Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let's Play Make Believe

Sometimes the waves of grief just hit you...when you least expect it.  The tears come and the hurt is back just like it was in those early days.  How can you really be gone?  You were real.  Our love was real.  Our laughter and happiness together was real.  But how can it be gone?  How can you be gone?

I feel as though I'm acting in this imaginary life of mine.  I go about my day doing work, running errands, maintaining relationships, taking care of everything...a pretend life where I think I've got it all together.  I have a checklist that I work through to make sure I get everything I need to do done.  But it's like a game.  If I can keep it up and keep all the balls in the air and if I don't stop, maybe I won't remember what I've lost and I can avoid the pain that lies dormant just beneath the surface.

But then there are moments, like tonight, when a song releases the floodgates and the waves of grief are washing me away again.  And it hurts that you are not here.  And it hurts that I'm living this pretend life without you.  And I grieve for the loss of you and the life we had and the happiness that I took for granted.

I wonder if you're watching over me and what you are thinking?  What did you think in those last moments of your life?  Were you scared?  Were you grieving the loss of me?  I can only hope that peace overtook you and so the hurt and pain that I'm feeling, you did not.

Some days I pretend and hope that maybe I'll find happiness again.  Like I'm living in some fantasy where everything will turn out okay.  But that's not reality.  The reality is that you are not here and I miss you.  I miss what we had together.  I miss that you loved me.  I miss how happy I was with you.

What is this life I'm living?  Who is this person?  Tonight I stopped for a moment, just to listen to a song...  Big mistake because grief caught up to me while I sat idle and dragged me down once again...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Recognizing Changes Today

I attended a funeral today.  It was for Mary's husband.  He was 63 years old.  Another one too young.  The choir sang at the funeral Mass.  The songs were familiar and they moved me.  They brought back memories of how the choir sang at Ed's funeral Mass as well.  And as we know, memories can flood in and drown us at times.  But today was different.

There were decisions I had to make to be there today and I knew as I stood there in church, it was the right decision.  I was surrounded by the camaraderie of my fellow choir members.  But most importantly I was there to embrace Mary.  As we hugged, I did not tell her that it was going to all be okay.  I did not tell her that her husband was in a better place.  As I've learned, these are empty words.  Instead I told her I was there for her.  I told her that it wasn't going to be easy.  She was fearing coming home after work each day and him not being there.  I confirmed that, yes, this would be difficult.  But I also told her that I would there for her...no matter the time of day, no matter the reason.  Whether it was just to cry, to vent, to just provide a friendly and supportive embrace.  For this is what meant the most to me after Ed passed...that person who just "got it".  As Mary said to me "you get it" and, yes, unfortunately I do and so it is now my turn to be there for her.

I also noticed another difference today.  First, I was able to make it through all the songs without breaking down into tears.  The Celtic Farewell in particular moves me every time I hear it.  The fellow widow standing next to me had a harder time so we grasped hands to help each other through it.  I pushed through.  I kept my mind focused at the task at hand.  I did not allow the music to envelope me...I kept it a little at arms length which helped me with perspective and from totally breaking down and reliving the intense pain from 2 years ago.

The other thing I noticed was that today I prayed for Mary.  Yes, we had a Mass for her husband and I said a prayer for him.  But mostly I focused on her.  I signaled my sign of peace to her across the church.  I wish her so much peace.  Peace that I know will be elusive for a while.  But it will come...eventually, after a while.

And so today, I recognize that I am in a different place.  Time does change our grief.  Yes, it is still buried deep down inside and can rear it's ugly head at any time.  But today, while at that funeral, in the same church where we held Ed's funeral Mass and sang some of the same songs, I was not sad for myself or for Ed.  I was not sad for Mary's husband.  Rather, I was sad for Mary.  Sad that she will now walk this awful path, that she will feel the depth of grief that you cannot imagine until you unfortunately experience it yourself first hand.

But sometimes through grief there are bright moments and silver linings.  For today I also spent time with a fellow "wid"...someone I met through our common loss and grief.  We sat and talked and laughed and time passed quickly.  Someone I would have never met if we did not lose our spouses.  Although we would both give up our friendship in an instant to have our spouses back, we know this is not possible.  And so I am thankful for this friendship.  A silver lining, a bright spot in this otherwise gray world...moving ever so slowly out of the valley of grief.