When you lose a child, many physicians and ministers in particular, allot you a time in which to grieve of about a year. Then they expect that you heal sufficiently to head into what they call "the new normal". If you don't, they consider that you are grieving abnormally or perhaps even arrested in the development and maturity of your grief.
I was a great little soldier through my grief. It's not because I am particularly brave or not in touch with the devastating loss we had experienced. It's that I had three other children and a husband who was understandably broken following our sudden loss of a healthy 12 1/2 year old beloved youngest son. I was certainly broken. I just needed to make sure that everyone else would survive this loss before I fully examined what the loss of Daniel from Earth really meant to me.
This November, it will be eight years since Daniel abruptly left his beautiful flesh suit. Eight years later, I don't believe that there is a new normal. I think that what happens to most people is that they craft a life without their child or the loved one they have lost and they do so as if the life they lead is the result of a fractured timeline. What I mean by that is that if Daniel had remained here on Earth, then he would be twenty years old. He would be in college or working. He would have adult friends and be driving and planning for the future. He would be going places with his older siblings. They would be planning vacations together. Instead, the branch of the tree that would have been Daniel's is now absent. The life we lead is not the one we would have. Our lives without him have continued to grow on that tree and as bright as some of the fruit in this timeline might be sometimes, the tree has now grown as a disrupted timeline.
The reason this is important is that in order to make best and most productive use of the life we have remaining, it's important to describe our situation, at least to ourselves, accurately. I don't cry much, although I think of Daniel each day. I miss seeing his wonderful life unfold. I miss his commentaries and I miss seeing what he would become. I will also miss seeing the family he would have made.
I don't believe that anyone who hasn't lost a child or a loved one can truly understand the pervasiveness of such a loss, or all of its implications. This does not mean that I am lost. I accept and believe that God keeps Daniel and that I will see him again when I leave this existence myself. I believe that at some future day we will be reunited.
This does not stop my feeling that in late November, 2008 that the loss of Daniel altered the timeline we expected to live. The timeline was replaced by one with less joy. I will continue to build the best life I can for my children, my husband, and my grandchildren, just as Daniel would have strenuously requested, had he had the chance to speak to us after his passing.
Please remember that those you love who have experienced a crushing loss might feel this way also. There is no genuine return to the days before such a tragedy. Be kind as you talk to others, especially those who know grief, either the anticipated kind, or the kind that envelopes us. May your "time line" be linear and as you expect.