Okay – I really should have read the book, but the phrase “Catch 22” applies in so many ways to this terrible process of grieving the loss of a child. And I am not alone in this observation.
Last night, I was talking to my cousin, Linda, whose son was riding a motorcycle when he was killed by a drunk drive last August. We don’t see everything the same, but there are more things in common than not. One thing is that it has grown difficult to be around people who care. It is much easier to be with strangers who don’t look at you, knowingly. Both she and I have found church difficult even thought it has been a part of our lives for years (hers more than mine). She is much more cynical than I. I don’t like to be around to people who care because I hear sincerity when they ask how I am doing. She, on the other hand, knows that they care, but she doesn’t thing that they really want to know. After all, who really wants to know how painful all of this is.
And yet, we complain about how lonely this process is. I am coming to realize that is it lonely because all this feeling wears you out and with every question, the heart is torn open and it takes an enormous amount of energy to keep it together while trying to figure out how to answer in a way that is not devastating to either one.
At the same time, my biggest fear is that people will forget Christopher. People deal with this fear in many different ways. I know people who have had decals or bumper stickers made memorializing their child. I know of people who have gotten tattoos in memory of their child. I don’t want it to be such an effort for people to remember Christopher. I am certain that is why I speak so freely of him.
I know that there are people who were touching by having known Christopher and if he comes to mind, they think fondly of him. At the same time, I feel certain that I am the only person in the world who thinks of him every single day.
That (and many other things) makes me very sad.