Philip’s death brought with it thousands of yelling, pounding, berating words into me. It has brought screaming so loud I can’t hear the world that surrounds me physically… All while I sit there, appearing silent outwardly.
Some of those earliest days, I remember the screams inside of me, so much so that I couldn’t function. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I simply couldn’t. Not “didn’t want to”… Simply could NOT. I felt like I was drowning.
I don’t have memories of events from those early days and weeks. I have only memories of emotions. Words. Music. I was lost in my own spinning thoughts and confusion.
I don’t know what I did or how I did it physically. I don’t know what (or if, or how) my kids ate for the 2 months following sweet Philip’s death. I remember, with exact clarity though, the emotions at came so strongly, often without words, often so overwhelming that they were indescribable. And so I was silent, while the words screamed within me.
About a week into grief, I was about to burst. I’ve never been a writer, (although I’ve always loved reading) and never would have thought to write. But something deep within me (I suspect God…) encouraged me to put these thoughts and words on paper. Get them out of me. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know why. I just knew I needed to.
Nobody understood what this was like, losing a sweet baby that I held in my arms. Never seeing him open his eyes. Never hearing his first cry. Nobody “got it”. People tried… But there is little relief in others’ efforts at empathy. I was alone with my screaming thoughts and out of control hormone-emotions.
And so I wrote. The paper never argued back with me. Never told me I was wrong for feeling this way or that way, never “should’ve” or “would’ved” me. Never criticized me. Never gave me that look if I(God forbid) typed out a strongly worded, unpolitically correct sentence, or using all CAPS when I needed to yell. Paper always listened. And I found comfort in my writing. I let it out. The emotions, the tears, the hurt, the anger, the disillusionment, the envy or jealousy, the bitterness, the doubt, the guilt…. I let the words all out and on to paper.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”- Ernest Hemmingway
That is exactly what I did. I bled in front of my iPhone…and let it all pour out.
At first, I didn’t think it would really “help” …. But somehow, it did. When I was so mad that verbal words failed me, I could type them or write them out and feel the pressure start to relieve. When my sorrow and pain cut so deep that my voice would be gone, I could write.
I wrote out of necessity…. For me and my healing. I wrote for others who are going through this to know that these emotions are real. Ugly…but very very real. I wrote so that you could know that even if you’re a Christian… You are allowed to have real, ugly, even seemingly ‘nonChristian’ emotions in grief. Rawness is the beginning of healing.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”- Maya Angelou
My story deserved to come out… Yours does too. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s art. Maybe it’s through music. Maybe it’s through actions. Maybe it’s though a different path… But your story is worth it.
It is impossibly hard to see tragedy as an “opportunity”. Yet, once I came to see this, I started to realize more how my experience could help others. I had a unique perspective on a very difficult issue in life. God gave me this as an opportunity to be able to relate in a way many others can not.
“If a story is in you, it has got to come out”- William Faulkner
God gave you this opportunity to share and to help others who feel just as you do now.
Maybe now isn’t the time… That’s OK.
Maybe you don’t know how… That’s OK.
Maybe it is just too hard…that’s OK.
But someday, in your own timing, when you feel ‘ready’, find a way to share your story. It does not matter whether you think it will help others or not…it will. It need not be ‘perfect’- because pain and grief are never neat and tidy and perfect.
Because whether you believe it or not… You matter. Your story matters and deserves to be shared.