Terrylene shares the profound grief she experienced upon her son’s death.
For me, grief was a foreign word until it comes crashing down on my life. In human being experience and life milestones such as finding love, getting married, first day of school. Grief is part of human being milestones. Grief cannot and will not escape humanity. My world now slashed by a butcher knife, forever disfigured inside. An unknown and uninvited guest moved in with me. And her name was Grief. All my strength drained out as depression sets in. Remembering Gio, my beautiful son. I was going to go out to search for him again.
But the hands kept pushing me back from the door, I am trying to get past to the door to find him. I am looking for him. The policewoman hands kept stopping me. Then it dawned on me, I asked… Is my son. Gone to heaven? (Gesturing). Her head nodded.
I lost it, I was gone. She kept trying to have me seat. I sat down but then I got right up. I have gone insane. My body was all over the place, leaning down then up. Pacing around non sensible, right, left, up, down, circling. Nothing made sense to me. I did nothing sensible. I was just moving, searching all around. I was looking for a way to connect with him again. Then I saw a window, searching to connect with my son, my hands called out! I kept signing. Dark grey clouds, drizzle rain that wouldn’t go away, leaves moving relentlessly in the chilly breeze. “Archangel Michael!”, my hands called out! “Why didn’t you protect my son? My daddy kneeled and prayed to you.” I saw him asking you to protect my baby son for the rest of his life. You didn’t protect him.” “Gio, where are you?” I signed nonsensibly. Suddenly, the insanity was gone. I looked around the room. There were policemen scrambling in my living room. I told them to get out of my place. I did not want my nine-year-old daughter to wake up to this and become traumatized.
I hurriedly kicked them all out, shut the door. And the room was all quiet and empty. Time was ticking as she is about to wake. What do I tell her? Your brother has crossed over. Depression stole his life. It engulfed his mind, his body and his soul. How do I protect her from this violent news? My return to sane from insanity was due to my daughter. I am grateful to her for saving my life. In my sane, I thought, what do I do? I felt this presence settling in. Grace embraced me. I have never felt anything like that. All the help that quickly came for me. Friends and family. All the help that quickly came for me. Was I easier to help? Help my son! He needed you. He needed you the most. All my strength drained out. I was wiped out. I was forgetful. I had no memory. Shocked. I could not focus on anything. In this mindless emptiness. I remember two things that happened. A friend who took the time to put vitamin in my mouth. This simple act woke my body to healing. The light bulb went on in my wholeness system. I remembered how I always took care of myself. This self care skills were absent in my life. I realized I have fallen in deep depression. I had to do something to climb back. This was one of the first thing that flickered the “self care” back into my system. The second thing I did for myself was. When someone asked, “Is there anything I can do?” Lost in my abyss world, I would remember the day to say. “Call me on Monday.” Then the next person, “Call me on Tuesday.” Then the next person, “Call me on Wednesday.” Whomever kept their word, called me back. I would force myself to connect. I would force myself to chat. I would force myself to ask them, to take me out for coffee/tea time. Take me out for a walk. It took all of me to get up. It was a total work out to even dress up for just a small event of the day. It was tiring. Somehow over time, my life regenerated bit by bit, returning to normalcy and the society. Since grief absorbed me, living close by like a bay. When the wind come, the wave would rise. It would come and go whenever. Sometimes the wave come unexpectedly. I am forgetful all over again. I could not focus on anything. I make more mistakes. So I remember to rest, to honor myself. I pick up myself again. The cycle starts all over again from time to time. My comfort sin the knowing that I am not alone. Grief comes knocking other doors. I empathize in others’ loss and their pain. I hold compassion for us all. Thank you Deaf Counseling Center for asking me to share with you.
(video description: Terrylene is a light-skinned woman wearing a sleeveless top, standing in front of two paintings and signing.)