The Hole Left By Grief

Originally published January 2013.

Just below the surface of a broken heart lies raw emotions that are dormant…waiting to come alive.

Many things can stir those emotions and bring them up to the surface. For my kids, it was the amazing bereavement camp – Comfort Zone Camp – they attended this past weekend that seemed to stir up a lot of different emotions. Not for them I might add, but for myself and the rest of my family as well. Grief can be an ugly thing to have to face. There is no way to sugar coat it. What my kids feel is real and raw. I can’t fix it, take it, get rid of it, or carry it for them. That in itself can be very hard for me as a parent.

We don’t want our kids to hurt. I don’t want my kids to be without their daddy. But they are. He isn’t coming back. It is not like a movie. We can’t hit the rewind button. We can only go forward from here. Learning how to do that is a process. Grief is a journey. What I am about to share in this post may be hard for some to read. It is hard for me to write. It is even harder to live. But I have always believed that God is using our story for something bigger than ourselves. I only hope that it only encourages others on their own unique journey of grief.

It seems that camp stirred up a lot of different things for each of us. For my son, Ryan, it stirred up more of his anger. He has been the angriest since his dad’s death. Totally understandable! But I want to help him learn how to overcome the anger so that it doesn’t overcome him. I don’t want him to grow up to be an angry man, husband, and father. Anger is like a cancer that can slowly eat away at you. I don’t have all the answers, but I am trying to learn how to help him on this journey.

I am angry too. I am angry that my husband Erik died so young. I am angry that my kids have to grow up without their father. I am angry that Erik is no longer on this earth. He was such a good man; a good friend, a good worker, a good husband, a good father. When I see how his death has hurt my kids, I am angry! But I must learn how to not let my anger rule over me. It takes time. It doesn’t go away with the snap of a finger. One thing I have discovered is that grief is never-ending. It will never go away. It will always be there in some form in our lives. It is a hole that can never be filled.

That brings me to my next point: “The Hole.”  It’s the empty space that remains where Erik used to be. Valerie, my young daughter, is the one who came up with this picture. She is wise beyond her years and never ceases to amaze me. God continues to use her in my life to help me on my journey. No matter what it is we are doing in this life, Erik will never again physically be there to be a part of it. That reality breaks my heart. Allow me to share from my Facebook page:

Wrote this song and/or poem as I ponder something Valerie said to me recently. When talking about her new life, now that her precious daddy is gone, she talked about there being sad in everything. And then she said that there was a hole in everything without him. In her words,” We can go to Canobie Lake Park, but Daddy isn’t there to have fun with us, and we can laugh, but he isn’t here to laugh with us.” Those words just about shattered my heart. I hate that my kids must endure this pain the rest of their lives. The pain I feel in my heart for them is so overwhelming. Grief is a journey that is full of ups and downs and bumps and bruises. It doesn’t get easier; you just learn how to live with it (if that’s possible). I never thought this would happen to my family.

There’s a hole in my heart

It’s been here since you went away

Nothing seems to be able to fill it up

Just have to learn to live with it every day

We can laugh

But you won’t be there to laugh with us

We can play

But you won’t be there to join us

We can cry

But you won’t be there to hold us

We can learn

But you won’t be there to teach us

We can live

But you won’t be there to see us

There’s a hole in everything

Nothing’s as it used to be

There’s still a me but there’s no you

How can I ever make it through?

There’s a hole in everything I do

The truth is, the hole will never go away. At games, graduations, weddings, funerals, amusement parks, birthday parties, football games, movies, whatever.  Erik will NEVER be there to experience it with us! He won’t be in any of the photographs. He won’t walk Valerie down the aisle or hold her in his arms for their dance. How do you get through that? I am not sure. I don’t have all the answers. We will face those milestones as they come. We will face them together and with support from God, friends, and family.  That is all we can do.

The days following camp have been hard on my son, Dan, as well. Last night he just couldn’t stop crying. My heart aches for him. He is so sweet and caring. His heart is so tender. He has been having a rough streak in baseball and it has really taken a toll on him. He has also been struggling with school. Academically he is doing so amazingly well.  But the garbage and filth that surrounds him there is really bothering him. All the swearing from kids and kids teasing him for just being Dan really upsets me. You see in 7th grade I guess it isn’t “cool” to be nice to girls or to autistic kids. I am so proud of who Daniel is! I am proud that he is nice to everyone. I hate that other kids try to make him feel bad about the wonderful person he is.  Add grief to that, and it’s a tricky path to walk.

I am sad for “The Hole” that still remains. It is in my heart and in my life as well. I have never stopped missing or loving Erik. I never will. There will always be a hole in my life without him. This is my journey on learning how to live with that, and how to help my kids as they learn how to live through their own grief.

I will be honest and say that it has been a rough road for my kids. They have had so much change in such a short amount of time. So much is different now. I know that they miss their old lives. I know that they miss their dad every moment of every day, even when they aren’t saying it out loud. They will always miss him, and I will never try to tell them to stop missing him.

Now we are faced with learning how to deal with what is in front of us. This new life is not one we chose, but it is the life we have to live now.  It has not been an easy journey. I am thankful that Comfort Zone Camp was able to give the kids (and me) permission to feel these emotions so that we can embrace them and learn how to deal with them.  I am glad that we now know we can grieve and grow as a family, and find new ways to heal.

Samantha Sage is a proud mom and wife, as well as a widow. She writes about her journey following the death of her first husband on her blog.

Photo Credit.

22 Comments:

  1. Rachel said on January 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm ... #

    Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. Iris Arenson-Fuller said on January 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm ... #

    This is an honest, heartfelt and sad piece by Samantha. I was widowed in my 30’s many years ago and felt many of the things she described, as did my kids. You are right, Samantha, that this hole will always be there, but you will slowly carve out paths around the hole that will take you to new and eventually more happy places. You will revisit this hole, true, and tears and sadness will hit you when you least expect them, but there will come a time when you may even go to revisit this hole in order to feel the fullness of the memories Eric has left for you and you will learn to leave it behind till you are ready to visit it again.

    I wish you peace and comfort and know firsthand that healing and recovery do happen, though we can’t ignore the necessary grief and even the anger, as they are part of our journey.

  3. Maggie said on January 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm ... #

    Why is it my ear Sam that you can put down words that I can only feel. You are one of a kind. My daughter was lucky to have a friend like you. I am glad she brought us together to share in our journeys..different but..the same.

  4. Maggie said on January 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm ... #

    Why is it my dear Sam that you can put down words that I can only feel. You are one of a kind. My daughter was lucky to have a friend like you. I am glad she brought us together to share in our journeys..different but..the same.

  5. Sandra Hardin said on January 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm ... #

    I am sorry for your family. Going on three years now of losing my son. I do not think we ever get over it through it. It is just how we handle it day to day. Some days okay. Other days horrible. Forever there will be a hole in my hehart for the grief of my son, as I know h.is cildren also feel. Oh if I could have just fixed that cancer. If I could have made him well. I miss you so much Ken. Love, mom

  6. robin watts said on January 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm ... #

    I read your poem and it made me cry I lost my husband in 1993 of a fall from a three story building I have three kids tbey were just babies at The time its a hard life when you lose that soulmate thankyou for sharing

  7. Debbie said on January 26, 2013 at 11:31 am ... #

    Thank you, I am glad I read your note & daughter’s poem. My 32 yr old daughter died 2 yrs ago in April. Cannot believe it will be 2 yrs?? Her daughter 14 lives with us and it only now coming to terms and dealing in grief. It has taken this long for her to accept this event of losing her mom forever.
    I like the comment of revisiting the hole left behind. Yes, we need to go into that space and remember and be sad. It brings you comfort as it your heart crying out to your loved one and this should not be denied.

  8. Rose said on January 27, 2013 at 8:07 am ... #

    Very consoling to read what others feel re grief.I lost my son age 35 to cancer 13yrs ago, the void in ones heart will always be there but time does help to heal that & especially as one have Grandkidsthey make life worth living!! I am now age 78 & facing the loss of my onlydaughter to B cancer leaving an 8yr son. T God for Faith its my only consolation.. Sorrow shared is sorrow halved!! May God comfort us all…

  9. Rose said on January 27, 2013 at 8:09 am ... #

    Very consoling to read what others feel re grief.I lost my son age 35 to cancer 13yrs ago, the void in ones heart will always be there but time does help to heal that & especially as one have Grandkidsthey make life worth living!! I am now age 78 & facing the loss of my onlydaughter to B cancer leaving an 8yr son. T God for Faith its my only consolation. may God Bless & comfort us all..

  10. Claire Au said on January 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm ... #

    Finally!!! A woman/mom grieving in an almost identical way… Thank you so much – you understand and you put it in writing for all to read. No one can fully understand the depth of the ache and the frustration of not being able to “reverse” it and fix that hole.

  11. Samantha Sage said on January 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm ... #

    Claire Au…
    I am glad that my words spoke to you…. it is so true than unless you have lived it… you just don’t understand it… I am sorry that you must walk on a grief journey of your own….

  12. Pam said on February 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm ... #

    my heart aches for you and your children and i am sad for your loss.

    thank you for putting in print what i’ve felt in my heart for almost 21 months since the death of my 19 year old son…. the hole that seems to touch every single part of life. as i walk with his brother, now 16, through this loss… the pain i feel for him is almost overwhelming.

    blessings to all who have lost – and that is all of us. <3

  13. Ed said on February 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm ... #

    I lost my wife of 42yrs in April and it was not too difficult at first.We thought she was beating the cancer but suddenly she was gone during the night.After 6 mths it hits you and little things I “coulda,shoulda done” are there.The poem helps me and others and the hole will always be there as you said.THANK YOU and your daughter who IS wise beyond her years.GOD BLESS.

  14. TJ said on February 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm ... #

    I really felt less alone after reading over your site.
    I lost my boyfriend of 10 years just 6 weeks ago, we have a 2 year old and I have a lot of anger towards how we will both live without him.
    It’s hard to put into words all the feelings I have very minute that goes by.
    How will I survive this… Who’s going to take care of us and love us like he did.
    Mostly why something so tragic could happen to someone so young (he just turned 30) we had our entire life ahead of us, wedding in March… Plans for what was the beginning of our life.
    Reading you thoughts and feelings really makes me feel better!
    Like I know things might never get better but easier and a new kind of normal…
    I still have a long road ahead of me but I know I’m not alone… That make me feel safe and a little at peace! So thank you :)

  15. FRANKIE BRIDGES said on February 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm ... #

    HI I AM REALLY GLAD I FOUND THIS SITE TODAY.THANKS SHELLI FOR BEING MY FIRST FRIEND.IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU AND YOUR BROTHER LOVED EACH OTHER ALOT. HANG ONTO THAT LOVE .THIS WILL NOT REALLY HELP BUT HE IS WITH YOU IN EVERYTHING YOU DO.MY DADDY IS MY GUARDIAN ANGEL AND YOUR BROTHER IS YOURS.

  16. Michele Palmer said on February 27, 2013 at 9:32 am ... #

    Thank you for writing this Samantha, I just lost my husband and your poem expressed all my feelings so well! My heart aches most for what my kids have to deal with for the rest of their lives!

  17. Jen said on March 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm ... #

    Although this website is revealing the hardest losses we have all endured, it is filling a hole in my heart to know I’m not alone. Thank you Sam for sharing your story. I lost my husband almost 6 years ago when my son was 2 and daughter was 7 weeks old. I believe time has healed my anger for the whole situation, but now my son is struggling with what his place is being the only boy in the family, wanting to know when he is going to get a new daddy, i think he believes if he gets a father figure everything will be better. Living in a town where 99% of the families he knows are traditional nuclear families, and recognizing how he is different, not having a dad is hitting him really hard. We are doing family therapy so he and i can communicate better, and hopefully reveal where this anger towards me is. Being mom and dad the weight falls on my shoulders, and although people can say they feel like a single parent because their their husbands travel or work a lot, its frustrating because they really have no idea, but you all understand the weight you carry to such a major loss. Thank you for letting me share

  18. Laura said on April 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm ... #

    I know that hole. My husband died in a car accident three and a half years ago. It was 5 days before our son’s 11th birthday. In many ways our life today is filled with blessings. My son, now 14, is doing great, thanks to Comfort Zone Camp and an amazing community of loving friends. I’ve worked really hard to help him move through his grief and am endlessly amazed at his wisdom, insight and emotional resilience. We are ok but the hole is there. Most often I’m aware of it when I feel overwhelmed by all I have to do by myself to keep our family going. At those times I think of the tasks my husband used to do and how I have to do them now or they don’t get done (as is often the case). Then I get mad at myself because I can’t do it all. It’s emotionally safest for me to think this way. It keeps me from really missing him, the man, my partner in life and love. The hole is so much larger and deeper than household chores that don’t get done. It’s my son playing his guitar in the other room without his father listening, me doing the dishes alone when he and I used to do them together and all the other everyday pleasures and pains we shared for 19 years. In our family we sing, we laugh, we cry. Life goes on and we miss him so much.

  19. Faisal Rehman said on April 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm ... #

    What if one does not want to accept a life with that ’empty hole’… It is complete emptiness…Why doesn’t God realize this.. its just too painful to loose someone that truly means something to you… You can never come over it, if you have truly been attached to that person..

  20. Fermiah said on August 20, 2013 at 10:38 am ... #

    I can’t imagine that l lost my father at 10 that was the worst thing in my whole life

  21. Judy said on April 11, 2014 at 12:32 am ... #

    I read your story, I can’t stand the pain I feel, it is just like yours. My son died one week ago today. He left behind a wife and two children. I feel they are lost and will never be found. My sons wife is quiet and not strong. He was the force in their marriage. The kids were awesome students and they laughed and played together as a family. It is gone, and I don’t see mom, making a new life for them. I am so frightened. I can’t stand the loss of my son, but if I lose my grandkids, I mean by not allowing them to meet their full potential, I know it will kill me. Why would The Lord take their dad, the one who made sure they were happy and did their very best. I have never been more scared in my life.

  22. cherri said on March 3, 2015 at 4:49 am ... #

    i am so sorry for your loss. i lost my dad two years ago and it has been very hard. i too have a belief in a creator – but i don’t think of Him as a taker of lives, but rather as a restorer.
    it says in Acts 24:15 “And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous”
    The Holy Bible gives us a clear hope for the future, of seeing our loved ones again. This hope is “an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm” Hebrews 6:19
    My hope is that you can find comfort and a hope for the future from the Bible, which has real answers for us. All the best to you and your family

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