January, 2002 | Jan Harley

Al and I drove home in silence.  We were both exhausted and mentally tapped. Upon arriving home, I dropped on the living room couch like a dog finding refuge from his enclosed kennel.  Al made dinner and we ate in silence.  Normally Al and I could find any subject to converse about, in fact we are a very chatty couple.  Not tonight.  The day had taken us captive and it seemed the only relief would come in sleep.

It was time to go upstairs to sleep.  As we began climbing the stairs we were now facing Nicole’s bedroom.  There in one room housed Nicole’s own private little world she had created. Family pictures, her new bedspread, her toys and stuffed animals, her plastic stars shining on the ceiling.  All her smells came pouring into me as if I was standing on a hillside smelling the sweet perfume of springtime flowers.  I walked into her room and grabbed her teddy bear.  With all the energy I had left, I nestled my weary head into her pillow and dropped onto her cozy bed. Then it began. The walls of the dam split open and the cruise control I so desperately had in locked position, was now turned off.  My heart-wrenching sobs began to fill the room and echo off her walls.  All I could do was to hold on tightly to her teddy bear and ride the wave of grief.  I could not remember a time I had cried so hard for so long.

Looking back, I understand the value of tears and the physical manifestation of crying.  This grieving stage helps our system to release the stress and pressure that has built up from a traumatic event.  I also learned a very important life lesson.  There is no reasoning or understanding that can take place during this initial grieving period.  Trying to make decisions or reasoning out a problem goes by the wayside. The process of grief comes in different stages at different times.  Every individual is unique and every stage of grief in that person’s life is unique.