Being a journal writer myself, the foreword by author Madeline L'Engle resonates:
"It is all right to wallow in one's journal; it is a way of getting rid of self-pity and self-indulgence and self-centeredness. What we work out in our journals we don't take out on family and friends. I am grateful to Lewis for the honesty of his journal of grief, because it makes quite clear that the human being is allowed to grieve, that it is normal, it is right to grieve, and the Christian is not denied this natural response to loss."There are a number of quotes from the book that speak to me. One analogy, however, accurately describes the impact of the devastating loss on a survivor's life. No matter how long it has been since the death. It reinforces what is mentioned in a previous post, that I will NEVER "get over" Josh's death.
"Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing: after he's had his leg off it is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has 'got over it.' But he will probably have recurring pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be biped again."Then later he writes:
"Did you know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared. I was wrong to say the stump was recovering from the pain of amputation. I was deceived because it has so many ways to hurt me that I discover them only one by one."At present, I have a prosthetic leg which works pretty well. In fact, so well that people who meet me for the first time would not know that I am an amputee. That I am a mother who has lost a son. I function at at a high level on my job, teach three aerobics classes a week, am interested in renewing previously enjoyed experiences like skiing, am planning a trip to New Zealand with Lauren to visit Gillian while there for a study abroad program, and for all intensive purposes, to someone on the outside, I have recovered.
But that is a facade. You see, the chopping off of my leg was so violent, like the horrible scenes from Civil War movies when the poor solidiers had no anesthesia when faced with the ax; that to recover completely from this deep wound or trauma may never happen. I am lucky, I suppose that there has been no complications from the amputation. No insomnia or nightmares. No anxiety or depression. No suicidal thoughts of my own. But there is fear. That something will happen to one of my three surviving children. That as a mother, I might suffer more.
(See post on my reading blog for more.)