Monday, June 12, 2006

Cul de sac

When my mother died in November 2004, I thought that I understood grief. She was my best "girl" friend. We were extrememly close. I still (perhaps more so now) miss her terribly. And yet, there is something qualitatively different about my grief experiences. With my mom, the primary loss was of things not yet done. She would never hold her grandchild or write the book she had always intended. We wouldn't take any more trips to Palm Springs or share any more lunches at Mimi's. And of course, I would never again be able to talk with her about my life in a time and space that allowed her to answer. I was devastated and haunted by these thoughts for many months.

With Dalton, though, my grief is more whole. Meaning, I grieve not only the loss of future, but of my past and present as well. Perhaps, more pointedly, I grieve my loss of self. Who am I without Dalton? Certainly, I am Iain's mom, but what does that look like when his Dad is no longer there to be my counterpoint. I am a follower of Christ, but is my faith strong enought to stand on it's own without the backbone that Dalton provided? I am a homeowner, but what good is this house for parties and BBQ's, and evenings spent out by the fire when the host extraordinaire, chef, and conversationalist is gone? I am a friend, but one who doesn't have much to offer right now - especially to the friends which were ours - couples with children whose lives no longer interesect so easily with mone. I am a worker without much interest in working. I am a person without much interest in being.

This is the worst of it. Dalton's death has, at least temporarily, caused me to lose (as if they just slipped out of my hands) the qualities in myself that he loved the most. Where have optimism and joy and passion and grace and hope and enterprise and dreams gone? Will they or will they not return? Both answers repel me. If they return, then surely I have underestimated our love. If they don't return, then surely I have dishonored Dalton and deprived my son. I am as bland as the world around me.

CS Lewis writes in his book, A Grief Observed, "I think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense. It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, action after action, had H. (or Dalton) for their object. Now their target is gone. I keep on through habit fitting an arrow to the string, then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to H. (Dalton). Iset out on one of them. But now there's an impassable frontierpost across is. So many roads once; now so many culs de sac." I am still finding only culs de sac.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just want to remind you that many of us are still praying for you. We are still here for you. Hope little Dalton and Ian are doing ok. Enjoy your kids as much as possible! Kids grow up in a blink of an eye! Now let them be your main focus and with God's help you will succeed!! Take Care & God Bless!

10:41 PM  
Blogger Amy The Writer said...

Your qualities that Dalton and the rest of us love about you WILL return, but in a different shade, colored and informed by these recent experiences.

So them returning doesn't mean you've underestimated yours and Dalton's love, but that they have more dimensions to them than you thought, just like you have more dimensions to you than you thought.

They (and you) are elastic. Kinda like...underwear. (Sorry, thought the post was getting a little high-falutin', ha ha ha.)

11:01 AM  
Blogger Amy The Writer said...

Oops, meant to say my COMMENT was getting high-falutin'. My COMMENT. Your post is wonderful.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Gloria Gonzales said...

I have been praying for you daily and your family. I pray the Lord will give you his strength and peace.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Gloria Gonzales said...

I have been reading everything you have written about this very painful journey. As a cancer patient myself your experiences and Daltons battle with cancer have impacted me tremendously. You are in a place to help many people who must go through this journey.May the Lord use your pain for his glory.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


your entries are wonderful, eloquent, honest, and appreciated. your whole church family is praying for you and the children, always. it's oxymoronic, but this forum, web-communique, which is so often criticized for it's impersonality, gives us an intimate way to mourn for you and with you.

peace be with you.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Dan McGowan said...


I don't quite grasp WHY we need to experience pain... and I thank you for having the courage to share your pain with the rest of us...

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Jeanette Newton said...

Dearest Tricia,
Until I can hug you in person and share a box of kleenex...
Paul never sait it better and he never said it clearer than when he wrote to the church at Thessalonica:
"and now, dear brothers, I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow, as those are who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him all the Christians who have died. I Thessalonians 4:13,14
Your love will return to
is a promise!!!

10:03 AM  

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