When Love and Sorrow Collide

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When Love and Sorrow Collide

This week’s post is about mourning as a bereaved mom, a more sensitive topic. I would therefore recommend that you might want to be in a certain mood to read this post. Although it’s not an easy topic, I think it’s important for people to understand how we feel in mourning. So I encourage you to read it at some point, even if it’s not right away. It can help to better understand those who are grieving, and therefore, to better support them. Thanks for reading.

Yesterday I had an urge to draw my heart. My heart is full of all kinds of emotions, but in large part, this panoply of emotions come from two principal sources; the feeling of love and the feeling of sorrow.

The left part represents the love that reigns in my heart. As you can see in the drawing, this love is solid, intact, soft, smooth, and even shiny. This is the love I have for my family, my children. This love allows me to continue and survive. When I miss Zackaël, that part of my heart calls out to me. Love is present and I think of him. There are plenty of moments in a day when I miss Zackaël. I don’t know how many times I think about him during a day, but I can say that it’s almost all the time.

Drawing of a broken heart: “When Love and Sorrow Collide”
“When Love and Sorrow Collide” – Coloured pencils – December 2020 – Brigitte Lehoux (Grieving Maman)

However, there are times when my love overpowers me; I miss him so much that I need to see more. I have to do more than talk or write about him. I have to see more than his plaque outside. I have to see more than his room which is empty. I have to see more than his photos in the living room. I need to see more than what I’m used to seeing. When we always see the same photos, you kind of become “immune” to them and the emotions and memories they represent. I am so used to seeing them that my heart has hardened over time and I am therefore able to deal with my emotions when looking at them.

But often when I suddenly want to see my sweet Zackaël, my heart is unsatisfied and wants more. So I choose to look at other photos. It is usually when looking at one or two photos that this urge appears, that is, the urge to see more. I can’t help it … I love him too much, he is too beautiful. This urge can manifest itself without even looking at pictures. I miss him so much that I have to open the computer or the phone.

At first, my heart is solid as love dominates. I want to see him, I miss him, so looking at pictures makes me feel good. This all represents the left side of my heart. I continue to look at his photos. Gradually, I become overwhelmed and need to see more. I want to hear his voice, see his movements and his smile, I am in my own world… a world where Zackaël is still with us.

By now I’m well aware of the risk associated with looking at more pictures. But I can’t stop, my heart wants more. I, therefore, keep opening more, sometimes even a video. Be careful maman Brigitte, it’s risky. Is my heart capable of it?

The two parts of my heart are now colliding, a battle of conflicting emotions. It doesn’t take long for the right part of my heart to suddenly take over. Sadness comes in full force, it is stronger and overpowers the love. We are now on the right side of my drawing.

My love has been converted into sadness. In my drawing, we can even see a (subtle) arrow in the middle which denotes this conversion. I would even say that my love was crushed by sadness. Once again, the sorrow has surfaced and I burst into tears. It’s the victory of sorrow, it has beaten love. I feel defeated. My heart hurts. There was already a big hole in my heart and lots of broken pieces, but now my heart is bleeding. I have to stop looking at the pictures, I can’t take it anymore.

This is an excerpt from my journal (dated April 2020) that describes how I feel when this happens. My journal is in French, but basically, I’m saying how torn I feel and how painful it can be when I decide to look at a video.

Grieving Mother Journal – by Brigitte L. (page 1 of 2)
Grieving Mother Journal – by Brigitte L. (page 1 of 2)

This conflict has been persisting for a year. Either I miss Zackaël and therefore want to see him, or I “see” him and cry my heart out. It is very paradoxical. My heart is never intact, there is always a hole, and on either side the two emotions collide. This is the heart of a bereaved parent … at least my heart as a bereaved mother. I hope this heart (my heart) will transform. I hope the black on the right side starts to fade. I hope the cracks will repair. I hope it can be even and completely smooth and shiny. I hope it will soon stop bleeding so much.

That’s it for now. Thank you to have read this post.
If you’ve lost someone special in the past, was it hard for you to look at several pictures at a time?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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19 responses to “When Love and Sorrow Collide”

  1. Elizabeth Pilz Avatar
    Elizabeth Pilz

    Dear Brigitte, Your picture and your words mean so much. I do the same thing but I could not have expressed myself so eloquently. I hope you know how much you are helping others as you share your thoughts and feelings. Thank you. Take care.

  2. […] and his photos on this blog, but it’s not easy. As some of you know, I am often caught in a battle of emotions.For today, I’m going to share a poem I wrote last spring. The original language of the poem […]

  3. Annie Avatar

    Je ne pourrai jamais imaginer ta douleur, mais tu l’exprimes si bien…Je peux ressentir tout le mal dans ton coeur… Tellement touchant 🙁

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      merci beaucoup Annie et de lire mes publications

  4. Laura Barron Avatar
    Laura Barron

    This was so unbelievably beautiful yet so heart breaking at the same time. I felt the emotions with you while reading it. You are all so strong in my eyes. Sending thoughts and love to you all, always. ❤️

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      Thank you again Laura for your message ❤️. Love you you guys as well.

  5. Melissa Avatar

    Bonjour Brigitte, on ne se connaît pas mais votre histoire nous a terriblement touché. En tant que maman d’enfants d’âge similaires, mon cœur déchire. En tant que professionnelle de la santé, ton blogue m’inspire et m’aide à comprendre le point de vue du patient endeuillé et je t’en remercie. La candeur de tes témoignages va aider beaucoup de gens. Merci.
    (PS: notre petite était bien heureuse de retrouver Adelie à la garderie, nous sommes tellement heureux D’entendre ses progrès!)

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      Merci beaucoup Melissa pour ton commentaire. Je suis ravie de lire ton message que mon blogue pourrait aider. N’hésite pas à partager l’adresse du blogue à qui que ce soit. Adélie adore tellement la garderie et ses amis! Quel est le nom de ta petite (tu peux l’écrire en privé si tu aimes mieux)?

      1. Melissa Avatar

        Merci! C’est Ellie 🙂

  6. denverft Avatar

    Wow Brigitte. You are such a great writer and artist. Your picture says more than words ever could. So touching, emotional, and devastating, and very brave of you to share. 💚

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      thanks so much Denver for your kind words, it’s really appreciated

  7. Renee Avatar

    Such beautiful writing, so touching and also gut wrenching. I have so much respect for how open and honest you have been, allowing us into your world through your written words. Lots of love to you. ! 💚

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      thank you Renée, it means a lot. Over the years, I’ve realized that being open is always best. People prefer real and I will be real. I also hope it can help other grievers or people to understand how we feel.

  8. Fatou Avatar

    Votre publication m’a coupé le souffle
    Vous êtes une femme, une mère très forte even if it didn’t feel that way right now
    Elle est très courageuse votre publication et je suis sure que cela va aider beaucoup de parents qui vivent la même douleur.
    Je pense que la seule chose en commun dont prie chaque parent c’est de n’a à avoir à vivre cela!
    Mon cœur pleure pour vous ce soir
    Pour avoir perdu une personne très chère et avoir mis longtemps à m’en remettre – Je ne peux même pas imaginer votre douleur – Je pense que avec le temps La douleur s’estompe et le côté sombre disparaît progressivement mais le souvenir reste intact et bientôt Vous sourirez en pensant à Zack comme l’appelais Yacine, et le côté sombre se sera éloigné.

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      merci beaucoup pour votre message et les beaux mots. Merci aussi de lire mon blogue. Je planifie aussi de parler de Zackaël bientôt (Zack pour Yacine :-))

  9. Tanya Avatar

    You’ve captured the feeling well. I lost my son near the midway mark of pregnancy — a ‘missed miscarriage’. Not the same as losing a child you’ve lived and lived with for years, but the grief is as you’ve described. I only have a few photos of my son’s body from the days before he was cremated, and they bring both gratitude and sadness, even years later. I’m not sure you ever really heal from the loss of a child, but maybe you learn to live with it in a way that allows your remaining life blessings to be at the forefront of your thoughts. I wish that for you.

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      thank you Tanya for sharing your experience and how you felt as well.

  10. engagedbelles Avatar

    So beautifully written . I cried my eyes out reading your post . Hugs

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      thank you so much

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