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Sneaker Waves, Stop Signs and Spontaneous Outbursts

Posted on by Jamie

Shortly, after Luke passed away, I was invited to join an Angel mom’s group. These women are amazing. I saw that although our stories are all different, we each have something to offer each other. This group was instrumental in helping me to realize, I am not alone, that my roller coaster of emotions was normal. Not a normal anyone wants to live with, but, normal none the less, to my new reality.

I cried one day to another Angel mom. I told her I was so tired of being spontaneously overwhelmed with the shock of my son being gone and the flood gates that would open with it. It didn’t matter if I was at home or driving down the street, my tears had a mind of their own. This mom told me “That’s what we Angel mom’s call, sneaker waves.”

Sneaker waves swoop over you and send you into spontaneous bursts of emotions bringing you directly into your lowest points. They overwhelm you with shock, disbelief, and confusion. They bring you to the physical and emotional pain that is unique to only those who have lost their child. At times you feel like the pain is so intense that you begin to question why you are still here with this giant hole in your heart that you know you can never fill.

Most of the time these sneaker waves hit you with no warning. I remember one day, I had coffee with a friend. Afterward, I got in my truck, went to start the engine and got stuck. Stuck, being pulled down into the nightmare I was living. I sat there hitting the steering wheel. Yelling at God and praying to him all in the same moment to please take away the pain. I begged him to help me not live in this hell of repeated shock, sorrow, and heartbreak. Eventually I calmed down…. until next time.

There were many times that my family would text amongst ourselves, while we were out just trying to live our lives. These texts would range from “I’m sitting at a stop sign and just broke out into full ugly crying”, to “Just want to let you guys know I love you” or “Do you see that rainbow?” (There was a double rainbow the night of our son’s memorial, so it holds huge significance to us).

The point is that we tried to support each other in our grief. We kept it simple so as not to overwhelm each other. I think sometimes it was just a way to let us remind one another that we aren’t alone in our pain and to also remind us to use the built-in support system God had blessed us with, each other. We have even been known to send each other pictures of our ugliest crying. I know it sounds silly, but it usually gets the current crier out of their wave. We even had a discussion on who was the ugliest crier. The decision was never made, but I think I would have won.

As time has gone on, the sneaker waves have gotten less, but 18 months later, we still get pulled under at times and spiral down back into that dark hopeless place we use to live in.

By sharing this, I hope to help you understand that as you go through your journey of grief, it will at times feel hopeless, you may feel like you are losing your mind. There will be times when you feel like you have your emotions in check, then you drive by your child’s school, or the park you use to take them to, and all control is lost. Or somedays, you may be sitting at a stop sign, and you don’t see it coming but grief rears its ugly head and takes over your emotions.

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