I got permission to share part of a post from a mom in my GRASP (grief after substance passing) group. Thought she did a good job describing what many mom's go through. Hopefully it will help if you run into others like us.
From GRASP....My head knows that my son has been gone for almost 10 months now. I've been dealing with the pain every day, but today was different. All of a sudden my heart said, "Oh my God, Derik Lawley is really gone. I will never hear him laugh again." Then I had a full blown panic attack. I started crying. I had to pull the car into a parking lot. My chest was tight. I couldn't breath. What the hell happened? Am I going crazy? Maybe it was because it was a beautiful day and I opened my sunroof. I remember the day before he died riding with him in the car and him sticking his hand out of the sunroof feeling the air between his fingers........He was so fun to be around. Maybe I finally realized that as his mother I am to blame. I should have kept him safe. It was my job—the contract I signed when i had children. We are entrusted with the job to teach them to be good to others and value themselves. I failed on both counts. I have tried not to blame myself but I guess it's a delayed reaction. Maybe it was because the weather was so warm today and I remember the day he died and knowing he had been in the hot sun all day before someone finally found him. I knew that too though. None of this is new. What happened? I really think I've lost it.
My response to this mom.....
I am so sorry for your heartache. Here are my humble thoughts and response to your question "What happened?" Yes the sun, the warmth, the sunroof, the beauty of the memory.....that is what happened. It is all so hard. It is what forms who we are in the new normal. The normal had a huge void. That very void was the life of a person who had thoughts, words, expressions, dreams, hopes, and the void had an illness that took up space. I like to think that after the tragic death of our son or daughter we enlarge into that damn new normal. Our mind now feels responsible to remember everything. The energy that we felt in being responsible to keep them safe has to go somewhere too. The courage that it takes to get up knowing your child died in a away that completely confuses most people has to go somewhere. Our love and joy in who they were in our lives requires space. Our hopes and dreams for the life they could have had needs a place. When my heart is coming out of my chest from the anxiety the a tragic death brings.....I tell myself "it is your heart making room to carry the part of Erik that is now gone." I carried him for nine months.....now I carry him until I see him again. I would love to see a photo. Here is my son. Gone 22 months on 3-1-16.