Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thoughts on Grief

The counting of weeks has morphed into the counting of months - 4 to be exact on March 18th.

The anticipation of each 18th day is agonizing and often worse than the actual date itself.

I have broken more glasses and plates since Waverly passed away compared to my entire lifetime.

I cannot recall names of those outside of my immediate circle.

Words escape me and my grammar has been especially horrid.

Night time is by far the most difficult part of each day.

I say good morning and good night to Waverly daily.

Magical Thinking is a very real concept. (I need to reread Joan Didion's book.)

I am going to become a crazy bird lady. I bought a feeder for in front of my kitchen window and I love it. The birds bring me such joy. I am now on the hunt to fill our entire yard with bird feeders.

Hearing someone say Waverly's name is music to my soul. Please continue to #sayhername

I have never been so tired.

I don't like to cry in front of people. I always cry in the church pew though.

I often say I am OK. It's not true. I am broken and struggling.

I am woefully behind in thanking everyone for the gifts and flowers they have sent. Please grant me grace as I slowly try to check things off of my to do list.

I love keeping fresh yellow tulips in Wavey's room.

Being in nature brings comfort.

Grief is not linear. There is no moving on or getting past. It is messy.

A smile is a easy way to show compassion. Eye contact avoidance does not.

I have depression and anxiety.

I cannot imagine how I will cope with losing Oliver. He is my snuggle buddy and provides me with so much comfort.

I miss every aspect of caring for Waverly. I do not "enjoy the free time" or "like the break".

I have watched way too much bad tv, but it provides a mindless escape.

I recommend reading "Rare Bird" to anyone who wants to understand how I am feeling in a deeper way. Anna nails it. And I am unable to put words to my feelings at this time.

Looking at old photos and sharing them is cathartic.

I replay the moments surrounded her death over and over again in my mind. It is awful.

10 comments:

lesley said...

Wow. That is a very powerful, raw post. Thank you for sharing your many honest, complicated feelings. Waverly will always be present. She is you. Hugs from Maryland.

Laura Darrow Davenport said...

Oh Shannon :( Thinking of you lots! My heart hurts for you... You are so right; grief is like a snowflake...so unique for everyone and just when you think you've understood one part of it, you wake up to a different part.

<3

Denise Montalto said...

Montalto family loves you and continues to pray for you.

Karen Mims said...

Oh my god, please don't worry about sending people thank you cards! There is no one out there who would expect a thank you card from you for flowers or gifts. Do things that make you feel good (flowers in Wavey's room, cuddling with Ollie). Do as little as possible of things that don't make you feel good. It's OK to not be OK.

Jeremy and Ange said...

My heart aches for your pain and loss.
Ange

Kris said...

God bless and keep your heart Shannon.

Scarlet and Gray said...

Praying for you. My heart aches for you as well. Waverly was blessed to have you as her parents.

e.e. said...

Such beautiful and vulnerable words. I'm a fellow Taylor alum who stumbled across your blog by happenstance a few years ago, and I've been following along ever since. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. My dad passed away suddenly when I was 20, and it felt like the world crumbled. Losing a parent is terrible, but losing a child must be worse. There is something so very unnatural about it. I appreciate your words on grief. It is messy to be sure, and nonlinear, and different for each person and different day to day. It was helpful for me to have people validate and normalize those things for me. My pastor told us at the time that grief is like a landslide collapsing on top of you - buried beneath mountains of rubble, it feels like you can't breathe, can't move. But as time goes on that mountain filters down and becomes a layer of topsoil that new growth can push through. Eight years out, I think there is some truth to that, but it sure didn't feel like it at the time. You never "get it over it", but somehow you become used to it. Though it never feels good, and you'd still trade anything to go back to the way things used to be. Anyway, all this to say, thank you for bravely posting through your journey. I hope that this Easter season has brought glimmers of hope as we are reminded of the power of the resurrection and that death has been conquered once and for all

Jill L. said...

Wow Shannon. You've captured the intricacy so perfectly. I don't think I could verbalize it so succinctly, but you've captured so much, so well. I understand too perfectly well & feel exactly the same. I might need to borrow your strength & your words to explain myself & help those around me understand our world. #Waverly #Olivia #Jessie

CarleaB said...

Dear Shannon, I have read your blog for years. Back when your friends were doing the Hundred for a Home campaign, I contributed. The sister of a former neighbor of mine is a friend of yours - and that's how I found you. Since then, I've heard your husband interviewed on NPR and I've logged on periodically to check in on you.

When I read of Waverly's passing, I felt as if it happened to a friend of mine. I wanted to finally leave a comment (this one is my first) but it just didn't seem like the right time.

I have never lost a child - and I cannot imagine your grief. However, I did lose my mother when I was in my 20s and the pain was overwhelming. So this blog post truly resonated with me and inspired me to finally say hello.

I am so very very sorry for your loss. I am so sorry for the pain you have to endure as you cope with Waverly being gone while also continuing to care, worry, and agonize for Oliver and the battles he will face. It seems so unfair for all of this to happen to one family.

If there was one thing I could do over after my mother died, I wish I would have gone easier on myself; given myself permission to wallow. I wallowed anyway, I just felt guilty about how much of it I was doing. I applaud you for being able to put words to your feelings. It is actually quite comforting to read them.

I know you are surrounded by good friends and family. Now you know that there are some strangers out there who are pulling for you as well.

My condolences to you and Matthew. I hope that as time passes, you will begin to feel peace. (And I will #sayhername from now on as well.)