Memoirs with Jeremy
I was so very lost after my son’s transition; I did not know what to do or how to handle my life that lay before me. Since the day I began learning how to integrate this tragic tragedy; I was determined to reach out with my very personal experience even though it is dark at the inception. Please know there is a dim light to set your sights on. It does get brighter as time goes on.
My heart aches for parents who have lost their sons in war. Those, who like myself are veterans have been in that dark place that feels there is no return. So, this is especially for those who are in the throes of bereavement. There are better days even though it is beyond comprehension how you could possibly make this journey. It is the reason I share – in hopes my journey will help someone, somewhere.
I have had a war on words trying to identify areas I am unaccustomed – I was told I needed to accept this travesty. This has not set well with me. Neither has the words overcome and recover. You do not recover from losing a child and you do not overcome the loss. It is so finale that the finality of it is almost too hard to bear. It is a life sentence.
I wish I could gloss over what is ahead, but it would be a lot of untruths. It is harder than anyone can even imagine. It takes time, more time and much more time. It has been nearly seven years for me and I have rebuilt my life stone by stone, brick by brick every day of every year.
In the tortuous minutes ahead and the agonizing day after day of grieving you will begin being functional again. It comes slowly but it will come. You learn to integrate this into a new life and weave it into your very existence that one day you will see muted sunrises, will begin to genuinely smile and laugh once more. You will become astonished that you have gone a minute, an hour without crying. You will be proud that you have become so engrossed in your task that the time has gone by with relative ease. This is how you rebuild. You don’t dodge the pain on this one – you weave through each day learning your triggers, your strengths and what potholes to reroute your life around.
You create a new life – I use to write a “new normal”, but then realized there is nothing normal about parents living longer then their children. Overcoming suggests that you get over the loss and recovery suggests you return back to a normal life. But, it is inconceivable that you would be returning to a life that has been immutably altered. Find your life line, a reason to rise in the morning. Do it for you and the loved ones that are with you still. Hang onto anything that makes it more bearable for you and do not rush the progress. You will go a step forward and ten steps back many times over. I endeavor to not only make my daughter and her family proud that I have made it through this trauma, but Jeremy being a Marine, I like to think that I have made him proud as a Gold Star Mom. I have had to take meds to help me find my equilibrium and have learned to be ok with that. As my daughter has told me – “whatever it takes, Mom” (it has been a devastating life change for her as well).
You will begin to see the world and others through different eyes. You will have changed in your perceptions, tolerances and understanding. Your views will change, how you relate to others will be different. Your values will change, you will be impacted spiritually. You may be softer in areas and harder in others. There are individual/personal changes from one to the next, but there will be changes in you nonetheless. There is no way we could go through and endure such trauma and it not affect us; it is life altering. I like to think these changes make us stronger and better as parents and people.
I love to talk about my son Jeremy. I wish that the dialogue would open much more often. But, people have the tendency to deflect due to not knowing that you need or want to talk about them. They are trying to be sensitive and not flip switches for you. If we could all share in the learning process it would be invaluable to us as survivors. Remembering our loved ones helps us cope and adapt to the loss. Sharing grief, anger and confusion would help by confronting the reality that has been handed us….. in my opinion, needs to be shared with someone we trust. Hopefully, a good confidant and friend will always be there to support you.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t “talk” to Jeremy. He is always with me and I have been fortunate in that we have had many spiritual accountings. It has been my life line. I would not be honest if I didn’t say that I am still in some sort of denial….but I believe it stems from the fact that I truly believe that he lives….he is happy…..he has more love and life than here on earth. His energy is so beautiful and loving. I believe in the hereafter and I rest in that we will meet again.
Proud Gold Star Mom
In honor of:
Ssgt. Jeremy D. Smith USMC 03-09-85-04-06-11