Friday, April 22, 2016

Three Years (or 1,095 days)

Milestones are interesting.  I mean not a day goes by that I don't think of Ed and miss him and the life we had.  But on milestone dates like today, the third sadiversary, I pause and take the time to recognize this day.  I took the day off from work because one thing I've learned over these past three years is that you can't predict how you're going to react or feel.  Grief is funny that way.  The days you brace yourself for, expecting the worse, don't materialize.  But the days you let your guard down, grief can still knock you to your knees.

So today, I start my day honoring Ed.  But today is also strange because at three years, I find myself reflecting back on the past three years.  What have I done?  What have I accomplished?  As a friend pointed out, my daily survival rate is 100%...I guess that's a good thing.  But I have a very hard time this morning wrapping my brain around "what have I done for 3 years"?

I know that first year is a blur but I was productive!  I guess that's one of the benefits of grief...you can either curl up and stay in bed all day or you get up and keep moving hoping to avoid the grief monster.  That first year I did so many projects around the house--I painted, I cleaned, I organized, I got rid of cars, I had the driveway paved, I installed gutters, we laid patios, and the list goes on.

The past two years are less clear and I'm not quite sure what I did or accomplished or how to sum up the past two years.  The house is still standing.  I've still got my job.  So I must have been doing something!  I guess it was learning to navigate this new life of mine.  How to put one foot in front of the other.  To figure out the things in my life that are important, the friends and family who have filled the void in my life and in my heart that Ed left the day he died.

What I know today, is that I want to be happy and I want to be loved.  Not necessarily in any kind of romantic way (not today at least) but to smile and laugh.  The smile and laugh that Ed so enjoyed.  The smile and laugh that brought me happiness but others as well.  The "before" life that enabled me to say "life is good".  I know I will never have the "before" life again.  But I pray I can find a happy new life.  And it scares me to say that.  I know it is what Ed would want but it is scary because I don't know what it will be.  And for someone like me who likes to be in control, this is so difficult.

I feel like I'm in survival mode, which isn't such a bad thing.  It is better than the alternative.  So today I need to just take it day by day.  I feel an urge to be more productive.  To do things around the house; to have more to show for my existence.  But that might just be too big of a goal right now.  I find keeping up with daily chores is difficult for me.  How can that be when I used to be such a productive and organized person.

What I need to do is just take it one day at a time.  I need to stop overanalyzing and worrying what the next year will bring or where I'll be in 5 years.  What I need to focus on is, day-to-day, week-to-week.  Enjoy the moment.  I'll try because I know it is what Ed would want for me and it would make him smile.  And that warms my heart.

Ed, I love you always and forever.  The only bad thing about your love and care for me, that you showed every single day, and the wonderful and happy life we shared, is that it makes me miss you and that love so much more. But I wouldn't have changed a thing and would have done it all again.  So in your honor, I will continue trying...one day at a time...  I've made it 1,095 days, what's one more...



Saturday, March 26, 2016

Daring to Acknowledge Happy Moments

I feel good this morning and yesterday I had many "happy" moments.  Not due to anything big and exciting, but instead in small ways:
  • I planned to leave the office early and it actually happened and without a lot of stress or effort!
  • I stopped and bought myself Easter plants...an Easter Lily and a pretty, pink Hyacinth.  Ed always went out on the Saturday before Easter and bought plants.  Some for my mother, sometimes for my sister, but always some for me.  I loved their smell and they brought springtime into the house.  So instead of wallowing in the sadness that Ed is not here to buy me these plants, I continue the tradition...myself.  And instead of being sad about it yesterday, it actually made me happy as I drove home and the smell of the flowers filled my car.
  • I then saw Ed's friend Marvin.  We chatted a bit...about how I'm doing, about Ed.  He remembers Ed every day and it made me happy that he has not only not forgotten but also that he talked freely to me about him. As we parted, we shared a big hug...our connection to each other being Ed and that this connection was still there, 3 years later.
  • I went to Good Friday service at the church and, even though the choir wasn't singing, a fellow alto and I sang our parts to the hymns and this brought me joy.  I am so thankful for my choir friends.
  • Dan came home last night.  We enjoyed homemade pizza together and then stayed up til midnight working on a jigsaw puzzle he bought for us and just listened to music and chatted and laughed.
And I recall happy moments spent with friends this past week. Time last Saturday spent with a friend just hanging out doing everyday things, enjoying each others company.  Time on Monday celebrating a birthday and sharing food, drink, and many, many laughs.


All happy moments.  Today, I am grateful that I am able to recognize and appreciate these moments.  For I know, at any time, I can find myself wallowing in my grief again and being consumed with sadness.

This time of year is especially difficult for me.  My brother's passing, Ed's passing, Larry's passing, Kay's passing.  The events of three years ago, etched so clearly in my memory.  Every day, every moment, as if it was yesterday.  I do not know how three years have passed.  I feel as though I am traveling through this abyss though.  The darkness surrounds me and I hold on fighting hard not to slip into the valley of grief and sadness.  As each day ticks by, I remember.  Tomorrow, March 27th, marks the day I called 911 and Ed went to the ER, never to come home again.  I relive every moment of that day.  And, tomorrow, is Easter.  Easter joy that has eluded me for three years.  Three years ago, we did not even celebrate Easter.  We foolishly thought we'd postpone it until Ed was out of the hospital and better.  Easter 2013 never happened for me or my family.  It was appropriate, though...only grief and sadness and death that year.

So at some level, I fear tomorrow.  Because as much as I try to focus on the good things and appreciate what I have in my life, grief does not work like that.  It's always lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce when you least expect it.  But what I know, and what I fight hard for, is getting through it.  Getting past the depths of tears and sadness to try to live.  To appreciate what I have.  To appreciate my friends and family.  To appreciate the happy moments.  Like those from yesterday and this past week...

Pretty Easter plants

Brings such peace...

From a hike we took on March 12th. So blessed to have such a great son!