That word has been floating around in my mind a lot lately: broken. If someone asks me how I feel, that is the most honest response I can think of.
It's not a bad thing -- at least not in my mind. In fact, it seems fitting. When reality deviates this much from our most visceral notions of how things ought to be, it seems only fitting to be broken in response.
Even though my ability to extend myself outward is limited right now, losing Ewan has given me a broader perspective. When I think of all the parents before us and all the parents after us who have or who will have lost a child, it is far, far too much for me to take in. When I consider the collective weight of grief people are bearing, I am amazed that the world does not sink under it.
When I look out at others now, I wonder what they have suffered or who they have lost. I wonder how many times they, like me, have exhausted themselves with grieving.
This happens every day, and I was inoculated from it. I have experienced different kinds of grief and loss in my life, but this one shattered my illusions like nothing else. It took those sterile categories of "grief" and "loss" and obliterated them. It softened my heart. It made me consider other parents who have experienced the complete upside-downness of choosing a twenty-four inch coffin, or who have held a dying child in their arms. It is impossible to fathom: this happens every day.
Losing Ewan taught me that if anything, I wasn't nearly broken enough.
Lord, have mercy.