I am a mother who has survived this tragedy.

I have not written a lot up to this point.
Although writing can be a medium for healing, writing is excruciatingly painful.

I can only say how I feel as a survivor,
I can only say what it is like to be me.

As I go along, I plan to publish things I have written, and possibly things others have written, regarding the feelings involved in the journey through this grief, as a survivor.

March 8 1998

I guess I don't know how I am coping. I feel like that is a question I will be able to answer in the future, looking back. Every day I basically exist. Simple tasks, ordinary routines, almost seem like monstrous hills to climb, at times just the thought of doing something exhausts me. Sometimes, I realize that I'm depressed. Today, I am depressed, it is our two month anniversary of the deaths. We did not do anything to mark the day, the weather has been awful, so we don't really have anything that we can do. Other times, I don't feel depressed, I just feel worn out, old, and like nothing really means anything, and the empty void is ever present.

I did face my grief for the first time last weekend after a week long attack of hives, which I have never had before. I think it was a physical reaction to emotional avoidance of dealing with my pain. It wore down all of my defenses. I finally took the advice of my counselor and began to write in a journal. One paragraph and the river of tears began to flow. The wretched pain from the center of my being began to heave out. I did this two days, then it was back to work, and behave as if nothing has changed. Whether the rest of the universe knows it or not, EVERYTHING has changed!

Memoirs of a Mad Woman

I hate being like this. I hate having been forced to have to be like this. I've surfed the net for hours and hours. Mostly reading of others' losses and their feelings. Trying to learn from their pain. Sometimes I feel more like I am researching grief, than experiencing grief. I haven't been much at sharing with the whole world, just a few here and there. Sometimes I don't have the energy to answer an e-mail. I don't know what I am looking for really. Maybe to see if I'm normal. Maybe to see if I'm not. Reading grief posts does help keep perspective that any feeling is normal. That gives me comfort. Mostly, I consider myself OK. I base that on the fact that I am physically able to function at a level acceptable to society, but what can't be seen is that my soul is curled up in the fetal position in a corner and can't get up yet. I could be so much better if I knew where my son is. This bothers me a lot. I have beliefs, but when you must trust 'faith', it seems a little empty, especially in these times of grief.

I feel so pathetic some days, that little things seem impossible. It is hard to write with such a poor attitude. I got sick for an entire week and missed work. I am so far behind there, I can't imagine ever getting it back together there. At home I can't seem to even pick up stuff around the house, and everything is piling up. My relationship is suffering, because when you shut yourself off from feeling pain, you also shut yourself off from feeling good. I am a drag to be around. I try to be "up", but it is really obvious there is a big empty void following me around. I feel like I'm slipping in everything, work, home, friends, family.

I'm trying to catch up with my life. If I can't catch up, I guess I'll have to change everything, huh?

May 23 1998

The shock started to wear off this month, but my emotional self decided that the horror of it all was too much, so I am back in denial again. I don't know which is worse, feeling or not feeling.

Jannette and I went and talked to some guy about marker stones. By the time I left I wanted to pick one up and smash him with it. He talked non-stop, never even asked us what we wanted. He kept talking about double markers (like married people get) and how the trend is to put on there the names of their children. Even after I told him it was for my son, who was single, he still couldn't deviate from his script. Then to top it off, we couldn't get anything that we liked for less than $2000. I said I'll drive to Georgia and get a stone before I'll pay $2000. We already paid twice the going rate for a basic simple funeral, because we don't really have any options; can't just call someone from another state to do your funeral, now can you?

I had a dream last night that we dug up the grave to move it, but then realized that we had no place to move it. It was probably from all this frustration that I dreamed that.

I just always feel like I'm in a vast sea of life and I keep grabbing for the rope to keep me from sinking.

Things have been a little better since I started antidepressants. But they can't cure the problems, just make them easier to face.

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