You Can’t Force The Process

We are all processing something. Life IS a process and death is a process. Losing my son and grieving has been my biggest process so far. You see, no two people grieve the same, as there isn’t a one size fits all solution. In fact, there isn’t a “solution”! Grief isn’t a problem to be solved, it’s more of a “state of mind” or “way of being” I am learning to accept. 

There are times that I imagine Dillon is away on a trip and will come walking through the door at any time. There are some days when it’s easier to picture that he has moved to a far away location or he’s traveling around the world. I like to think that he is off having fun somewhere hiking, camping, fishing, and hanging out with friends. (He actually is, in a different sort of way, but I’ll save that for another blog). For a few short minutes while I am day-dreaming, it gives me some relief from my pain. Sometimes I just need a break, and that’s completely OK! If a thought can bring some light for a few moments when you are going through darkness then don’t push it away, embrace it! The reality of Dillon’s death is always lurking just around the corner and I eventually have to accept that he is not going to walk through the front door.

It’s similar to telling your friends that everything is “fine”, “great”, “wonderful” when things in your life may actually not be as pretty as the picture you posted on IG or FB. I don’t find any harm in imagining or pretending that things are different momentarily, however removing the filter and learning to come from a space of authenticity is when we start to grow. I don’t want to reject the reality I’ve been given and I do want to grow as a person from ALL my experiences. In order to do that, I have to trust the challenge that lies ahead and learn to embrace all of my feelings. 

Depression has definitely been part of my grief . I wouldn’t say that I am suicidal, but there were definitely days I hated waking up every morning and didn’t want to live with the reality that I had been handed. I didn’t want to face the day and most of the time I just wanted to sleep. I hated listening to people talk and so desperately wanted to hit the “pause” button on life. If cryo-freezing was an option for me, I would have done it. Although I realize now, that I would have just been delaying my process. There isn’t a “skip” or “fast forward” button to life. We have to go through the tough shit, and it can’t be rushed.

There are days that I still ask “why?” and feel sorry for myself… that’s ok too. I’m allowed all of it. I’m allowed sadness, anger, depression… I’m also allowed happiness, love, and joy. In the beginning I thought grief meant a life long state of extreme sadness. I couldn’t imagine ever experiencing happiness, let alone joy, ever again. The first time I felt a glimpse of happiness it was followed immediately by guilt. How could I possibly have any kind of joy! My son was killed and I allowed myself to feel happy?? Shame on me!.. or so I thought. 

With many hours of talk therapy, meditation, acupuncture, support groups, and hypno-therapy I am beginning to embrace that the only thing I can control are my thoughts. It’s my choice if I want to stay in my “funk” and lash out in anger. It’s my choice if I want to be depressed and stay in bed all day. It’s also my choice to pick myself up and find the joy in life. No one can help me with this, it’s something I have to choose. I have to choose to change my thought process. It can be so easy to go down into that deep, dark hole and wallow in my own self pity. It has taken me strength, courage, and vulnerability to feel joy again. It has taken a shift in my thoughts about death and what happens when we die. It often takes a conscious effort to shift the direction I’m heading and the mood I embrace for the day.

Grief is not an easy process and it can’t be forced. It’s a twisting roller coaster ride and I never know when to expect the next turn. Grief is an ongoing, life long process that I am learning to accept and dare I say even embrace. It’s the cards I’ve been dealt and I’m choosing to stay in this game and play my hand.

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I have so many thoughts running around in my head that I need to let out. I have what I call a “monkey mind”. My monkey climbs from branch to branch and then swings from tree to tree. Sometimes starting in one grove and ending in another. The only way I can seem to find my way out of the jungle is to write. To write and have others witness. I hope you will ask questions and share your own experiences after reading this blog. This process can’t be forced, but it does feel good to know I’m not alone.

All my love,



  1. Thank you, thank you, for your beautiful blog. Everything you mentioned, struck a chord with me. Even tho our situations are different, they are also similar, as I lost my son also.
    I received your blog through my friend Lynn.

    1. Marlene: thank you so much for your response. I’m new to this blog thing so don’t always find the responses in a timely manner. I’m happy to hear that Lynn has shared my blog with you and at the same time I’m so sorry to hear that we have this great loss in common. Thank you for reading and responding.

  2. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your journey as you have chosen life again in the midst of grief for your loss of your son. We, too, have lost a son in an accident and are “ambushed” every now and then with grief. Your well-crafted blog reminds us that we never “get over” our grief but must choose to live with it and continue to focus on joy and blessings when we can muster the courage. It has been helpful to have you share your perspectives and choices for refocusing after the death of a beloved son.

    1. Elly: I’m so sorry to hear that we have this connection, however, I find relief in my connections to my “sister-moms”. If ever you want to talk, Lynn has my contact information. Thank you for reading and responding. -Mary

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