I am in the valley of sorrow deeply right now. Sometime last week I found myself feeling particularly broken and gloomy. In these circumstances, the question from others often seems to be, “What triggered your spiraling mood?”
My answer is, “The death of my son.”
“But he has been gone all this time and sometimes you are functioning okay. Why are you especially down right now?”
This inquiry seems to imply that losing Judson is not enough of a reason to be down anymore, as though my higher-functioning moments are considered standard now, causing one to conclude that there must be something other than Jud’s death triggering my heavy heart. What some people may fail to recognize is that dealing with the death of my precious boy is my general state-of-being; when he died my baseline for life shifted to severe loss. It is, in fact, the stints of reprieve that could be considered non-standard.
I’ve heard of people who live with a constant raging headache. Fortunately, they’ve been given the gift of various treatments to help dissipate the pain so they can function a little bit better. However, the temporary fixes wear off, causing the headache to pick up in intensity again. Headaches are their baseline for living, though sometimes subdued, and yet over time they become more and more adept at living with the ever-present pain.
Similarly, those who have lost a child live with a constant raging heartache. Fortunately, we are at times given the gift of various joys, hopes, and distractions to help dissipate the pain so we can function a little bit better, but those temporary fixes wear off, causing the heartache to pick up in intensity again. Heartache is our baseline for living, though sometimes subdued, and yet over time we become more and more adept at living with the ever-present pain.
I am extremely grateful to have experienced what I like to call “pain buffers” these last couple months that have helped to ease or even absorb some of my ache, but I am always missing my son. I am feeling it especially intensely this week. Oh, how I long to see, hold, and touch my Jud Bud!