I thought I had at least a passing understanding of what grief is, what it feels like, how it impacts a heart before my son died.
But I was wrong.
Until you live with it day in and day out for weeks, months, years you really just. don’t. know.
There are so many feelings wrapped up in what we call grief. So many surprises along this path.
Who knew that the same heart that would do nearly ANYTHING to spare another parent the awful burden of child loss could also be wildly jealous of that same parent’s intact family?
I confess, mine has been.
I have scrolled through social media posts about fun family vacations, beautiful weddings, newborn grandchildren, happy graduations, first jobs, Christmas photos, and family reunions where the number of people present fill the frame to the edges of the picture and been angry instead of happy for them.
It takes every ounce of self-control not to covet what I will never have.
Jealousy is a green-eyed monster and I want no part of it.
But I have to fight to keep it at bay.
I have to recall the years I was given with all my children happy around my table. I have to remember the laughter, the shared experiences, the love and fun.
I have to focus on the gift and not the loss.
Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can’t.
It’s getting a little easier now to “rejoice with those who rejoice” and not also feel jealousy lurking in the shadows.
I pray one day I won’t feel that green-eyed monster breathing down my neck at all.