When I started writing in the summer of 2014, I was focused solely on our tragedy. Hot car deaths. Losing a child traumatically, etc.
But, time passes. And, as it passes, I've come to realize our journey is much more universal. We have all lost. We have all experienced our own iterations of trauma. The experience of loss reaches so many. It is not as isolated as I once thought.
One thing I know to be true is that the lasting effects of loss or trauma do not end in a year or two. It is extremely isolating to pretend that they do. Loss changes you. In the first few months after Ben died, I went for an interview with the Danbury Times in Danbury, CT. They introduced me to an employee who lost her daughter in the Sandy Hook school shooting of 2012. When I met with her...she was moved to tears. It was the profound loss of her daughter. She missed her in ways I still cannot describe. Her daughter was in her 20s when she died, meaning the mother had spent the better part of two decades with her daughter before losing her. This one experience I will never forget. At the time, I couldn't contemplate what the loss of Ben would feel like two years later. I just hoped I wouldn't still be crying.
It is now three years later. I'm different. I will never be the same, and I'm finally becoming comfortable with admitting that. I can't pretend like life goes on with no changes. For those of you experiencing the same thing...it is okay to admit that. Per my previous post, you know I struggle with the passage of time. I also struggle with fear. It is so simple...the things I fear. It is the simple mental step of differentiating the irrational from the rational. Before July of 2014, I would have told you it was irrational to fear that my son would die in a hot car when I thought he was a daycare. Now...not so much. So, the two become interrelated. The girls are now 10 and 8. They can easily walk themselves to the bus stop merely 50 meters (if that) from our house every morning. I still sit in our driveway, eyeing them, waiting until the bus comes. Each. And. Every. Morning. As my neighbor tells me "If a car were to drive by, they would have to steal all 6 of them." But, to me...I have to physically SEE them get on the bus. A car could very easily steal just two of them. Mine. Poof. I wake up one morning, and then they are GONE. Just like Ben.
I will fear the irrational forever.
And, I know it is not rational. I know it is the trauma speaking. But, it still affects me. After loss, YOU ARE AFFECTED. And, it is okay to admit that. There are many other instances of irrationality I experience as an after effect of Ben's death, but I won't bore you with those for now. As for the mother who lost her daughter in the Sandy Hook shooting....I want to tell you that I cannot pretend to understand but I want to give you another hug. I knew Ben for 15 short months. I have known my girls for 8 and 10 years. I can only contemplate the pain of losing them in 20 years. I still convulse at the thought of losing them now. It makes me "irrational." I would not only be crying after 2 years, but after 12, after 20. Until the end of time.
Life is all too precious. Time is too precious. Grasp and hold onto it.