What else is there to do?
What else can be done when the battle seems lost and the threat of destruction closes in from all directions like the wave of ten thousand soldiers marching in for the kill?
Hard pressed on every side. Perplexed.
It’s the specific time when it seems the bitter end. I’ve had enough. Enough pain. Enough doubt. Enough sorrow and grief. Enough.
The idea of being strong seems to fade in the light of realization. The fight is too hard.
This pain will never end. It’s simply not going to pass.
Oh, tactics can be implemented to advance forward a bit. Journal and cry. Talk it out. Set up rituals and memorials. Mark milestones. Do what you can to honor the loss and allow the pain. Try to put yourself back together again.
As if there is any strategy to stop the pain. Or even lead you to the end of it.
I know the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
I’ve known about these for so long. I’ve read and studied and tried the best I knew how to help others through them. Yes, I thought I knew.
I even walked through these stages in different circumstances of loss in my life. I have lost battles over the course of this half century plus of mine. I sure have. Who hasn’t?
Yet no fatality is greater than the loss of a child.
I had no idea. None at all. I have been clueless.
I hadn’t fought this particular battle. I was never really in the thick of this war. My hands were never covered with the blood of incomparable defeat. Now I know.
I’ve often wondered how great men of war have felt. Standing in the middle of the battleground, perhaps on a hill. Looking around them as loyal men lay dead or dying. Precious blood of sacrifice seeping into prized territory. What goes through the mind at the realization that all is lost? All those months and years of preparation and strategy defeated. Conquered.
What thoughts come to mind when it’s realized there is no other choice. None at all.
No choice but one. Surrender.
I wonder if that great man of war personally carries it with him at all times. That stark white, colorless flag of submission.
Is it constantly available tucked inside a pocket? Folded or crammed in the breast of his jacket? Behind hard earned medals of honor and badges of recognition. Is it there, kept safe from bloodshed? Stain free and pristine, pure and untainted. White as snow.
Or is it tattered and torn, wind whipped from past losses.
When he reaches in to take hold of it, can he feel his heart race in his chest…or is it beating slow with the resolve. The resolve to acquiesce. The choice to give in.
End the fight.
I believe I’ve marched through all of them. Those first four of five grief stages. I’ve trampled in and out of each field. Camped out in some, revisited a few, been beaten and battered by the ram of them. It’s been such a painful war, this struggle with grief. In fact, it has almost killed me. For sure, it has left me with deep and seeping wounds. Long and jagged scars. I’ve been shattered to pieces on the field. My head over there, an arm lying here, my chest ripped wide open, yet my heart still beats.
I am battle weary.
The life of my son is now history. All of his days lived and now gone. No amount of fighting will bring him back.
I believe I am resolving that.
The thing about life and time is that it marches forward. Like a valiant soldier, it does not look back. It takes no stock in the loss. It does not set up camp among the dead. It simply buries them and carries on.
I’ve been thinking. About how to get back to living. Stop retreating and move forward.
I believe the victory is in relinquishing the fight.
Accepting that this pain will never end. Reach in for my own white flag.
What bare threads are left of it, anyway.
Truly, the only thing left for me to do