Surprised by Grief

I have gotten pretty good at anticipating “sad.”  Like today, for example.  I knew that I’d be attending the dedication of a bench on campus in memory of one of my Social Work classmates who died in a car accident last March.  I know that I found such events to be full of mixed emotions because on one hand, it is reassuring to see the love of family and friends, but the reality is that the whole event is the result of a tragic loss.  So, I knew that to attend such an event would evoke sadness as I could empathize with this family’s loss.

But, later after that event, I attended the FSU College of Social Work’s Convocation.  I did this purely out of support for my many friends who are graduating with their MSW tomorrow.  As I was taking a picture of my dear friend, Jessica, I enjoyed a sense of pride and excitement on her behalf.  After I sat back down, I realized that this was just a glimpse of the joy that I should be experiencing this month when Christopher should have been graduating from Lincoln High School.  
This severe grief was a surprise.  I expected to feel this way near Lincoln’s commencement activities, but not when I was watching my peers graduate.
I think that I just need to accept that there are going to be sad time, some which can be anticipated like our adoption day and Christopher’s birthday, but that there will there will be others than remind me what could have been or what I think should have been.  
I told a friend of mine today that this entire process is so very surreal; there are times that I just can’t believe that this is my life.  I will forever be a parent whose child died.  This event doesn’t define me, but it certainly will always be a big part of who I am and to some extent who become.  
This whole thing really stinks.