The Christmas holiday will always have a shadow; a presence felt yet vaguely seen. I like to imagine the human-like shadows of Grant and my other loved ones walking me throughout the day. Sometimes these shadows are in front of me making my way on the hardest of days, other times behind pushing me to find the courage to overcome my fears. And then there are those moments in the day that the friendly person inside my mind makes his presence known to the side of me, walking me hand by hand through this frightening journey called life. Grant’s presence resides within me all the time.
This month brings yet another Christmas without my boy, missing him is no less, yet I’m finding great comfort and a sense that it’s okay to celebrate the season. Grant is always in my heart and I miss him deeply and yet in the depth of my own grief I can recognize very clearly, I am not the only mother making her way through life without one of the children that made her family whole. As I wrote that word “whole,” it was the first time I thought that a mother’s heart is full when she can identify her family as whole. But the loss of a child, there is a hole never to be filled again and that is something I just must be accepting of.
The other day on a piece of paper Steve drew a picture much like the picture below of how someone described grief to him. Excitedly he drew and explained the picture and I could understand why, for him too it was the perfect example.
Six years ago, the first jar was the example of how I felt. I was suffocating, filled with fear and sadness, and consumed with the fears of how I would ever live life without Grant. My entirety was consumed with sadness and a large ball of grief. Steve’s pencil sketch much like the drawing below made sense. It was the first example to understand my grief and for others to understand the jars of grief. Steve explained, grief will never lessen or get smaller. It stays the same, but as time goes on the jar gets bigger. My love for Grant is no less than it was 6 years ago, the hurt is the same. In the beginning stages of grief Grant’s death consumed my entire space. I didn’t have time or room for anything but my sadness and I felt so broken I didn’t know if I could find the space to love or care for anyone.
But as Steve so eloquently explained, as times goes on our love for and grieving Grant is no smaller. God just keeps making our jar bigger; giving us more room… for the girls, our grandkids, our family and friends. I can now recognize even on my saddest of days there is hope, understanding and love all around me and that I not only share my jar with Grant and my grief, I share my space with so many other blessings I am thankful for.
I love you Grantie,
Photo courtesy of The Little White Cat
“The black ball symbolizes grief while the jar is the mind/soul of the sufferer, the idea being that grief isn’t something that gets smaller with time (the three little jars on the left) but rather that you have to grow in order to cope with (the big jar on the right).”