The layers, the textures, of grief shift and change, deepen. The shock wears off and we are faced with this new reality. Still hard to believe.
I’ve heard it described as ‘surreal,’ this life after death, and so it is. This existence that no longer resembles the past, though it feels like it should. In this inexplicable parallel universe, it is as if out of the corner of my eye, I can see that other life. I can catch glimpses of it when I’m not looking.
– Mike sitting in his chair doing his crossword puzzles, while I do my morning pages on the couch.
– Our evening strolls, arm in arm, to the corner grocery store where he would buy an ice cream sandwich and I, rather than buy my own, would steal nibbles of his as we walked home.
– His ritual of recording five or even six soccer games each morning to watch over the weekend, while I continued to struggle to distinguish one team from the other.
But when I look again, the chair is empty, the television silent, and I don’t walk to the grocery store in the evenings any more.
Is it better to remember or less painful to forget…. ?
I don’t know yet.
There are days, still, when I literally don’t know how to breathe – great big gasping breaths that can’t seem to fill my lungs. But every now and then there are also moments when I laugh, deep belly laughs, I’d forgotten I could.
In the past couple of weeks there have been several days in a row when I didn’t cry at all, though I often more than made up for it afterwards.
And there are new conversations now that don’t always begin with “I lost my husband a few days / weeks / months… ago.”
So I see it, feel it, the river that flows on, endlessly, even as I hug the banks in safety. The rest of the world racing forward.
At times there is the odd temptation to give in,
- Get pulled along with the current,
- Get back to ‘normal,’
- Get (lost) in busy,
- Get (numb) in doing,
- Get on with it, already.
Do I think I will leave the pain behind that way?
At other times there is a mean voice that whispers I’m lazy, indulgent, self-involved. It’s been three months already, get over it, get on with it. Life goes on.
And I have to catch myself gently, letting that voice roll over me. Each of us has our unique way through loss and grief, and for me rushing back into activity and busyness is not what I need at this time. Rather I am trusting that this is a time for going under, sinking beneath the waves, curling up in the comfort of the dark soil, to let the healing continue. I see that this journey I am on will take me in rather than out and I will learn to listen, hear, heed my own voice more than I have ever before.
So I continue to move slowly, following impulses: writing, moving, cooking, crying, breathing. My house has never been so clean. Trusting that when the time is ripe I will know it, and will emerge from winter into spring.
Because, yes, life does go on.
To your journey