I broke down when the members of the mental health club visited us


many hands 2David’s friends from the mental health social group visited to pay their respects and to comfort us. They told us about the memorial service they had held for their friend, our son, and I was touched in the deepest crevices of my soul and finally released a well of tears I didn’t realize I had left to shed, tears that would not stop flowing. These people understood that along with our grief, there was a sense of relief, knowing that David’s terrible suffering was over.

A grief therapist brought by a well-meaning friend arrived. According to him, I had good memories to comfort me and I could look forward tot he future with  hope. What I felt at that moment was the grief of tragedy and his response was psychobabble to me. He insisted that we needed his assistance. My gentle husband walked him firmly out of the front door, assuring him that we would manage without him.

Then our mailbox filled with flyers advertising headstones. We were expected to shop around. Do you want a rough or a smooth stone, thick or thin, marble or stone? It was far too soon for us to be thinking of that kind of detail.

In the deep of night, my bedside lamp went on. Then I wandered around the house like a sleepwalker, listening to the trees creaking and to our refrigerator humming. I spent many nights staring at photographs of David when he was healthy. I found myself being drawn to the  handiwork he’d made in one hospital or another during occupational therapy. I hung two on the wall of my study. Most of the pictures resembled images engraved in a world of nightmares, disturbing, distorted. Much later I took them down and placed them in a cupboard. They were too harsh, too upsetting. I wondered how we would cope with this but it was too early for that. Raw grief is what we were dealing with.

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