My husband recently made an observation that I found profound and worthy of spurring a change to this site. He objected to my description of the many things we do (post Gus) as “diversions or distractions”. He flat-out said “I don’t like those words, I prefer to say that we are keeping busy”. He is right (but nobody tell him please), there is no real way to distract or divert ourselves away from Gus’ loss.
We had Gus ten years after our youngest son for a reason; as a couple we’d only ever known the “busy”-ness of parenting having had our first two when we were in our early (very early) twenties. We anticipated that as “parenting” our older children was slowly reduced to moments of advice and spectator support, we’d need another child or two to fill up our time, command our attention, motivate us to work and plan for the future. When Gus was diagnosed with cancer at two and a second child never materialized, we focused on being grateful for just the one, our Gus.
Time seems to be in short supply for parents of school aged children but when Gus was abruptly gone, time appeared to multiply like Gremlins. Suddenly, we had time to read, travel, exercise, dine, sleep, binge watch TV, walk, try new things or nothing at all. All this time however seems to come at a hefty price and we always experience it only in terms of what we’ve lost. “We would have never done this if Gus was still here” (Our Camino) or “Gus would have loved this trip” (cruises through the Panama Canal and up and down the coast with his cousins).
I titled my blog “The Upside(s) of Grief, Diversion, Distractions & Motivations after a great loss” to highlight that activity and joy after loss is a choice; a choice between living with grief or living through grief. The only mistake I made was thinking that the time we’d be occupying could be a distraction, diversion or even a motivation. It is not, it just time that we choose to fill with activity. “We” find meaning in this activity because it bring us closer together as a family, as a couple and inspires us individually. For this reason I’ve made a slight change in the title of my blog – it is still “The Upside(s) of Grief” with what we truly are doing – “keeping busy after a great loss”. I hope you don’t mind….