Over time, the blunt force trauma of a Charles’ suicide has softened. The edges are not as sharp, the searing pain has become a persistent ache. He is still the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. There are repeat episodes of intense pain but they are usually not as long lasting.
The wound is still there. It still aches, sometimes throbs, and even ruptures. Pictures can make me smile. Or they can make me cry. But overall, I have adjusted to my new life without my youngest son
Not long ago, I was in New York with my niece. We saw a beautiful catholic church on fifth avenue and went in. It was stunning architecture and they had tourists walking about while a midday service was going on.
As I walked through the door I spotted the candles. At churches of all denominations throughout Europe and the US, if there is a candle I buy one and light it for Charles.
On this occasion, a soloist starts singing the moment I light my candle and she’s magnificent. I imagine she is singing to me and I erupt in tears. Racking sobs. It was too loud in there for anyone to hear– not that I cared. It took several minutes to work through the grief and I just relished the moment I had with my child’s memory, not rushing it along but allowing it to take its course.
I have a right to that memory and that pain. I’m not ashamed of it nor will I deny myself of that moment. Because it’s my time with my child who died too soon.
I know now grief has a rhythm. And a purpose.