Writing the Truth

Today is the fifteen month anniversary of my son’s death. It doesn’t quite feel as devastating as it used to, but I still mark the date in my mind as I did during the first two years of his life. Everything is still fresh enough to consciously distinguish the specific amount of time with him and without him. And though I am beginning to feel more hopeful in general, the most innocuous thing can bring me to tears. Today it was the waiter at the airport bar. He didn’t exactly look like my son, but his coloring and hair cut was similar. I tried to fight it, but the tears came anyway. I had to speak the words out loud the words I think so often: “I miss him so much!”

After fifteen months, these types of incidents don’t completely sideline my day. I’m used to the tears. I let them flow. It’s my new truth. 

I’ve shied away from revealing too much about where I am in my journey. I didn’t want to write about grief and depression. But perhaps on a sub-conscious level this writing challenge is all about breaking through the boundaries. Meeting the page count day after day clears away the bullshit and fluff. All that is left is truth. 

I never wanted grief to be the “thing” I write about, but it is my reality. When I censor those thoughts and feelings, the writing is tedious for both me and my reader. But when I allow the truth to flow, the words pour out with little effort. The piece is energized with an honesty that draws in readers. 

Yesterday’s post was the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more I need to unravel about waterfalls, grief, depression and suicide. And to be honest, I’m a little afraid of the places it might lead me. Writing about the last year will be painful, but I know that the Lord is prompting me to shine a light into the darkness.  

That’s what you do in the wake of a loss. You try to make the world a better place. We need to talk more openly about depression and suicide. Those of us who are left behind have to be willing to share. I don’t want to be on this journey, but I am. And if sharing my experiences and thoughts helps others, it’s more than worth it.

I don’t know where this road will take me, but my hope is that it will play a part in removing some of the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide. 

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