Physicality of Grief *

          We mothers often talk about how our bodies feel in grief. A lot. It hurts in a way that is impossible to convey with words, yet I'll try. I felt as if my daughter had supernova'd - rocketing shards of her grief into me. I felt like her death was visible on my body - that people could tell by looking at me that I was the mother of a dead child. I felt sick to vomiting at the smell and sight of food. My skin felt like I was burning and was freezing at the same time. My mind was hyper-vigilant yet dull. My soul felt dead. I only wanted my husband, and my other kids & grandkids. I wanted the dark and quiet.

9 Jun 2011
My online grief group

           Good morning everyone. This morning I woke up NOT sick to my stomach for the first time since Kaylan died. I really really really miss her though. When I went to sleep last night I was imagining hugging her and then realized that I can still remember what it felt like to hug my mama even after 24 years. So I'll be able to remember hugging Kaylan Rose. Oh great, now I'm crying..... Much love love love to everyone. Amanda, please say hi to the next white butterfly you see in yours & Kaylan's special park ~~ from me.  
            For everyone else, here's the white butterfly story. After my mama died, I was sitting on a bench by the side of a fountain surrounded by blooming olive trees. I was SO SAD that I couldn't be around my babies. Will was under two months old, and Kaylan was about 22 months old. It was the deepest despair I had ever felt, and I felt this feeling like a warm wind sort of ran it's fingers through my hair. Then I looked up and one particular olive tree looked like it had a halo (I'm sure it was the light), and there were hundreds of white butterflies all around the tree. One flew right toward me and fluttered all around my face for a little while. Ever since then white butterflies have brought me memories of my mama.
           The La Purisima mission courtyard has an ancient fountain surrounded by beautiful olive trees. That place is truly sublime.

          Suffering the loss of my child exponentially multiplied the grief I'd suffered when I lost my parents. During the early grieving process - the first year or more - I had a hard time comprehending how this child-loss grief could be so much harsher than losing my parents. But it was - still is. Eventually I learned to carry it with some grace. I am forever grateful for the loving souls who hold the doors of Heartbeat and The Compassionate Friends open for the newly bereaved. If any of you are reading this, I thank you.

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