Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Ripple Effect

Sitting within the epicenter of profound loss, I've noticed that the impact of that tragedy can be far reaching and unforeseen.

Many of the negative effects have been fairly predictable while others have not. Our kids' loss of innocence and fears could have been anticipated, but the same worries have also permeated the homes of cousins on my husband's side of the family and some of the kids' friends in the neighborhood, on their teams and in school.  These kids now know in a real way that mommies and daddies can die.  Friends of mine have either stepped up or, more often than not, stepped away not knowing how to deal with the new Peg...tired, sad, negative and consumed by the complexity of this new life.  The strain on relationships within my family has been unpredictable and I think many people would be surprised to know how this tragedy has in many ways caused additional loss and pain in our family rather than bringing us together.  This has definitely not been an after school special where everything is tide up in a nice bow at the end of the hour.

Positive things have come from the accident.  Many people have come up to me to tell me how Jeanne and Mike's lack of planning have made them write a will and make financial plans for their family's future.  The county has investigated how they can change things on the road where the accident happened, so cars can't cross over lanes and similar accidents can be avoided.  One of Jeanne's friends actually quit her job to spend more time at home with her children.  Numerous people have come together in the last two years to help our family and this makes them feel good about themselves. In talking about our loss with people openly and directly, I hope I have helped others understand how to approach people going through loss and what NOT to say.  Strangely (from my perspective at least), people have told me that seeing me and our nuclear family go through this and still get on with life, laughing and loving each other, has reaffirmed their faith and given them hope.

The loss has given me this blog.

A terrible accident caused a giant splash in our little world. Circular waves of both positive and negative exploded from the surface impact. As time passes, the ripples have slowed and diminished in force...causing people to forget, feel better, move on.  I still feel stuck in the loss.  Rather than moving on with the currents, I'm tied to the pain which pulls me downward below the surface. The accident permeates my thoughts each and every day.  Flashes of memory. Wondering if they were in pain and knew what was happening. Imagining what the girls must have felt when we told them. Wishing I can turn back time.

I sink beneath the weight of grief.  I wonder if and when this will end.  My love for my sister sometimes makes me wish it won't.


  1. The thing about grief that sucks is, eventually, it starts to ease and makes you think you must be forgetting. For me, the reason for the easing is a loss of memory, a passing of time that smooths the rough edges and dulls the sharpness. I don't WANT to forget, and yet, there seems to be nothing I can do to make it not so.

    As I've moved through my grief journey these last four years, I've made many observations.
    One: There are tons of people around in the beginning when you have no idea what to do with them because you are so lost in grief.
    Two: Those people eventually go away and move forward with their lives and when you really need them, aren't really there. Not because they don't want to be, but because they took that time in the beginning. Unfortunately, now that you're through the numbness, this is the time you need them.
    Three: Some people just like a train wreck. As my grief has lessened and my blog is more boring and about my daily life with my girls and husband, my readers are starting to drift away and support those who are more needy. (I'm okay with this, I truly am.)
    Four: I've had friends who have no idea how to interact with me, and friends who have dropped me. I have come to accept that everyone deals with grief in their own way in their own time and sometimes the reality of death is too much for some folks to handle.

    And, I'm rambling again. So sorry.

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. I know it has to be very difficult and challenging, and you give every appearance of meeting this challenge head-on.

    I keep praying things will settle down and you and your family will find a comfortable groove. I'm rooting for you guys.

  2. Rach-- you have no idea how much your comments and understanding mean to me. I'm having a partucularly rough day today and your words were what I needed.

    C and I call the train wreck watchers "grief whores" ( I know not the most pleasant term). They are the people who ask how we are or the girks not because they genuinely care, but because they just want the scoop.

    For the record, I read you before you lost Hannah and still do because of your words, wit and pictures.

  3. "Grief whores" is a good way to term it, lol! That's truly what they are. They are there to feel needed (they *need* to feel needed) and when they no longer do, they move on. It's about them, NOT about you. Lovely, no? :shakes head: But, they of course don't see it that way. Go figure.

    I'm so sorry things have been rough. I'm guessing you really haven't had much time to grieve since you've been trying to hold the family together and make this thing work. Being the grown-up REALLY sucks sometimes. :o(

    And, you are so sweet to keep coming to visit. Thanks for letting me know you were there "before". :o) (Isn't it odd how our lives now have such a point of demarcation--"Before" and "After". That sucks too. :oS)