Grief is messy. And, it demands our attention. Grief does not follow a predictable route, and neither should you. There is no road map to follow. You need to find your own way through this. You need to follow your heart and trust your instincts. When your person dies, no one hands you a manual that explains how to handle the cruddy stuff that grief will throw at you. You learn by experience. And, by necessity, you become better at grief with practice.
You go about life. You continue to live because there is no other choice. And, as you navigate this alternative life, you will bump into things along the way, that's a given. If you are colliding into things this means you are moving. And, if you are moving you are reentering life. Momentum is good.
This morning, I was feeling disappointed with myself because I am “still” sad.
(And, this is because after two full years, he is still dead.)
I lay in bed a little too long, hesitating to greet Sunday morning
because I’m just plain tired of being wrecked by my brokenness.
But, instead of resisting it, I know that I have to acknowledge my grief and lean into it. I also know that I will be less sad one day; however, this “missingness” for Mike will always be with me, in some capacity, for my entire life. Maybe I need to make it a strength somehow, instead of a weakness. Maybe I have to use it to somehow propel me back towards life. But, none of this is simple or easy. You know this.
This morning, as I lay in bed, I thought about how I've become ridiculously tired of making coffee for one. Dejected by my lack of both coffee and life partner, I sigh for the millionth time. I lay still and stared vacantly at the ceiling while creating an elaborate, imaginary conversation between Mike and I. This practice of drifting off to a place in my mind where I keep Mike alive is becoming less soothing with time. It is a useless drill. It doesn’t bring him back to life. Nothing will.
Realizing the futility in all this, I throw back the blankets and limp out of bed. I stood in the bathroom and noticed, with disappointment, how lacklustre my eyes look. There is no spark in their darkness anymore. As my wonderful widow friend would say, "Well, that's f@cking fantastic." And, she's right. This is just lovely. I've got no spark. I will add this to my to do list. Find my sparkiness again. ✔️
In a weak effort to resuscitate the parts of me that have been dormant
for over two years,
I splashed cold water on my face.
Well, I’m not surprised.
I figured it was going to take more than tap water to fix this.
Joy does not drip out of my facet.
Joy isn't found in tap water - good to know.
Somewhat defeated, I quietly walked down the hallway, past the pictures of the kids and Mike. As I glance at the familiar photos, all of it feels like a blur. It feels so far away. The photos look like they are from another lifetime. And, in a way, they are.
After, passing by the treasures of my old life, I find myself standing in the kitchen - alone. As the sunshine streams in through the window, I daydreamed about Mike as the smell of coffee fills the empty room. And, now, once again, on Sunday morning I am sitting here alone with my coffee and my thoughts.
I acknowledge, I’m doing this. Whatever "this" is. I am living even though my heart is crushed. I am living even though I yearn for the life Mike and I wanted to share. I’m doing life today - like I have done every single day since he died. I am doing all of this because I can. And, because I must. This not anything like the life I imagined or wanted; but, it is the life I've got. What else can I do but live it? I ask myself again and again "What should I do? What can I do?" Two years later, I am still not completely sure.
I know that I have to somehow find the courage to create my own life. This is a tedious job and a work in progress; but, I know that I need to move forward without him. And, even more importantly, I want to. I want to reenter life. I want to live my best life, even if it’s not the life I chose.
I don't have all the answers. I don't think I ever will. Life is full of chance and mystery and the unknown. I think we are all just supposed to do the best we can with what we know. I don't know much, but today I learned that Joy isn't found in tap water. And, this is as good a starting point as any...