Over the course of the last few months I have found myself filtering myself more and more – I am not sure why, but I believe it is part of my control process, and feeling a little too much “out there” for my comfort. Life was getting busy, and we were very much in the public eye, and I almost felt like people knew too much.
It has always been my goal to update Franks progress as much as possible. I know that along the way, for better or worse, those reading have also been given an earful, or an eyeful I guess, of my feelings, and how our life has progressed since Frank’s accident. At times it is hard to talk about, hard to express, and hard to live.
When I talk about this journal with my friends, I realize that many people use this as an update not only for Frank, but for me as well. As I have been told, this has taken on a different life than originally intended, one of a family story, not just an Officer’s survival story.
Life at 7 months post accident is a different type of stress than 7 days post accident. There has been so much change, and the changes and time have not necessarily made things “better”. The pain morphs into something new, as new parts of grieving occur.
The hardest part for me is watching the children, now grieving for a loss they do not understand. At the onset of this injury, the kids could not conceptualize the injury. Dad looked asleep, or tired, or just not really like Dad. Then Dad came home, and they were happy, but things were very much not the same. Although Dad looks the same, he is not the same – and as time goes on, that realization becomes more and more factual.
And the grieving begins.
How do you walk through grieving with a child months later? How do you figure out this grief, which can change from one day to the next depending on how “normal” the day is? How do you explain that it won’t always be so different?
No amount of professional assistance can truly make this better for them. Time will make it easier, but it hurts to think about the long term affects of trauma on children. I’ve read the books, and know the facts, but truly, these are my children, and I am worried about their pain.
And if I am being truly honest, things are just hard. The panic settles in at odd moments, without warning, and is paralyzing. It goes against everything that I am, to be so frozen, that I being to worry when it will come again.
A wise friend told me that there is only so much time you can stuff things down, wrap yourself in shiny silver duct tape, and hold it together. She is right. The duct tape begins to fray, and cracks appear at the edges. But the consequences of allowing that release are more than I can concieve right now.
My solution is more shiny duct tape.
The answer is to allow yourself to walk through these moments, to breath in and out and allow yourself to just be for a time.
But that is so hard, and so scary. Like a black hole, that can suck you under completely. And although the light is there, and the breathing keeps you grounded, the fact remains that it is painful to experience.
And I don’t know what my capacity is for that level of pain, and I really don’t want to find out.
So we breath each morning, and find joy in walking in the grass, and smile. And count on those around you to keep things focused, so as to not let the overwhelming fear settle in.