Strength in Words

Many voice their amazement at my ‘strength’ to continue writing, I say it is my lifeline. I feel that if I don’t continue to write, I may drown in an ocean of sorrow. That I will be consumed by the grief that I feel and I will be of no value to those around me.

Because in the end, I have others, namely 3 young lads, that need their mama now, just as much as Capt Snuggles did then.  When we told the boys of David’s passing the only thing Jacob asked me was “Does that mean you get to stay home now?” That question was almost as heart-breaking as the loss of David. Here are 3 boys already grieving because I have not been home for 5 months. For them David was already a ghost. My return, heralded as a return to normalcy.

So where do I begin? It’s awkward, to say the least. While it still looks like my house, it no longer feels like my house. During the luncheon on Thursday, someone asked me where something was – I looked around and realized – I had no clue. So much to re-adjust to. For my Hub and the boys, it was life as usual, albeit without me. Shopping, cleaning, school-work, someone other than me made sure it all got done. I idled in another world.

To be honest, I am being selfish in my writing. In the coming weeks I will need to let go of thoughts and images that are haunting me now. I will need to release myself of the weight of that last day, the weight and emptiness both, that this week has become. To do that, I will write and I will share. If you chose to read, it is because you agree to help shoulder some of the devastation that I feel. If you chose not to, I understand – it will not be a pleasant undertaking. It will be painful, for that I have no doubt.

So I don’t believe it is strength that keeps me writing, I think it is survival.

After Nathaniel passed away, I stopped painting. I was working on my Master’s Degree at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. I was actively working on more than one public mural, along with paintings meant for upcoming gallery shows. In a word, I was good. But, I walked away from the only life I knew at that time. I couldn’t bring myself to even attempt to create another painting that would bring enjoyment to someone else, let alone enjoyment to me.

I just couldn’t do it.

I used to say, I was waiting for an epiphany. Maybe that’s what I’m working through here. The realization that I can’t walk away from something that is an integral part of my life.  I can’t deprive myself of the enjoyment of something simply because life doesn’t seem fair. Or that I need to punish myself because I couldn’t do anything to save either one of my sons.


I think I just had my epiphany.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Strength in Words

  1. Amy, someone who’s opinion I respect a great deal recently suggested to me that the reason I love to write is because it gives me a voice, where otherwise I would have none. Maybe it’s similar for you? Writing gives you a safe way to express how you are feeling. Have you ever thought about returning to painting?
    I was thinking about you yesterday, about how difficult it must be for you to adjust to being back at home. I am thinking of you, hoping and praying that you and your family can be a source of love and strength for one another.

  2. Jennifer

    So go ahead, take the time to be selfish! If writing helps, by all means do it and know that there are many of us out here reading and caring!

  3. I know exactly what you mean. Writing has always been my salvation and my way of working out and making sense of things that hurt to much to simply feel or think about. I have said that I admire your strength to continue writing, but, I still do. I admire your ability to get out of bed. To take a shower. To continue breathing. I just can’t comprehend the experience of the loss of a child, and I’m thankful for that. Your stories have brought me through so many different emotions, but I have to tell you – it has helped me put my own “problems” into perspective and has made me SO thankful for the little things. I hug my cubs extra hard now because of you. And, for that I can’t thank you enough.

    I do hope that through your writing you continue to inspire, educate and move others – but most of all I hope that you continue to heal.

  4. You are doing just as you should, beautiful. Sometimes writing helps get all of that emotion out and in the air. Like a mind-cleanse. Don’t deprive yourself of what makes you happy and helps you through.
    We are here, reading, praying, and thinking about you.

  5. You will be a blessing to those who need to grieve but don’t know how.

  6. Amy – KEEP WRITING!!!!! It comes so naturally for you and you do it so well. You inspire others. And, it is an outlet for you.

    When Mitchell was first diagnosed with his UCD – life as we knew it was over, for me. I sat up for hours at night, writing and raising awareness. My mother would tell me to get some rest. No one understood. I HAD to keep myself occupied, I had to write, I had to have my mind on the words – rather than what was going on around me. If I let me mind be idle, I would have horrible thoughts of the week Mitchell was diagnosed, the near death experience he had, the lifelong suffering that he is going to endure.

    Much like you are going through now – I did not understand how life went on around me. My house was the same, my friends were the same, my family was the same. But, I was different. I had my heart broken into a million pieces, I had someone tell me that my son would not survive, I was in charge of administering medicine and formula and any error on my part could cause my son to become seriously ill or, even worse, be fatal to him. The thoughts were too much to bear.

    Keep writing. Your beautiful words – whether sad or heartbreaking – will carry you through the difficult days ahead.

    All my thoughts and prayers are with you. My heart breaks with you. From far away and never having met him, we all loved David in our own special way!


  7. dysfunctionalsupermom

    Who said working through tragedy of any life is pretty? It’s ugly to live through, ugly to watch: it’s just freakin’ ugly.

    You are dealing with this ugliness with a tremendous amount of clarity and awareness and that is something that so many people don’t have. You have a gift for words. You draw us in and we want to be here to support you; even with it’s with our small comments.

    And those boys…you’re right. They need you too. Processing the enormity of David’s death will be a lifetime struggle that will come and go. Take it as it comes, but know that you are not alone.

    You are loved and gifted in ways so many others only dream of.

  8. If you will keep writing, I promise to keep reading. I’m also praying that you will start painting again. I think it would be an amazing tribute to both your sons–to share artistic beauty with the world. Or am I asking for too much?

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. Writing about this grief is so brave. I hope it helps you heal.

  10. Amy, you have given so much already to everyone.I think staying where you feel is comfortable is good for now as long as you realize you need to spread your wings. I love your writing and as you heal, I can’t wait to hear all the FUN stuff and other trials you come across. I wish we lived closer so I could have come to the services and met you and the family. Take the time to heal and if writing gets you there, you have a huge fan base that will be with you every step of the way. Keep well my friend and do what you need to heal. Wishing many blessings, Diane

  11. sharon

    Reading your words is by turn painful and awe-inspiring. My words are clumsy by comparison but I’m hoping you will accept their meaning even thought their form may be ungainly. To my mind you owe it to your sons, all five of them, to add to the sum of beautiful things in this world where it is within your ability to do this. Keep writing, and please, pick up your paintbrushes again. It seems to me that you are punishing yourself by not doing this because you couldn’t save Nathaniel and then, the unthinkable, you lost David too. You did not fail them in any way, you do not deserve punishment, you did everything possible for those beautiful lost boys – just as you do for the three who live – and you loved everyone one of them with every fibre of your being. Nothing more could be asked of a Mother. Grieve yes, but know that you and they brought a bottomless well of love into the world which is a wondrous thing. Nathaniel and David left behind a legacy of unswerving love and devotion. As your tears dry – and they will in time, the necessary automatic motions of everyday life with family will ensure that happens – celebrate that love with words and pictures.


  12. Nikki Mitchell

    If you write, I will read. It’s the least I can do for a fellow mama. A burden is always lighter when shared and shouldered by many – so let us have it!

  13. I’ll still be here. I lost my brother to a tragic suicide so I am not immune to sorrow.

  14. It is amazing how much writing helps us work out those deep, inner thoughts. Writing saved me after my loss. It also helps me to read others who experience the same pain. So thank you for writing and thank you for sharing your pain. Hugs.

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