This is what grief looks like

This is what grief looks like

Dear Marcy - 

Thanks to you I will survive the worst tragedy of our lives and wanted to talk about grief because no one knows, or understands, unless they are in it. I hope that no one ever has to experience this, but I know I can’t control that. All I can do is share our experience and hope it helps someone.

Our son, Jackson, died on July 24, 2017 at the age of 24. He died of depression and suicide. That 24 hour day was the worst day of our lives. We were destroyed. We are destroyed. It hurts so bad.

Almost 3 months went by and we were in shock…

On Oct 1, we planted a tree in our back yard and buried Jackson’s ashes with the baby tree. It is a Texas Redbud that is the most beautiful tree in spring. It blooms tiny purple flowers that cover the tree and let you know that spring is here. It is hard to miss. In the summer, its leaves are shaped like hearts. It is an amazing tree. Jackson was an amazing person. 

After this, the suffering phase seemed to begin. We are currently in this phase and it is very, very difficult.

We have our ups and downs. One day we are all sad, the next day we are laughing and having fun. Most days the 4 of us are in different places - sad, tired, cranky, sick, anxious, crying, angry, and happy too. From the outside it is probably hard to understand, unless you are in it. 

The symptoms of grief are physical and emotional. We have seen stomach aches, rashes, backaches, headaches, strep throat, skin infections and general aches and pains so far. I have had a numb tongue and hands, chest pain, lost my ability to taste food, fatigue and insomnia. The emotional and mental problems are even more difficult and confusing. I have felt this feeling of unreality, memory loss, anxiety, sadness/depression, and loss of concentration.

We are currently suffering, but have lots of help and are getting by. We are taking it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. We have some amazing friends and coworkers who we have been able to lean on. Thank you.

The good thing is that my heart did not shatter, the armor around my heart did. So far this has opened me up to be the amazingly strong person I am to survive this and help my husband and children and the rest of our family through this. I am still very fragile, but also feeling strong too sometimes.

Last week, I noticed the Jackson tree was losing its leaves for the winter. But then Rudy told me that the tree was in bloom! AMAZING!! A few tiny purple flowers on the tree. I believe Jackson is letting us know that he is at peace. 

Life here on earth is amazing, but so very painful too. My heart is not used to having no armor, it is very sore. We have a long way to go, but we will survive. 

Love, Katrina

The artwork is a mixed media portrait I drew of Jackson Alexander Benco, my first son.