquid, moving through the strainer, floating back and forth, each direction a new experience, each pass – a clearer vision. My unveiling, delayed by lack of confidence and questioning myself. The ribbon-cutting, preempted for going through my motions. The end product….the liquid, fully strained, fully clarified, standing in a glass. I am unattached, not secured to any place, unsure of where I fit. I continue to float, suspended…..I search for safe harbor and a watchtower.

~Leslie Beery

The Surviving Project