An alchemical combination of people and processes have worked like magic together, invisibly, to bring me to this new level of...dare I say acceptance...with Corey's sudden passing. First, my determination to blaze through this with a fully open heart, coupled with the phenomenal help of loving friends and family. You guys! You women! You kids! You know who you are.
For reasons I cannot explain, I need to go through this most intimate territory in a very public way, with you holding my hand, with you praying for me, with you letting me say how hard it is, with you allowing the tears to fall and not interrupting me or asking me to stop, as my wise and wonderful son did for me when he sat with me this past week. As each stream of tears falls, another nanogram of the pain is released. The tears themselves are a holy medicine that can be found nowhere else.
My cousin Mark, an experienced counselor, gave me the gift of an observation when I saw him several weeks ago.
"Last time we talked, you said the grieving is so lonely because no one knows what you're going through," he said. "No one else carried her in their womb, no one else breastfed her, no one else taught her her first words and first steps the way you did. No one else had the mother-child connection that you had." Then he paused and looked at me so gently, "but I don't think anyone can know what it is really like for you," he said.
At the time, I did not like hearing those words. But within a day or so, they began to sing a song of comfort. Accepting that this is a supremely lonely place, I can stop wishing that anyone else can know what it is like to be inside this kind of grief.
Knowing that there is no comfort for the grieving mother, knowing that whenever she hears someone randomly say or write in an email: "Make a wish!" she has only one wish in her heart: I wish I had Corey back.
Knowing and accepting these realities, and being familiar with the concept of Internal Family Systems, I have worked like an Olympic athlete-in-training to find within myself the "person" who could comfort the grieving mother inside me.
I do not tell her to stop crying. I do not tell her to get antidepressants. I do not tell her to hurry up with the grieving. I put my arm softly around her shoulders and say, "I will walk with you. Come: we will go together. I will always be right here, holding you and guiding you. I have a torch and will light the way through the darkness. I am with you always."