It’s Been a Long Time

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by Joe Mudd on September 1, 2014

Today is Richard’s birthday. It’s the sixth one we’ve had to “celebrate” without him. We once again took a couple of big mylar, helium filled balloons and some flowers to the cemetery. We told him Happy Birthday and released the balloons to the heavens.

I haven’t posted anything on this site in a long time. It’s been more than a year.

After posting many times about living the life of a grieving parent, it all starts to seem repetitive. It sucks when your kid dies. What more can you really say?

I’ve come to the conclusion that’s never going to change.

Sadness is now a part of life.

But my absence from this site for such an extended time is the result of more than just not wanting to repeat myself. There have been events along the way that should have been posted about on here, but they didn’t get posted. I just wasn’t able to force myself to do the work of writing them.

That’s been true of just about all areas of my life. Gardening, home remodeling and repairs, other writing projects – you name it, and I’ve not gotten around to them. I’ve just been doing what I have to do, like working at my job, and not much of anything else.

In a recent email conversation with a friend, she asked me, “How did you change after you lost Richard?  …Outwardly to me you are the same. Still married, still working…”

I don’t know the answer.

I feel like I’m a completely different person, but I can’t describe how. Like she said, I still seem the same on the outside. Looking the same when you’re not, is exhausting. I’m always so ready for the weekend. I get really stressed out when I get forced into working on weekends now.

Back in the founders day, they had to cross the ocean in sailing ships. A skillful captain and crew increased the odds of making the journey, but it was still never certain. Voyagers never knew when growling angry clouds would sweep down carrying a massive storm that would create great waves and swallow them. Or when they may crash into rocks hidden close to shore, busting their fragile ship to splinters.

They’d float in the vastness of the ocean, wondering if they’d ever see land again. The familiar and safe life was far behind, and gone for good. What lay ahead was a mystery. They just had to hope.

We’re three months past the five year anniversary of Richard’s death. Five years is a pretty big chunk of time. Yet it still feels like just yesterday. It doesn’t hurt less, just different.

I’ve always taught our kids, even though they can’t control everything that happens to them in life, how they respond is up to them. They can control what they do in reaction.

That’s a hard thing to do when your kid dies. It takes time. The pain is just too overwhelming.

But that’s our task, isn’t it? To take control of our response to tragedy, and live our life?

This past week we gave away Richards old dead car. It was rolled off the AAA wrecker truck onto our driveway a few years before Richard’s death. It had been sitting in that spot since that day.

A cousin of mine and her husband want to try to bring it back to life. The tires have started to dry rot. The paint has begun to fade and the body has been attacked by hail. Mice have eaten anything made of paper they could find in the glove box, and it smells bad. Did I mention it needs major engine work?

We should have done that five years ago. We weren’t ready. The car just had to rot in the drive while we got ready.

Maybe them taking that dead car and trying to bring it into new life is a symbol of what we have to do. We need to take the dead parts of our life and bring new life to them. My cousin has a big challenge on her hands. So do we.

This past week Frank, a new coworker, got the call from hell while at work. His 19 year old son was killed in a car accident. I barely know Frank, but we now share a bond neither of us wanted.

Like all the friends and family that came to support us when Richard died, I have no idea what to say to him.

There is nothing to say.

Will telling him, “I know what you’re going through,” ease his broken heart? Maybe someday down the line it will help to know he isn’t alone. That will be a long time from now.

I started this site as a form of therapy, and an aide in remembering what life in the grief fog was like at a later time when some of the fog cleared.

It was mostly for me.

I didn’t tell anyone about this site, other than Debbie.

As time passed I shared the site to people I thought might need it, such as my cousin when she joined this grieving parent club.

Others stumbled onto the site on their own.

Over the years readers have left comments to my posts. All of them needed to share their story of grief. Many expressed gratitude for finding this site. Some have even carried on conversations with one another in the comments section.

Besides giving me a place to vent, this blog seems to have helped a few others on their grief journey.

Because others have found this place helpful, I’ve decided to write on here more often.

There is a beast out there named Google. If you don’t feed that beast new content on a regular basis, it will get angry and not send searchers to your site. Most people that visit here found it on Google, so I need to keep the beast happy.

For now, please join me in praying for Frank and his wife, as they face sending their son to his final earthly resting place.









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