.... which really isn't newsworthy (or blog-worthy) in and of itself.
But I think that all of you will understand why I felt the need to write about it .... and to show it to you:
Looks like a simple enough t-shirt, right? Other than the fact that there's a heart on it, which gives me mixed feelings.
Mostly because I haven't visualized my heart looking like that.
Not in a very long time.
This is how I feel my heart has looked since the end of 2007:
Yep, for the last 3 1/2 years my heart has felt like a gigantic piece of it is missing. A gigantic piece that held Jim. And now that he's gone, that gigantic, heart-shaped piece is gone.
But the funny thing is, he is still held by my heart.
And he always will.
So while my heart may feel broken .... shattered into a million pieces .... the reality is that it is whole.
It hurts, yes .... to be sure, but it is whole.
I haven't always felt that way these past 3 years. In fact, it's a rather new-ish development. Because I now know something that I once knew, but had forgotten.
Grief tends to do that to a person.
Makes them forget ..... a lot of things.
Or is that just me? ( :) )
When I was pregnant with our first child, I never imagined how much love I would feel for her when she was born. Yes, I loved her while I was pregnant but please ..... that is nothing compared to the love that fills your heart the moment you look into those eyes.
The instant I looked at her, counted her fingers and toes, stared at the tininess of perfection ..... and looked into her eyes, my heart doubled in size.
I could actually feel it growing, day by day those first weeks.
And then we became pregnant with number 2. Which, at five months, turned out to be 2 and 3, but that's a whole 'nother story!
From the moment I found out I was pregnant that second time .... I worried.
Not about the baby's/ie's health. Not about my health.
But about my heart.
I knew there was no way I could love another child as much as I loved that first one.
It was not physically, or emotionally, possible.
So I worried. A lot.
And then the day came when I saw those two precious babies. The day I counted their fingers and toes and was amazed at their tiny perfection.
And then I looked into their eyes ..... and felt my heart beat a strong and extra beat.
It had happened.
My heart had grown in size.
And I was amazed.
I am still amazed at the way a heart can instantly grow and hold more love.
It is nothing short of a miracle.
And as soon as I remembered that lesson, I knew that my heart was still whole.
Yes it was bruised, cracked .... and in much need of repair, but it was, and still is, whole.
Jim's love will never, ever be gone from my heart.
I carry him, and that love, with me wherever I go.
And with whomever I'm with.
No, there's not anyone in my life at the moment (not in that way), but I know that my heart is a lot stronger and flexible than I thought it was. So if that day ever comes, I know that my heart will grow again.
It won't rid itself of Jim's love in order to make more room.
It will just .... grow.
So I bought that shirt today.
And just in case you couldn't see it closely ...... here's another view:
It's taken me a while, but I can definitely wear that t-shirt and mean it.
Not every day.
Not every moment.
Not all of the time.
But life is ..... mostly good now.
Which is a bit ironic, because this is the t-shirt I was wearing when I bought it:
This shows how I've felt, mostly, over the past 3 years. And I still do .... sometimes.
I have looked up towards the sky too many times to count and asked/yelled, "SERIOUSLY??!!"
And I'm sure I always will.
But most of the time, I hope that I think .... life is good.
I know that Jim would want me to think that.
He would also agree with the fine print on that new t-shirt.
The writing that I didn't notice until I took it out to take a picture of it for you.
It's on the bottom right of the first picture.
In case you can't make it out ..... here it is:
And I am.
After a very, very long time.
After a journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death .... which I barely lived through.
Which I didn't want to live through.
But here I am .... doing something that I love doing, communicating with, and supporting other widowed people, letting them (you) know that you, too ..... will be here one day.
Yes, I do .... and yes, you will.
And I hope that one day you will be able to know that .....
Life is good.