dead - grief notes | blogging from a to z challenge

During the month of April, I am taking on the Blogging from A to Z challenge, writing twenty-six alphabet themed grief notes.

On August 17, 2017 my twenty year old son was killed in a car wreck. I am trying to be OK . . . we are all trying to be OK ... in a world where nothing is OK. I am reaching for what I know heals me ... creativity ... art ... writing. Stringing together words, thoughts, and questions. 


My son is dead.

It's startling to say it, shocking to hear it.

Sometimes I say those words out loud to myself because sometimes I have to remind myself. I forget. I want to believe that he is still just living in Florida then I am immediately crushed because not only is he dead but he is NOT living in Florida and Atlas can never just forget. His absence is evident every moment of every day.

Oh my heart. 


We, personally and as a culture, try to use different language. 


Even just saying, "my son died" feels softer, not as harsh but also incredibly void of feeling or reaction. Why do we avoid reaction? It should be hard to hear, hard to say. 

Death rends your world. It rips it open leaving raw and gaping edges. It is tragic and brutal. We avoid looking at the reality of it, avoid the only true words that can describe it. We keep our distance by reaching for easier words. 


"I am sorry for your loss" 

Sigh. It is not my loss. Don't you understand? The entire world is missing Noah, going on without his smile, his light and love, his determination. That young man was making life so much better for so many people. 

And I really don't like to say that we lost our son. 

We did not lose our son. 

I know he was a lost boy when he was here in physical form but we did not lose him. He is still here. Not in the way that I want ... not in the way that I need ... but he is still here. 

But he is dead.

My son is dead. 

Here I am this morning, re-reading the words just before I post this. I cringe. I want to apologize. I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable. I don't but I do. I want us to have real conversations and not just in support groups where everyone is experiencing loss. I can't sit in a room full of people who are in trauma. When they share, I close up, revert to having to be strong for another instead of strong for myself. I need to say these words aloud, to change the way that we express and understand grief.But I am a classic over sharer who says all the words and then wants to shove them back into her mouth, her mind, her heart ... who worries always about saying too much and then about saying not enough. There are so many words I wish I had said but that's a post for another day.