Sympathy Grief... is That Even a Term??? It Should Be.

You know how when a woman is in labor and her significant other has sympathy pains. They can feel the labor as if it's their own. Well I'm having "sympathy grief." At least that's what I'm calling it. I'm seeing someone else's grief and feeling it as my own.

I'm sitting here at 12:39am, not wanting to sleep because my husband is working hard on fixing up our daughter's room. To pass the time I turned on a movie half way though. It was a movie from 2011 called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I missed the major parts and didn't have much of an idea of what was going on, but within seconds my heart connected and I couldn't turn it off.

The main character, Oskar had lost his father in 9/11. He was on a search to find something he thought his father had left for him. Within seconds I felt Oskar's pain. We had no connection except for the grief that was bursting out of his body. I could feel it, like a switch was turned on in my body. I could feel my chest tightening and the tears welling up. Oskar was on this mission to accomplish something. Completing his mission meant that he was desperately hoping to FEEL that connection to his father again. Like there was one more moment to be lived again between the two of them. I could feel his desire... his hope... because I have that same desire and hope.

These past 10 years have been filled with several missions for Zachary. Missions that I set my sights on and can't let go of. Things that I NEED to accomplish. I'm chasing that moment that I hope to have. As if accomplishing these tasks will allow me to be closer to Zachary. To FEEL him again. It's a feeling I'll be after for the rest of my life.

There was another part of the movie that awakened a memory of mine. It's not that I forgot it, it's that I forgot the vividness of how it felt. Oskar had a moment where he realized that what he was seeking  wasn't what he thought it was. He exploded with grief and took off running as if he'd never stop. I remember being faced with writing Zachary's eulogy. Nearly 3 months after his first birthday and only days after his death, I had to come up with the right words to honor his life. The right words to express how deeply broken we all were. It was one of my intense moments that I exploded with grief. I took off, and just walked and I cried. I didn't want to return to my life. I wanted to some how escape because it was all too much to handle. I wasn't sure how to move forward and face my new life without my son. I had wished that I could just walk forever and ever. Run away. It was the weakest I had ever felt. I understand why I felt that way, but sitting here now I am ashamed of that moment. I don't get to give up ever. I live for him and my children.

It is amazing how you can feel "okay" one moment and then something happens that triggers a feeling and you can feel the intensity of the grief as if you are back to square one all over again. Maybe it's a mechanism built into our heart that helps to keep us grounded??

Maybe it's the movie, maybe it's because I've had good days lately, maybe it's because of social media and the overwhelming love shown for a fallen police officer today. I see other people's intense grief and I can't help but feel it as well. Sympathy Grief.

Here's to tomorrow. Day 3,702 without you Zachary.

I love you, Meatball.

zachary collage.jpg