I always been a very busy person. Before the "empty nest" days, my life as a mother kept me very busy. In the past, my work life and balancing a personal life left me with very little time to just be still.
When Logan died, everything stopped. In those first few days, my house was filled with many people. I have minimal memory of who was there and most of the events of those first few days.
After the funeral, I was determined to be a gracious southern woman and personally write out the 250 thank you notes. It was very disturbing to me that I had no recollection of "who did what" to help me. It was also very disturbing that my memory only retrieved patches of time and events. Oh, as an FYI-- I totally screwed up the thank you notes. Some people received two thank you notes and some of the people I totally missed writing. This was my first real experience with Teflon brain.
Anyway, because of this lack of control (on many levels!!), I found myself to be surprisingly anxious at times. "Striving to create predictability" -- This later became an effective coping mechanism as I began to fear what would pop up and startle me.
Back to my initial point-- I was a super busy chickadee. Then the busyness stopped. Being still and quiet was foreign to me at that time. I had always been busy, until everything in our entire family's world came to a halt.
I have noticed that many people MUST be busy. I have a dear friend who has found coping so challenging that she either races with activities or she sleeps. Being in the PRESENT and being STILL is frightening for her. It is frightening to many of us. I remember when it was frightening to me.
It took many years and a lot of trauma and drama, but I am thankfully at a place in my life where stillness is GOOD. Actually, segments of time with stillness and quiet are mandatory for my sanity. I have come to terms with the earthly departure of Logan.... At least with segments of this harsh reality.
When I was initially forced into this reality, I was physically uncomfortable. No one told me how much grief physically hurts! It is not just emotional pain but physical pain. My body was tense and tight and I was often unknowingly gritting my teeth. I even had a patient point this out... which was a tad bit embarrassing.
I decided to make a purposeful attempt to watch the clock as I made a personal commitment to just be STILL and stretch my achy muscles for 10 minutes. To clear my mind. To pray. To be still and to recognize that all is safe and quiet at that present moment.
We often fear the quiet. We fear that the reality of losing a child might invade our personal and quiet space and bring us to our knees. Of course it will, for it has already invaded every cell in your body. But, my friends... Do NOT be afraid!! This can be an important step in the journey of healing.
Know that EACH time you choose to enter this quiet space, you will not break down and fall apart... At least not for very long. Remember- Tears are GOOD and tears really are healing. You will not always have tears in the quiet- this I promise. Tonight I am sitting alone in the quiet on my porch as I recharge for the busy week which is ahead.
Do not be afraid of the quiet, for in the quiet, you can find healing and peace. Be still and know....
This article has been updated today but was originally published in 2015.