Really, there is nothing more that can be done other than reaching out . . . as painful as that can be.
Yes, even during those times when the depression is so intense, there is nothing more in my vision than dark clouds, emptiness of heart, and absolutely no energy. When this happens, even smiling, playing around with the kids, or trying to spend time opening up to Lucille are key to breaking the hold the depression has.
There are only two ways that things can go when we experience something so traumatic as the loss of a child.
The first, and hopefully the path chosen, is to work as hard as possible to be supportive of each other. We, Lucille and I, did that by making sure that despite our own pain and suffering that we remained present to one another.
In the first weeks after the loss of Dominic my responsibility was to support Lucille as best as I could. That meant that to some extent my own grieving was put on hold. But, it was absolutely imperative for my grieving to be held back as Lucille really needed me.
During the initial weeks there were opportunities for us to cry together though I still held onto much of my grief to make sure that I was attentive to Lucille’s needs.
As things progressed we found that our relationship was growing stronger in a way that we had never expected. We kept working at supporting each other, being present to each other, and watching out for each other and still do to this day.
Despite the circumstances, our relationship has indeed grown closer together.
The other way things can go is for our relationship to fracture. There were times when I totally withdrew from Lucille, held back, did not allow her in, and walled up my heart from everything and everyone.
If I continued down that road there could have been a very distinct possibility that our relationship would have broken up and I would have been the primary reason for it.
In fact there were times when I was so buried in my grief that my fight or flight reflex was on the verge of flight mode. I _wanted_ to run away.
Prayer provided no consolation with my heart feeling like a hardened rock in my chest. Being around anyone was painful.
Once we buried Dominic I found that I could let go but it still took a while for me to open up to Lucille. Listening to music (previous blog post) really helped with the opening up process as has spending time adoring Jesus exposed at a local Archdiocesan adoration chapel . . . though my heart still feels like a lump of concrete.
Together we faced an amazing test of our relationship, our love for each other, our communication skills, and most especially our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lucille and I made a tangible decision to be present to each other and to support each other. We also had the force of our wills following through on that decision plus we had the momentum of the Sacramental Grace of Marriage behind us too.
On top of that, Dominic has been very present to us in so many different ways since the beginning of the pregnancy. His prayer is indeed powerful and the graces his prayer brings about are only now starting to be revealed.
So, once we are further down the road of healing we will be able to look back prayerfully and see the many graces and blessings that we have shared in.
Hopefully we have indeed passed “The Test” and this portion of our lives written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 20:12) will stand up to scrutiny.
Our Lady of Sorrows pray for us.
Saint Dominic pray for us.