Four weeks ago today, my son died of cancer. Six weeks ago, my son was diagnosed with cancer. Seven weeks ago, cancer was something that impacted other families. Not our family. We are healthy!
Before all this, the only time anyone in my family had spent time in a hospital was when our 2 babies were born. My youngest, Julian, had never even had a need for antibiotics in his life. Until… cancer. Julian was diagnosed with leukemia on 2/16/11, and died 15 days later. That was four weeks ago.
Four weeks. One full cycle of the moon. An eternity, and a blink of an eye. How much grieving can happen in a month? How many tears can be shed? A lot. A whole lot. And how much can I read and learn about grief? Again, a whole lot.
I’ve devoured books, websites, and blogs. I’ve talked and talked… to my husband, my parents, my friends, and professionals. I’ve been seeking something, anything, to help me make sense of this and learn how to move forward.
In these four weeks of grieving and seeking, I’ve learned a few things that surprised me:
- The “5 stages of grief” aren’t applicable to me.
- Many books have been written about losing a child, but most are focused on the loss itself.
- I’m not so sure our culture wants us to move forward after such a loss.
Four weeks. I can’t believe it’s already been four weeks. And also, I can’t believe it’s only been four weeks. These were the first four weeks of the rest of my life. The first four weeks of the “after.”
So what comes next? What comes after the “after”?