Writing about my journey of grief and how I am learning to live without one of my children has been on my heart since Derek left for Heaven. I’ve learned so much over the past almost 10 months and I know I will continue to learn and grow as I travel along this journey that I do not want to be on. My hope is by sharing my heart, I will bring comfort to those on this road with me and give a better understanding to those that haven’t experienced the loss of a child. I want to go back and start at the beginning of my journey and share some of what I’ve learned along the way.
October 14, 2016 started out just like any other day for me. I woke up, got my two youngest children off to school and sent my daily “good morning” texts to my husband who was traveling and my two college children both living in Alabama. I got to work and was enjoying coffee and talking with my coworkers. At around 8:30 am, my phone rang and it was one of my oldest son Derek’s best friends. What he said to me that morning will forever play over and over in my head. “Mrs. Kennedy, have you heard from Derek? People are saying that something happened to him last night.” I couldn’t process what he was saying and insisted that Derek was at home sleeping. I told his friend to go to his house immediately and wake him up. Just a few minutes later, the official call came to let me know that my oldest son Derek passed away five hours earlier. I collapsed and cried out to God, “No, you can’t take him.” Instantly, my world went completely dark as I tried to comprehend what was just said to me.
My memories after that moment are very hard to recall because of the fog that instantly flooded my mind. The fog is still with me almost 10 months later, just not as heavy as it was in those early days. It has effected my memory, my ability to focus, my decisions, and my relationships. As I have traveled along on this very dark road, I have moments that the fog clears for a minute and I can see. In those moments of clarity, the reality that Derek is no longer walking the Earth with us is right in front of me. When this happens, I feel as though I can’t breathe and the pain in my chest is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I have learned to be thankful for the heavy fog that lifts slowly and for short periods of time. I don’t think I could bear the pain of complete clarity all at once. I believe now that “the fog” is a gift that God has given me to be able to keep walking on this road of such a tragic and painful loss.
Thank you Lord for the fog, without it I believe the pain of living without my oldest son would be unbearable.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” Matthew 5:4