Saturday, June 15, 2013

Welcoming Tears

The tears of suicide loss for a child are not like other tears. They are endless and pure and come gushing out many times a day, washing us clean for a moment. They come in silent, heaving bursts that make the face contort and the breath come in short, agitated spurts. When we let loose their sound, it is like the howl of a wounded animal, a heart-piercing wail of utter despair. I would hear those sobs somewhere in the house the first few weeks and go running to find and hug my husband. I would close the windows so my own cries would not alarm the neighbors.

It feels like an inexhaustible well of tears that will keep pouring out at the slightest triggering thought. Each outpouring releases a little more of the vastness of grief. I cling to my tears, to what is left of my bond with N., the salt tracks on my face traces of love.

Days without tears feel like a betrayal, like I am barely alive, even though I know I need breaks from grieving. The hardest, most exhausting days are the days when work or other obligations compel me to keep the tears at bay for hours. The tears will have out, if not at the end of the day, then when driving or resting or when a movie or TV drama comes to a poignant end—not another ending please. When I hold back the tears, it feels unnatural, like damming up an untamed river.

In my alternate vision of the day of his death, my son collapses in tears, unable to follow through on his violent plan. But that would mean he could still feel, could give voice to the tender, vulnerable side of himself and his bonds with the living. I weep for the loss of that tender soul that could, perhaps, have saved his life.

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