Sunday, 11 November 2012

I'm a Duck

To get through the last year I've tried to look at all the blessings in my life and keep as busy as I can be, but it's hard every day to continue on with life without Noah and Aaron. 

It's hard to just keep doing 'normal' things but feeling like you are like a duck - where the top half is above water and looks very calm and they are gliding along nicely, but under the water their legs are going flat out to keep them afloat.

That's how I feel pretty much every day - my exterior is calm (most of the time) but a lot of the time I just feel like if I stop paddling just a second I could sink very easily.

A couple of weeks ago I met a man who said to me 'oh you are the woman whose husband died?'. 

Yes my husband died - and guess what!? So did my son!

I wanted to say that to him, but I didn't because he was being lovely and empathetic, and he didn't need to hear my dramas. He then said 'so how are you going? Are you getting there?'.  That's when I wanted to say 'no I'm not getting there', but I didn't.  I don't really know where 'there' is supposed to be anyway.  I have heard it so many times since Aaron passed away. 

I know people mean well by asking and saying it, but it's like they are feeding you the answer that they want you to give. They don't really want to hear the truth, because the truth is often hard to hear.

They don't really want to hear that I'm sad and lonely every day, and especially at night.

They don't really want to hear that I'm so exhausted from being a single Mum to three boys who are grieving.

They don't really want to hear that I'm stressed every day because I'm having to make a living, plus keep the house clean, the boys fed and feeling secure, while trying to find some time for myself.

They don't really want to hear that I worry about the future each and every day.

They don't really want to hear that I have been going to the cemetery almost every day lately because I don't know what else I can do to feel close to Aaron and Noah. 

They don't really want to hear that I feel like I haven't had time to grieve yet because I'm too busy just trying to get through each and every day.

They don't really want to hear that although I'm out doing things and smiling and laughing and even having fun at times, that my legs under the water are going flat out so I don't sink.

It's so hard to explain to people that grief doesn't have a time line. Just because it's been 13 months since Noah passed away and 10 months since Aaron passed away that things are easier.  It's not easier at all and it's actually harder as reality sinks in and the shock wears off. 

I look forward to the day when I'm no longer like a duck paddling away furiously just to stay afloat.


  1. I've experienced that awful feeling Lisa. While my husband and son didn't die, my family as I knew it died, and I was left to raise my kids alone. Your post really touched me tonight as I can relate in some way. Working, cleaning, feeding, counseling, surviving was all consuming.
    I believe one day you will feel less like a little duck and find your new normal.
    Love and blessings to you

  2. Much love to you Lisa. I don't really have any words,just sending love. You are doing an amazing job, even on the days you feel like you aren't. xx

  3. Oh Lisa, I feel for you. I didn't lose my husband or son to death, but my dream of a family died when my ex husband walked out. I had someone say to me once that when it happened to me and 12 months had gone by they thought "get over it" and then it happened to them and they were in the same boat and it was only then that they realised that there is time frame to all of this. I've been on my own for 17 years now and I still have days when I think this is just too hard and I wish things were different. This is your journey and belongs to no one else. The only way you get through all this is one day at a time, one moment at a time if you have to. I love your analogy of the duck and it is so true. Sometimes I think the truth is what people need to hear. Love and hugs to you.

  4. Lisa, It is hard to know what to say, just know we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and sending lots of love.

  5. Maybe, someone does whats to hear it???
    I do!
    I think people do not know how to react, or what to say, so they sometimes say something "wrong" or "stupid".
    That happens to me sometimes, that i say something, and after a while, after thinking about it, i think "why did i say THAT".
    I know, its very hard for you, but i have no idea, HOW hard. I really admire you, for your strength !!!!!!!!
    Sending lots of Love,

  6. I'm glad you can be honest here and get that all off your chest. I hope that you're feeling at least a little bit better each and every day this week. People grieve differently, so don't feel bad for doing it in your own way.

  7. Thanks for your honesty, Lisa. I wish there was some way to make it easier for you. Thanks for sharing your reality with all of us so that we can know how things really are.

  8. Those images you made are heartbreakingly beautiful. I hope non-duck days find you as soon as possible ((hugs))

  9. Elizabeth form SC, USA12 November 2012 at 01:00

    Glad you have shared your feelings. I have no idea how you feel. We don't know how it feels, such a deep loss, until it really happens to us. I am glad to see you as human. If you bottled up all your feelings you would surely break. Just know that Heavenly Father has a plan for your happiness. Trust and have faith, but by all means feel the way you feel, because you need to!!! You are still grieving and it's absolutely okay to feel the way you do. If you didn't, you would not be human.
    We are spiritual beings having human experiences. You are having the most human experience this life has to offer. Hang in and know you are not alone and take time to feel.

  10. I doubt that that are many people on the whole planet who've gone through what you have. Everyone grieves differently. Even though I don't know you, I think of you and your boys often and wonder how you are doing/coping. Like some of the previous posters said, I wish there was something I could do to make you feel less like a duck. Actually, having the boys and keeping as busy as you do is probably good therapy. Just wanted you to know that I care!

  11. Your swimming legs are working so hard - I wish we could pump our own legs instead. xx

  12. Dear Lisa,
    There's a book you should read, about someone who lost her husband to drowning while she was expecting their sixth child. It's called "Guide Me to Eternity", by Christine Tuttle Monsen, published by Aspen Books. If you can find it, read it! You will draw great comfort from it.

    Linda D., SLC, UT

  13. I think people do really want to know when they ask you. Don't be afraid to say "I'm really struggling today and could use a hug right now". There are not many people who have had no experience with grief and loss. Most people can draw from some well and be there and understand when you tell them stuff like that. Most importantly, I hope you tell your doctor stuff like that. I absolutely believe if you stop paddling you will sink, you sound on the verge of drowning now. Go see your doctor and start unburdening on others more too. People can't help if you don't tell them. You are so right, there is no timeline, but that is cold comfort to a soul that is subconsciously hoping the anniversaries begin to make things easier and mark the passing of "time that will heal"

  14. Hi Lisa,
    In the Jewish tradition there are time lines on saying certain prayers for a deceased person. In the first 7 days, the family stays indoors, each day, only going out briefly on the Sabbath. Many people come over to comfort them at this time, The mourners are given space to talk as much as they want, and cry, show pictures, or nothing at all. One is not even supposed to say a greeting to a mourner in the first 7 days because you are not to do anything which causes the mourner to say anything he isn't feeling, or smile. Lunches & dinners are brought in.
    After that week, it is called "standing up". The mourners (sometimes it is the kids of a family) are escorted out, and escorted on a trip out in the neighborhood for the first time since they lost their loved one.

    That first walk out is soooo hard. The protective nest is spread to the outside, where everything is "business as usual". It is only with accompaniment can a mourner be brought outside. He must be there to lend any support necessary.

    Then there is the year of mourning (which you aren't even past yet with Aaron). The mourner says special prayers that are reserved only for mourners in the synagogue so the public knows you are in mourning. No exterior control to put on as a facade.

    When that year is over, *then* is becomes extremely emotional for the mourner. I have gone through it twice with both of my husband's parents. After the last time my husband said the last prayer in synagogue signifying the end of the year of mourning, he came home and wailed from the bottom of his soul, at the top of his lungs. He is supposed to let go a bit more.

    At least, though, there is a framework for losing loved ones in Judaism. I feel that without it one must feel just sent out there into a lonely world where nobody understands *at all* what you could be experiencing. I feel for you, so ,so much. We here, on your blog, don't expect any time frame for you. There will be no "putting it behind me" Ever. No can do. It is what makes up your life.
    There will be days, far in the future, when your soul will let you stop paddling every now & then.

    I cannot put my health crises on a back burner, ever. They are always in my face, even through my smiles and even enjoying times with friends. There are a few people who consistently ask me "OK? It's over"? Your're OK now?
    To which I say with a smile "perfect". They get it.

    You are supposed to keep loving Noah and Aaron, they are part of your soul. Try to think how they (especially Aaron) would feel if he saw you paddling every day. He'd want you to get some afternoon help a day or two a week and go to a yoga class or swimming. Or whatever speaks to you. Your sons will get it, just give it time. You can set an example for them of what we do when we are trying to take care of ourselves.

    lots of love & blessings to you!
    Sarah from Israel.

  15. I get it. My sad experiences are different but I still get it.

    We're all ducks to a degree I think.

    I could fall to bits every day because of past experiences and stresses as well as current pressures, but then what? I think it's a blessing from God that I "can't". I just put one foot in front of the other and keep on plugging away thanking my lucky stars things aren't worse.

    Endurance is exhausting, try to find those activities that bring respite. Maybe a massage, a walk on your own for 20 minutes, special chocolate JUST for you, the boys being cared for so you can have a weekend away, meditation, yoga, talking it out with a counsellor or journalling the good and bad. You'll know better than anyone what will deeply nourish you. If you're depleted entirely it's bad for you and bad for the boys.

    Please care for yourself and don't be afraid to feel the weight of things. Only then can you find the balance that will keep you afloat. Hard as it is, you have to look after you.

    xo xo xo

  16. What a heart wrenching post Lisa. The comments here are so wonderful and I don't know how to say anything as encouraging other than that we continue to pray for you and your boys and love you lots.
    I am positive that one day you will feel that you're not drowning. I hope that day comes soon. xxx

  17. Oh Lisa, this is such a powerful post. I am always willing to hear your life's truths. Praying that you are buoyed up through your immense burdens. Only one thought about your feeling on being a duck. Ducks are able to float in water because of the waxy oil that makes their feathers waterproof. Ducklings do not develop that waxy oil until they are older. When they are born their mothers wrap their wings around their ducklings to keep them warm. That oil is then rubbed onto the ducklings feathers and now they can float. Without the loving tenderness of their mother's they would sink. Your heavenly father and mother, along with your dear earthly parents have wrapped their arms around you lovingly. You will not sink. When you get too tired of paddling to stay afloat trust that you can rest for a moment and still stay above water.

  18. Lisa, there are so many of out here that are willing to lend an ear. Vent away in your blog. There are so many of us that feel like ducks and for varying reasons. What you have gone through and continue to go through is alot bigger and more tragic than most but so many of us can understand. Whether it be through death or divorce, many of us have lost partners and that feeling of not being able to get back up out of the water to catch your breath can be truly overwhelming.
    My heart goes out to you and I wish that I lived closer just to come and give you a hand or just sit and chat for a while.
    Hugs to you and your precious boys, keep your chin up.

  19. I'm so sorry. I often wondered how and when you found time to grieve. I wish my tears were helpful at all. My prayers are with you. I'm so sorry.

  20. Life is hard, grief is harder! I am sorry that some well meaning people do not understand and do not choose their words more carefully. I loved the duck analogy above after you saying you feel like a duck sometimes... knowing that our protector has given us the tools to use to "float" when our legs or wings are too heavy to walk or fly. Praying for gentle days for you and your boys as you continue through.

  21. no one can ever KNOW what YOU are experiencing..because YOU are an INDIVIDUAL and this is your life TELL US...we are all so caught up in our own life experiences that sometimes (most of the time) we become selfish in a manner of speaking and forget to get our ducks heads of the bottom of the pond and look around to see that one of our flock are floundering because they have forgotten to keep on paddling...TELL us...and i know you shouldn't have to ...but we are human and fail miserably at it most of the ya XXXX

  22. Hi Lisa - I am behind on my blog reading but I had to respond to this post. You nailed it for me - this is exactly how I handle each day. Putting on that "I'm-ok" face just EXHAUSTS me beyond anything I could possible imagine. Yes I am living my life without my son. Yes I am blessed and lucky to have so many family and friends who love me. But if you ask me how I am doing? I would love to be able to say "I HURT SO MUCH" or "I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE MY SON AGAIN". People expect you to say " I'm ok.....". Someone once told me that grief is like being set out on a raft in the ocean. Some days the sun shines and you lift your face towards it to feel the warm. Some days it is really rough and you struggle just to hang on! Eventually you make it back to shore - but it is NEVER the same place that you started from.

    I hope we can all find ourselves basking in the sun more often - and not like that duck whose feet just keep them going.

    xxoo - Diane

  23. I'm sure all your readers look forward to that day FOR you. But in the meantime, my hope is that you are given to feel the presence of Aaron and Noah when you most need it.

    And I hope you allow yourself as much time as it takes to heal, even when well-intentioned people try to hurry you through it.

  24. Lisa, I can certainly relate to your post. My David will be gone two years on the 17th of November. I live alone and hate it with a passion. I keep busy during the day, volunteer at a nursing home, have lunch with friends, but it doesn't make up for the companionship I had when David came home from work in the evening. Even though we might not say much and watch programs on TV, he was there beside me--I could touch him, we could laugh together, and he was just there. No one can know what we are going through until they walk the same path. People mean well, but as some of the comments in replies to your post, people just don't know what to say or they are afraid to say anything. David was my life, and at 75, it's harder to make "new" friends. I belong to a bereavement group, and there are 8 of us getting together on Sunday afternoon and going out to dinner just to help ease the anniversary of my loss. One of the persons was not available on the 17th, so we made it for the 18th. It will be a fun time for all of us because we will be enjoying each other's company. You do what you have to do to survive on a daily basis. I commend you for what you have done to keep on going. You are blessed with three wonderful sons. Yes, they will have moments when grief will hit them again, and there is no time limit on grieving. I felt that this past year was harder than the year before. I know that eventually things will get "softer" whatever that means. Thank you for sharing your feelings because I have felt the same as you in some of your comments. Bless you, Lisa, and hug your boys for me. They are awesome, and Aaron would be very proud of them, and I know you are. Sending you much love from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. (I'm Becky's aunt--her son was Ben)She's very busy with Brady and now Jo Jo who is a very handsome child and is getting wonderful care and love. I'm sure he will thrive as Ben did for so long.

  25. Sending you a friendly hug and lots of positive vibes. I wish there was something practical I could do for you.

    I wish I could heal your broken heart and make your pain go away.

    I think of you and the boys often and keep you all in my prayers. Thank you for being honest and sharing here on your blog. You are a wonderful lady and a fantastic mother.

    May God give your comfort and strength and keep you all safe in his arms. Take care of yourself. Love from Susan McGuire in Sydney.

  26. Thank you Lisa for putting into words how so many young widows feel. My brother passed away suddenly (at the age of 32) leaving a grieving wife and 2 young children. I love the overlay of "I miss you" on both of your photos with Aaron and Noah and I would love to do something similar for my sil. Would you be willing to share where you got it or if you made it yourself? thank you so much. laura.whipple at
    I pray your family continues to feel the peace the gospel can bring.


We are so grateful for everyone's love and support, and appreciate your comments xoxo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...