Resurrection is the theme of the day for Christians everywhere. But whether this day is a religious celebration for you, or a bunny hop, or just another Sunday...those of us who grieve have a unique knowledge of the experience of death and resurrection.
Because when our loved one died, we did too. The person who did not know what living in a nightmare while awake was like, died. The person who could not imagine a life without their partner, died. The person who never cried more tears than they imagined existed, died. The person whose life was once filled with the daily ups and downs of being a part of a couple died to the pain of wishing for just one more regular day with someone who is never coming home.
The death of myself through the process of losing Phil changed so many things about my personality that for a long time I didn't recognize myself. I wondered many times if the girl I once was would ever come back. I mourned the innocence of the 'before loss' me. I mourned the fearlessness, and the hope, with which I faced life before tragedy changed everything. I wanted to turn back the clock for so many reasons, including a return to the woman I was when Phil and I took whatever life threw at us side by side. I was brave then, bolstered by the fact that life was a shared event.
I have written many times about the phoenix that rises from the ashes of loss, but until writing for this post never really thought about the idea that this is a form of resurrection. Each time I got out of bed in those first months, that was a resurrection. For every battle won with the plumbing or the car or the challenges of only parenting, another resurrection took place. With every memory faced, empty bed entered, closet walked through, and hairbrush gently touched I claimed a small part of myself back, because I thought these daily joys from the past would kill me in my new future. But instead, with the dawning of each new day a tiny bit of sunlight made its way into my heart.
It is as if Phil's love planted a flower inside of my soul before he left me. I watered that little bud with countless tears, unaware that I was actually creating something new and beautiful within me. As I made my way in the world without him the rays of courage, resilience, determination, and hope each helped my inner flower to eventually bloom. With every reluctant step I took forward the person I was becoming rose into a new life. I didn't know that I was creating what would be; I thought I was only mourning what could no longer be. The thing I couldn't see is that these two seemingly incongruous tasks can be done simultaneously. You are doing them now.
Phil's love has become an amazing bouquet of experience that lights up my days. I never would have imagined that the word resurrection could apply to me.